Often, the one big advantage that online marketing has over direct mail marketing is the ability to personalize your message to your customers. Even when you can segment your print runs, you're often relying on a small set of promotions with little variation.
The problem boils down to procurement. Your print runs are only affordable when done at scale, and that means printing the same thing. However, that's changing due to advances in printing technology that allow you to personalize the message. You can now send something that is actually specific to a customer's needs. With variable data printing, you can develop a sophisticated marketing strategy that not only targets the audience but makes it possible for you to have a measurable level of success in all channels.
A print job that changes with each page
Previously, printing runs for marketing materials simply required a set of documents sent to the printer, containing all the information it needed for the job. As is obvious, this is a simplistic way of processing these materials and is little more than mass messaging, even with segmentation. As printing firm Marco notes, variable data printing takes a completely different route. You link the print project file to your customer database. However, this database contains more than just a name and mailing address, for that would just require mail merge functionality. It also contains various demographic and psychographic details as well as transactional history that is relevant to your messaging. That can include what kind of income they have, prior purchase history, your interactions with them and - most importantly - whether they like dogs or cats.
You can then create a large set of rules within the print project file that considers these details in context. With that in mind, you can change an incredible amount of detail within the mailer you send to the customers. If they have prior history with you, you can open the text by referencing how long it's been since they last worked with you. Assuming they live in a specific region such as the Northeast, you can apply local references and imagery. Placing a puppy over a kitten as the banner image can also happen depending on the consumer's preferences. When you bring all these aspects together, you can then create a unique document to print automatically without having to make changes yourself. The printer will instantly get an image of what exactly to print and run it without having to make constant adjustments. Individuals in the audience receive unique flyers tailored to their needs.Variable data printing can make each of these flyers unique.
Metrics on paper
Of course, you can do more than that with variable data printing. For each customer, you can incorporate a unique QR code or a personalized URL for them to access through through his or her mobile device or computer. This can lead to a landing page in response to your advertising that matches up with the flyer you supplied.
The effects of using variable data printing can be powerful when done in conjunction with strong targeting and personalization strategies. Printing agency Hagadone noted various improvements thanks to personalization, including a 48 percent increase in repeat orders and a 36 percent jump in response rate. What makes this printing tactic work is the ability to tap into consumer emotions, according to Target Marketing Magazine. You can make content that really triggers certain sentiments. In turn, you can develop that sentiment into a relationship. With variable data printing, you're able to solve the direct marketing quagmire of speaking directly to your customers.