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Variable Data Printing: What Is It and How Does It Work?

08/16/2022
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Consumers no longer want brands to define their journeys, they want brands to offer experiences that help them carve their own paths.

Here’s a few statistics to show the power of personalized marketing: 

  • 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands who recognize, remember, and provide relevant offers and recommendations.
  • 72% of consumers expect the business they buy from to recognize them as individuals and know their interests.
  • 78% of consumers said that receiving personalized communications will make them more likely to repurchase a brand. 

One size fits all marketing strategies have seen diminishing returns in recent years. How will you cater to your consumers and give them a personalized experience

Variable Data Printing

Variable Data Printing (VDP) is here to give your consumers what they crave. VDP is a type of on-demand printing that includes interchangeable elements – personalized for a targeted, individual, consumer experience. These elements can include personalized text messages, graphics, images, colors, fonts, etc. VDP creates personalized, printed materials without stopping or slowing down the printing machine. 

The Versatility of Variable Data Printing 

VDP brings versatility to print by creating a conversation with your consumer. It invokes empathy as you enable them to create their own experiences while interacting with your brand. And the amount of personalization you use – is scalable. VDP assists in delivering choices tailored to your customer without overwhelming them.

That’s why the most common use of VDP is direct mail marketing campaigns.

Did you know that direct mail has a median return on investment of 29%? And those results could be even higher when coupled with other marketing strategies such as email or social media.

Some common direct mail project ideas, include: 

  • Postcards
  • Letters
  • Invitations
  • Catalogs
  • Brochures
  • Booklets
  • Bills/invoices
  • Bank statements

But that’s not all. VDP has been used for a diverse array of projects, including:

  • Menus
  • Posters
  • Banners
  • Greeting cards
  • Photo books
  • Diplomas
  • Labels
  • Event tickets
  • Parking passes
  • Calendars
  • And more

VDP is an excellent strategy to incorporate into your marketing plan to achieve your goals of gaining brand awareness and increasing market share. 

How Variable Data Printing Works 

Software attached to the front-end of the printer creates parameters and typically utilizes your customer database or a data spreadsheet to automatically apply personalized information into the selected areas of your designed template.

Each area that you designate for VDP use can have the personalized message, offer or visuals that will appeal to your individual consumer or targeted micro-markets. While personalized, these printed pieces can be part of the same print run. Saving you time and money.

When to Use Variable Data Printing 

The design possibilities for VDP printed materials are endless!

That’s why we asked the Gordon Flesch Company Business Analyst Team for some of their expert advice. They are the group who is called in to partner with clients and really understand what they are looking to do, how it needs to be done and do so in the most efficient way possible.

This group has tackled some problematic printing puzzles as they assist clients throughout the service contract lifecycle.

Here’s some examples that show what VDP can do:

  • Customized brochure mailings – Create a brochure with the customer’s name on the cover and pages filled with the product line of greatest interest to them. Mail directly after an in-person/online store visit or after a purchase.
  • Reminder postcards – Send a “time to reorder” postcard to remind a customer that they may be running low on supplies. Include the brand name or product for reorder, and a coupon with expiration date to reward customer loyalty and create a sense of urgency.
  • Billing statement showing earned rewards points – Remind your customers of your company’s “rewards” program. A VDP field can be designated to explain the benefits of your program or notify a rewards-enrolled customer of how many points they currently have and any “special offers” on how to use them.
  • Billing statement with affinity advertising – Use a VDP field to include information about additional products or services related to what the customer already buys.
  • Restaurant menus – Include a daily/weekly special feature along with other standard menu offerings.
  • Retail store sale posters – Create posters advertising the same product but create a variable data field to insert pricing for a national chain of stores.
  • Weekly book signing events – Use a poster template with variable data fields for the date, time, author, title, and a photo of the book. Post in your bookstore and consider including a flyer with purchases leading up to the day of the event. Planning a weekly series of events like this means that you can print posters for all the events in your series, in just one print run. 

VDP is a cost-effective way to engage with your customers and strengthen relationships. The results will guide your business toward better customer retention and provide insight into emerging markets.

Searching for solutions on how to implement VDP into your marketing plan? Contact the experts at Gordon Flesch Company. We are focused on Production Print solutions and our analysts are ready to help.Overcoming the Top 5 Production Print Challenges

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