VDP Supplement: Casting a Vote for VDP

A few years ago Custom Data Imaging was approached by the provincial Conservative Party in Ontario to do some variable data work for an upcoming election. The provincial election campaign proved—even though the party didn’t win—to be quite successful in the geographic areas where the variable data mailers targeted.

Playing off of the success of the provincial campaign, Custom Data Imaging was contacted by the marketing agency for the federal Conservatives to put together a program for the national election in Canada that eventually saw Conservative Stephen Harper take over the prime minister post.

“They came to us and said, ‘since we had success (with the provincial election), can we do something similar, but a little more broad-based?’ And we said ‘sure.’ ”

McPherson sat down with the agency—Response Marketing Group—to come up with a different way to communicate across Canada than had ever been used before—by using variable data printing.

“The premise of the job was quite simple: we are going to communicate and grab the information from the doorsteps, so to speak, either by canvassing by telephone or by going door-to-door,” McPherson reveals. “That data would drive the printed piece.”

Response Marketing Group has a large call center and collected information about prospective voters both by phone and door-to door polling. Citizen concerns were gathered and databased for use in the printed marketing campaign.

“If someone’s concerns were on industry, the printed piece would have an industrial feel with graphics and text telling them that we know they are concerned about business growth in the country,” McPherson explains. “On the back there would be information about the candidate to vote for.”

No specific demographic or group was targeted—just voters in general. The Canadian political system is different than in America, which brings with it some distinct challenges. First, many Canadians aren’t registered to a specific political party.

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