Variable Data Printing
Variable data printing (also known as personalized marketing and printing) is a form of digital printing that allows the changing of just about anything – address details, colors, images, text – including the actual content of images, without stopping or slowing down the printing process by using information from an external file or database. Variable data printing is mainly used for direct marketing, mass advertising, customer relationship management (like sending thank you postcards), invoicing and applying addressing on postcard campaigns, self-mailers for advertising or promotion of services, or brochures.
The most basic type of data printing involves changing the salutation or name on each copy much like mail merge, though there are many more complex types of variable printing. The investment returns for variable printing vary from double the normal return to 10 times the return for fully variable jobs. This obviously depends on content and the relevancy of that content, but the technique presents an effective tool for increasing a return on investment with marketing campaigns. The response rate and brand exposure as compared to traditional direct mail can be triple or higher, depending on the content and services.
The ability for customization of the text, the use of colorful design and images, and the ability to allow the pieces to speak for the content makes variable printing a more personalized means of marketing. This in turn provides a powerful marketing tool for small businesses looking to provide services to local communities. It is an ideal solution for promotional flyers, direct-mail pieces, business openings, events such as trade shows or flea market promotions, or any other type of announcement where you want to speak directly to the potential consumer in a creative and meaningful fashion.
The potential for variable data printing is limited only by the imagination of the designer. The ability to direct the campaign to a particular audience or to draw out a wider base of prospective clients is virtually limitless. In the long run, variable printing is a more inexpensive means of printing as compared to direct mail, based on the ability to print as needed. It provides the opportunity to test particular markets ahead of time, allowing for adjustments before saturating an entire market. It also allows the ability to print addresses directly on the piece, eliminating the need for labels and hand-written addressing which reduces mailing costs and provides a faster fulfillment process.