Variable Data Printing 2

Using Variable Data Printing – VDP

In Variable Date Printing, Direct Mail by Bill Evans

Second in the series:

Using Variable Data Printing

When creating your direct mail piece, you want to make sure your piece is relevant to your clients. To do that you should always consider customizing each mail piece by using Variable Data Printing (VDP).

VDP is a form of print personalization or print customization that enables marketers to develop and apply personalized messages and designs for specific individuals. This is done at high speed, using laser or ink-jet imaging systems. It provides you with a treasure trove of possibilities to create effective and relevant direct mail pieces that speaks directly to someone in a way unique to that individual.

Why should I consider using Variable Data Printing?  Personalization is a major driving force in direct marketing today because companies want to move beyond the days of mass mailings and “spray-and-pray” direct mail. Today, marketers want to create messages and offers based on customers’ preferences and histories, as well as where they are in the sales process.

What is VDP?

Variable data printing is a digital printing process that you can use to create uniquely personalized direct mail pieces during production, using one or more of the data elements you have about a customer or prospect.

Data points can be anything relevant to your prospect, your product, offer, or company. Common data points include:

  • Customer Name and Address
  • Purchase History
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Income
  • and many more.

These unique customized elements capture the reader’s attention.

For example, a retail pet store that provides grooming services sends out an offer for “10% off all nail trimming” to all its customers. To elevate the design, they can use VDP – Each mail piece can contain the name and an image of the customers dog, and the customized discount they would receive.  

How Does VDP Work?

Variable data printing works by creating a production file containing the Campaigns mailing addresses, personal names, offers, graphics, or images to be used. Custom programs create the file by inserting the campaign elements for that campaign (e.g., each person’s dog photos) dynamically for each person onto a static mail design or template.

Consider a more complex example: if you were to mail an invitation to visit a new restaurant, your data files can include customized maps showing the best driving route from each customer’s or prospect’s house to the restaurant. The customized map is then inserted onto the mail piece along with any other individual details that might be in your data files.

Using digital presses and appropriate software, large runs of thousands of mail pieces can be printed at high speed, each personalized with copy and an offer custom-fit for that individual.

Variable Data Printing

Mail Pieces to use with VDP

VDP works very well with several direct mail formats:

  • Postcards
  • Envelopes
  • Folded Self-Mailers
  • Brochures

Theoretically, nearly every component of a direct mail piece can be personalized. Anywhere there is data that allows differentiation from  one prospect or customer from another, there’s a way to use a variable data element.

How Effective is VDP?

Keep in mind that it’s ROI (return on investment) and not just response rates that determine a mail campaign’s success. While personalization achieves response rates of 6%, a big improvement over an average of 2% for non-personalized direct mail, you should also you take into account the total campaign cost and dollars generated per order. Using Variable Data Printing well can significantly increase ROI.

Who is using Variable Data Printing?

A wide variety of industries is using Variable Data Printing:

  • Retail
  • Non-profit fundraising
  • Financial services
  • Utilities
  • Healthcare

 Wrapping it up

VDP is data-driven, targeted marketing at the personal level. It can be used as part of an overall strategy that treats each individual as a person, and not part of a group or mass audience.

It zeroes in on the customer’s preferences, experiences, and more, and builds the mail piece around how your company can fulfill those desires and needs.

Want to know how to incorporate personalized data in your direct mail campaigns? Our team at Federal Direct is available and eager to talk with you about using variable data printing and share our expertise!

Call or contact us today for a free quote!