Group 1 Software is targeting the banking industry with a new system that will help banks cross-sell products and services, said officials at the Lanham, Md.-based technology firm.
The electronic document-preparation system, called DbLinks, is designed to use customer-relationship data to automatically produce personalized account Statements that promote bank products and services.
Officials say the system, which employs client-server technology, with networks of personal computers sharing data and processing tasks, manipulating information from a data base so that banks can target customers on the basis of their relationships with the bank..
"You are able to customize your communications with the customers," explained Suzanne Porter-Kuchay, spokesperson with Group 1.
"Suppose you have a checking account and a savings account. The bank may want to offer you a certain service a loan, or a preferred rate. DbLinks allows it to be based on the transactions and history with the bank."
DbLinks was developed by Archetype Systems Ltd., London, which is in the process of being acquired by Group 1.
Laurence O'Hagan, the system's designer, said plans for development began as a result of noticing the great lengths large organizations will go to advertise and promote themselves.
Mr. O'Hagan observed that while many corporations spend heavily to promote their public images, those same companies often send their customers or other correspondents what he called "crude-looking" statements or invoices.
He said the new system produces a quality, easy-to-make statement. "We have taken desktop publishing expectations, facilities, and functions, and migrated them up to production printing," Mr. O'Hagan said.
In addition to the quality of the bank statement, Mr. O'Hagan said banks could also print additional promotional material directly onto the statement itself, rather than sending along extra pages of promotion material that are often thrown away without being read.
Industry observers say that because banks have less direct contact with customers as a result of automation, such personalized marketing strategies are becoming a trend.
David Medeiros, a research analyst with the Tower Group of Wellesley, Mass., noted that banks were looking for other avenues to cross-sell products.
"The plain old account statement is being reexamined as an active marketing channel to existing customers," he said. "Banks are coming to the realization that they already have open channel with their existing customers."
Up and running for nearly a year, DbLinks is used by a number of institutions in Europe, including National Westminster Bank, London, and American Express (U.K.).
The system operates in a centralized, departmental or desktop environment on systems including OS/2 OS/400, MVS, and UNIX. License fees for the DbLinks product ranges from $50,000 to $250,000, depending on the complexity of the application.