Variable Data Printing (VDP) is a one-to-one marketing approach proven to increase engagement and response rates. Commonly referred to as “personalized printing,” VDP offers mailers the opportunity to target customers with information tailored specifically to them.
It makes sense to use VDP in promotional mailers communicating your products and services. It also makes complete sense to use VDP in your standard messaging, like recurring renewal notices, for billing purposes, general client communications, and much more.
Because they are highly personalized, targeted messaging using VDP will provide you with a higher return on your marketing investment.
The Evolution of Variable Data Printing
Yesterday, I went to Google and searched for “gray sleeper sofas.” Several images came up and I took a look at them and went on about my business. Today, there are gray couches in my Facebook feed, in my browser ads, and I even received a targeted email from a furniture store. Wow! How did that happen?
In today’s marketplace, the emphasis is on targeted marketing. Technology allows companies to mine great amounts of data on their customers. It’s possible to know their hobbies, their favorite foods, income, family situation, education level, and even their ideal fantasy vacation. With all of this information available, it’s possible to target your marketing material specifically to your audience – not as a demographic group – but to the actual individual you hope to reach.
In fact, customers have come to expect this level of personalization. According to a study by Janrain & Harris Interactive, 74% of consumers disregard content that appears to have nothing to do with their specific interests. They even find such material, “frustrating.”
Shedding the “Junk Mail” Label
Direct mail as a marketing tool outperforms other channels. According to Direct Mail News, in 2012 the average response rate for direct mail was 4.4%. Email’s response rate was just 0.12%. Yes, you read that correctly, direct mail outperformed email by over 3000%.
Drive the same campaigns with a variable data printing element and you will find that it is one of the most powerful marketing tools available.
3 Important Tips:
- Tip #1 – Ensure the message gets delivered. There are no spam blockers on a mailbox. You know your targeted customers WILL receive the mailing. Thus, you have overcome the first obstacle.’
- Tip #2 – Get your message opened and read. We all know what “junk mail” looks like. The first giveaway is the address. Does it have a name or is it addressed to the “resident.” Most people will open an envelope addressed specifically to them. Envelope creative, size, and type play a big role here.
- Tip #3 – Convince the reader you understand their needs and can help. They’re finally looking at your mail piece. How do we engage them? With Variable Data Printing because it makes each direct mail piece appear like it’s expressly designed for that particular recipient. This establishes a more personal relationship that will resonate with the customer in a big way.
How Does Variable Data Printing Work?
The opportunities afforded by variable data printing are endless. You can mix and match images or insert relevant bits of information inside the text. Each piece of mail uses the message, offer, and visuals designed to best reach that targeted customer.
First, you set up a database to store what you know about each recipient. This data triggers unique content within the printed material. For instance, if a website viewer requests information on your company, you can send them an individualized package that speaks to their specific desires. In the past, it would not have cost effective to create single full-color mailings . The price break has always come with bulk printings.
Now, you don’t have to worry about placing large print orders. You can order, as needed, and make changes as they occur, without wasting resources.
Variable Data Printing Saves Time and Money
Variable data printing comes with a price tag attached, but it is more economical than mass printing. Here’s why:
- Print only the number you need (no need to place bulk orders).
- Test market your mailing with select customers and refine your database before launching your campaign.
- You can print addresses directly on the direct mail piece – no labels, which reduces man-hours.
All of these things save time and money, but the greatest cost benefit to variable data printing is the response rate.
According to CAP Ventures, profit, response rate, and repeat orders all improved with personalization. The time it took for customers to respond dropped by over 30%.
Killing Two Birds With One Stone
No question, variable data printing only truly works if you invest your resources in the development of a good database. However, that one database can serve many purposes, driving both your online and offline marketing efforts.
But when it comes to offline, targeted direct mailings, have proven to be the most effective way to reach customers. They also provide the greatest return on your investment. After all, who doesn’t want to cut time and cost, and enjoy a higher return on their marketing dollars?
How Can You Start Using Variable Data Printing?
The best way to test how variable data printing can work for you is to test drive a small project. Remember – with variable data printing – small print batches don’t cost an arm and a leg. Send out a personalized thank you or special offer. Let the professionals at Mail Manager help you set it up. Prove to yourself that it works!
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