This time it’s Personal Variable Data Printing

Variable Data Printing, 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

This is a term that marketers around the world are hearing 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 the advances in technology in recent years the capabilities of variable data have increased dramatically. When dissected, the fundamental 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.

What is variable data printing?

The ability to form a personal connection with your audience is one of the most valuable marketing strategies a marketer can utilize. One of the biggest strengths of VDP is the ability to evaluate a campaign’s effectiveness. By using carriers within a campaign or encouraging the viewer to go to a personalized website (PURL), tracking results has never been easier. 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 large 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, you have inserted 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. VDP has taken the lead in direct marketing processes. As the volume of business competition increases, it is imperative that your marketing efforts get the opportunity to succeed.  Whether it’s a mailer, catalog, signage, sales packet or a basic label, VDP 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. 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.

Best of Days to You…

Audrey Ferrante
Ferrante & Associates, Inc.


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