Variable Data Printing
While new to some, variable data printing has been around many years. Traditionally it was used in transactional printing environments. Today it is used in all facets of business, from promotional personalized communications to on-demand printing and multi-channel campaigns. When variable data printing is added to direct mail campaigns it helps maximize response rates.
To help you understand the value of this very powerful tool I’m devoting this month’s issue of Ferrante Speaks newsletter solely to this subject. I trust that the insights you gain from reading this month’s newsletter will cause you to think about adding variable data printing to your next direct mail campaign.
Ferrante & Associates, Inc.
How would you like to send out 50% fewer mailers and still get a 5% response rate?
You could save on printing, mail services and postage! You would actually get a return on investment from your marketing program. And salespeople would get a higher percentage of inquiries turning into sales. Sounds like a dream world? Not if you include variable data printing to your media mix.
Variable Data Printing – this time it’s personal
Make a one-to-one connection with your audience! In the competitive business world, it is the marketer’s job to ensure that the value of the direct marketing dollar is stretched to its fullest economic potential. But many times the ROI from a campaign is not achieving its goals. That’s unfortunate, because the job of a marketer is not only to produce results, but also to illustrate how a campaign has produced revenue for the company. There is a way to tangibly validate marketing efforts at the same time as increasing ROI. Welcome to the next generation of targeted, one-to-one marketing. Variable Data Printing, VDP.
VDP is a term that marketers around the world are taking advantage of more and more these days. Historically, variable data printing has been the most efficient way to turn marketing dollars into revenue. It is not a new concept, but with advances in technology in recent years the capabilities of variable data have increased dramatically. When dissected, the basic functions of variable data are much like a turbo mail merge. The placement of a name, address, number or even greeting within a marketing piece can assist in piquing the reader’s interest, resulting in a much higher ROI. However, VDP has taken this process and completely redefined direct marketing strategies by offering an almost unlimited amount of personalization for marketing materials. Now the loud impersonal messaging in past literature has been replaced with a sense of kinship and quiet. The ability to form a personal connection with your audience is one of the most valuable strategies a marketer can utilize.
One of the biggest strengths of variable data printing is the ability to evaluate a campaign’s effectiveness. By encouraging the viewer to go to a personalized website (PURL) the sender now has the ability to easily track results. VDP also affords the opportunity to distribute little shots of a campaign, then evaluate the results and decide if the campaign will be cost-effective on a larger scale. To better understand the capacities and benefits of this process, let’s look at an example. You are the marketing director for a travel company. Pretend that you are sitting at your desk creating the next direct mail marketing campaign for vacations. You know that this piece is going to be mailed out to 10,000 potential customers and clients. You also know that each one of those clients is different and therefore has different interests.
How do you customize one piece of literature to fit 10,000 personalities?
The research team you work with has compiled lists of data about your prospects and clients. You have read all the reports, crunched all the numbers and analyzed all the demographics. The clock is ticking!
You design the mailing piece, a simple 6” x 9” flat mailer. On the front is a graphic next to the area where the mailing address will be printed, along with the name of your company. On the back, there is a greeting, promotional copy and an area where you will insert personalized information about travel destinations based on data collected about your mailing list recipients. You know that when Bob, the fun loving hiker from Omaha, opens his mail box, he will find a marketing piece that is tailored to his needs. Not only will the piece say, “Is it time to get away, Bob?” it will also include a graphic that shows a hiking trail and promotional information about the hottest hiking destinations in the world. Mary from Tucson, who loves to scuba dive, will be delighted to see the lush reef on her mailer and information about how your company can have her diving in Belize by New Year’s. The possibilities go on and on.
Variable data printing has taken the lead in direct marketing processes and even more now that we have web presses capable of printing thousands of personalized messages at a time. As the volume of your business competition increases, it is imperative that your marketing efforts get every opportunity to succeed. Whether it’s a mailer, catalog, signage, sales packet or a basic label, variable data printing can deliver high quality output at prices comparable to traditional offset printing. Best, variable data printed programs can be created so they are interactive with your audience online and offline.
Do you have questions…?
Call today if you’re developing your 2014 budget, attending a major event and need to make sure everything is delivered on time, or if you’re just trying to make sense of the confusing landscape of conventional and digital media. Whatever the reason, I’d love to talk to you about it.
Print is not always right for every situation but when it fits, adding it to a media mix can be effective for many needs. I do hope this newsletter has started you thinking about what adding print services can do for you.
Keep the conversation with us going and growing
Thanks for reading this month’s Ferrante Speaks newsletter and learning about how variable data printing added to your printing mix helps companies grow.
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