12 Nuggets on Variable-Data Printing

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:

  • 36% higher response rates

  • 25% increased average orders

  • 47% more repeat sales

  • 32% better profits

  • 34% faster response time

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.

See also:

Variable Data Home Page

Marketing Home Page

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