What is Variable Data Printing?

Have you ever received a piece of mail that seemed customized just for you? How did you respond? Did you like the personalized ad? Variable Data Printing (VDP) can be an extremely useful tool for any business to reach customers through direct mail.

Variable Data Printing is a direct mail technology leveraged by businesses in order to reach customers through a meaningful communication channel. By using your customer’s data you can now reach a true 1-to-1 experience through printed materials and ads to a specific household.

The flexibility of print design that American Marketing offers works seamlessly with VDP technology. Now you can easily change text and graphics within individual pieces without the need of changing jobs. American Marketing does not require the printing plates used in other printing methods. Drastically reducing costs and overall timeline to complete.

How does Variable Data Printing work?

1. Design Your Document

VDP utilizes information from your company’s databases to personalized materials that are high quality and full color, similar to those created by using the offset printing process. When information, such as “home address” is used, this type of data is known as “variable” data. Using variable data, you can simply specify which images or text to use on an individual print without ever having to stop or slow the printing process.

Design Process: Variable Data Printing vs. Traditional Printing

Variable Data Printing processes are designed to increase performance of marketing materials targeting individual customers. When designed properly you will see increasing response rates and overall return on investment by lowering production costs. VDP helps you move beyond the traditional printing requirements and high costs. It also can help remove you from the “Junk Mail” filter customers generally associate with traditional print products. Don’t worry, it isn’t as hard as you may think to target your individual customer’s needs with unique copy and call-to-actions.

With traditional printing your “data” selection would be limited to the use of mailing lists generated using current customer information or purchased lists. However, American Marketing allows businesses to target customers and potential customers using a number of unique demographic factors, including any geographic location, sales history, income or household size. Our VDP process makes it easy for a company to send out materials to customers that promote their business in new ways.

VDP design is actually pretty simple. You only need to create a single print document template. Next you indicate where your variable data will be located on the print document template. This can include unique barcodes, QR codes or promotional offers, discount codes as personalized content. Giving you a better way to help track not only the response rate, but the overall ROI success of your direct mail campaign. The more you mail with American Marketing, the more we can help you identify which strategies will be the most successful for you in the future.

Types of Variable Data Printing

2. Upload Customer Data

There are┬áseveral printing methods used for VDP, some of which use specialized software to simpler, but less efficient techniques you might already be using. It doesn’t matter if you plan to use mailing lists or other types of collection methods. You need to be mindful to the type of software and data structure requirements to be successful.

3 Printing Types of Variable Data Printing

  • The first method, which is an early example of how VDP produced printed materials. It’s rarely used today due to its slow and inefficient nature. The technique involves a two-step approach. It starts with printing a production of a master template sheet containing static images and text. The final step is to send the print back to press for a second run where variable data is now printed on top of the existing material. This method is still used by many smaller printing services due their printer types and software
  • A second and far more commonly used method utilizes standard printing software to create a variable print file. Unfortunately this file can end up being extremely large, slowing down the printing process by overwhelming data processors in the computers being used.
  • The final example uses modernized VDP software and is the norm for high volume, high quality printers, such as with American Marketing. Our software is highly specialized and creates smaller, more efficient print files to maximize printing speed, preventing any slow-downs, errors/malfunctions due to standard printing processing issues.

How personalization can increase engagement

Today’s name of the game is pinpoint accuracy for a targeted advertising experience. This trend is consistently shown to be far more effective than older, more traditional print methods. As businesses are able to increase the amount of data points collected, it is easier for marketers to reach their clients and ideal customers. Variable data printing technology, combined with targeted data, can make your marketing dollars go further more than ever. Now that’s a powerful marketing tool.

Engagement is vital to direct mail. VDP is a more effective at effective engagement with customers than the general postal mailers that they receive. Why? It’s simple, when consumers see their name and relatable images on a direct mail piece, they are more engaged, and much more likely to take action.

Are you already participating in a direct mail campaign? If so, how is your ability to track sales? Are you delivering variable content? If not, you are missing out on probably the most undeniably strengths of offline to online marketing. In our personal opinion, we feel that the reality of print materials created using VDP has a potential to be even more effective because customers can keep your material in hand. However, when used in combination with online tools such as email subscriptions, social media, websites, and customer surveys, VDP becomes the most powerful tool in your business toolbox. Mainly because of the valuable information you are collecting and learning about from your customers.

How to use VDP effectively

Personalization of print materials connects your customers in a way to create unique communication touch points to build a lasting relationship. A good example is including images relevant to the customer, such as recent purchases, geo location, or offers on their wishlist items.

A business who sends out personalized cards that is 100% targeted to a customer is more valuable than a phone call. By layering your quick form of communication with coupons, birthday wishes, or just relevant information are all great efforts to help them relate to and bolster loyalty to your company. Not to mention entice a potential customer to choose your business over the competition.

3. Approve Your Print

VDP is not just for direct mail, and can use the technology for printing company-wide materials. VDP enables the printing of multiple designs same time, decreasing the time and cost. American Marketing understand time is money for you, which is why we incorporated the use of a print portal. This feature was designed to further reduce time spent on a project by allowing clients to login and approve their orders.

With a simple variable data printing process in place, VDP will increase your sales within 30 days by driving loyal, engaged customers to your business. American Marketing is here to be your partner through the use of variable data printing by help you lay the foundation for a loyal customer base that connects with you on a much more personal level.

Now that you understand what Variable Data Printing is and how your business has far-reaching possibilities, its time to have a great return on your investment.

Call for a FREE quote today!