In this article we focus on variable data printing and its applications. Although there are many applications our emphasis will be primarily from a marketing perspective.
What is variable data printing?
Variable data printing is a type of digital printing which allows the insertion of variable print (e.g. text and images) into a print run. The variations will typically apply to individual pieces or could apply to batches in a print run. The print job itself though operates continuously without stopping and is used in applications such as marketing, accounting (e.g. invoices and statements) and applying customer address labels, etc. Variable data printing is more expensive than traditional/non-variable printing, but only marginally, so the extra cost is well worth paying for due to the considerable returns available. There is also an argument to say that variable data printing is a green initiative and less wasteful, in that it will target and focus print runs and eliminate unnecessary mailings.
The opportunities presented by variable data printing
Here are some examples of print management opportunities made available through variable data printing:
- Address labels – at its most simple variable data printing can be used to add a unique address to every item in a mailshot campaign, these labels can also be applied directly to envelopes to make eye-catching desings
- Code printing – variable data could print a QR code or unique voucher code particular to each customer or group
- PURL – a personalised URL could be printed, this is traceable to each individual customer and will bear a unique identifiable URL to monitor if they respond to a campaign
Variable data printing enables personalisation
Personalisation is important to modern day direct mail marketing and is one of the reasons that direct mail has surged in popularity in more recent times. Direct mail campaigns are personalised by data, which is inserted into the print run as explained. The data will be from various sources, e.g. CRM, social media, past invoices, telemarketing, etc.
- Print data relating to past items viewed on a website, or maybe print related/similar products
- Display local based information, e.g. a map, the address of a local store, etc.
- Send a reminder for a shopping cart abandonment on an Ecommerce website
Using variable data printing for your direct mail campaign
What are some of the benefits of variable data printing for your direct mail campaign? It’s likely that the demographic that you are targeting will differ in some way, and they need to be appealed to differently too.
Variable data printing, rather than having you print 10,000 of the same piece, can allow you to print 10,000 pieces in the same time, but with the right message for the differing groups you want to target.
While you are granted a lot more freedom when using variable data printing, there are still some factors that you must consider to ensure that your direct mail campaign is a success:
Targeting and personalisation
As we have mentioned above, targeting and personalisation is the key to the success of any direct mail campaign. Your customer will be marketed to hundreds of times per day, maybe even thousands, so your message needs to stand out from the crowd.
Set your company apart from others
Variable data printing gives you the opportunity to be different from other companies. You’d be amazed at how often targeting and personalisation, as mentioned above, is overlooked by companies.
If you can get this right, and tell or show the customer what you can do for them, rather than only focusing on your company, it will do wonders for your brand. Incorporate variable data printing into your direct mail, build a relationship with a customer, and they’ll always be coming back to you for more.
Evoking emotional responses from people
There are a number of ways to evoke emotional responses from people, and variable data printing can help with these. Things like using certain images, using a variety of colours or shapes, including free samples and optimising your envelopes in different ways can all help to draw an emotion out of those that you are marketing too.
If you can evoke an emotion from them, and get them associating this emotion and memory with your brand and product, it will hugely increase the chances that they will convert.
Make use of the QR codes and PURL codes that we discussed earlier. Track the responses to your variable data printing direct mail campaign, and make adjustments as you go. Learn what your customers do and don’t like, and use the flexibility of this type of printing to continue to refine your campaign until you’re getting the results that you want.
Additional bakergoodchild reading
Also read these articles relating to variable data printing:
So now that we have explained the benefits of variable data printing and its role in personalisation it’s time to consider implementing this as part of a future solution. Call 0800 612 1972 to discuss how to make the most of your future variable data print campaigns or complete this contact form for an early call back.