Are You Talking To Me?

Variable data printing is defined by Wikipedia as, “a form of digital printing in which elements such as text, graphics and images may be changed from one printed piece to the next. . . “. It utilizes triggers, based on customer data, to determine the message and creative elements to insure the printed piece is relevant on an individual level. It’s personal!

We’ve been hearing about VDP (variable data printing) for several years now, yet not all organizations have taken it seriously. VDP requires data and that’s the problem. Many of our clients tell us that they hesitate to use VDP for several reasons:

  • They don’t believe their current data is accurate.
  • Their data is siloed between sales, marketing and IT. No one department seems to have all the necessary data.
  • They don’t believe they have enough data to successfully execute VDP.
  • They don’t see the value in VDP.

I’m sure there are more reasons that this, but this is enough for us to start with. No organization has 100% faith that their current data is totally accurate, but you have to start somewhere. So, begin with what you know is true, and then start the process to continually correct and add additional data on your targets. That data can come from your sales force, customer service, accounting or IT. Consider using a CRM to insure that all data is kept in one place where it is easily accessed by those who need it – and where it can be easily edited to insure it remains up-to-date.

How much data is enough? We hear the term big data, which in my mind means that you have so much data that you’re buried. So, whether you possess a little data or big data, start your VDP journey slowly and increase the variability as you go.

As for the value of VDP, you will not only increase your response rates, but the following has been documented and reported by Cap Ventures:

  • Average order size increases 24.5%
  • Overall revenue increases 31.6%
  • Response time decreases by 34%
  • Repeat orders increase by 48%
  • Response rates increase by 36%

Every year, the number of organizations that are using VDP is increasing. Why? Your targets want to feel that you know them, and when you show that you do, they respond. Notice the mail that grabs your attention. Do the colors appeal to you? Are the graphics informative? Do the images look like you? If so, then you feel that this company knows and understands your needs, and you’re more likely to respond.

Here are a few examples of organizations that have profited from their use of VDP:

  • LaSalle Academy used a VDP self-mailer for their alumni fundraising campaign and increased the average donation by 67% (Source: The Print on Demand Initiative)
  • Hershey Entertainment and Resorts reported that their use of VDP and cross channel marketing resulted in 17% higher revenue and 10% more bookings. (Source: DM News)
  • Wallingford Municipal Credit Union reported $1 million in loan activity that resulted from a VDP postcard campaign. (Source: The Print on Demand Initiative)

So, consider talking directly to your prospects and customers by using VDP in your next campaign. It will help  to drive ROI by talking on a more personalized level to your targets. The results are worth it!

About Debbie Simpson

President of Multi-Craft in Newport, Kentucky.
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