Variable-data printing, a form of digital printing, is a data-driven application that consistently delivers better results than conventional direct mail, reports Mark Kolier of Connecticut’s Canterbury Graphics, Inc.
According to a CAP Ventures study, he notes, VDP generates:
Variable-data printing works
The only question is whether its category — which includes credit-card, banking, billing, and all other statements unique to an individual — is worth its higher costs than one-size-fits-all offset reproduction.
Using VDP, banks can communicate with deep-pockets investors with market-performance comparisons to their individual financial portfolios.
Casinos, airlines, book and record clubs, and other marketers who conduct loyalty programs can deliver VDP promotions hinged on customer histories — a week or less after the individual’s most recent activity.
Real-estate sellers can generate up-to-the-minute VDP promotions with photos and written descriptions of properties that meet individual requirements. 12 VDP’s effectiveness depends utterly on complete, accurate databases. Yet participants in a representative VDP conference Kolier attended overwhelmingly agreed that most customer data banks “were rife with errors and omissions and … just plain bad.”
Among his other notes from the conference:
On average, companies lose 15%-20% of their existing customers every year — 50% within five years. Thus, VDP’s increased ability to acquire and keep customers may make it an economical marketing choice, despite its higher initial costs.
Data relevance trumps use of names alone — today, the most common way of making copy variable — when it comes to VDP effectiveness.
Powerful copy often can make up for some data shortfalls.
Scaring customers by reminding them of recent or long-ago purchases can backfire badly. Instead, thank your customer for his most recent purchase and make a special discounted offer on his next order — if he buys before a deadline date.
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