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VDP Supplement: Keeping Mail Relevant

October 2006 BY ERIK CAGLE
A POPULAR credit card company’s advertising campaign wants to know: “What’s in Your Wallet?”

Well, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has asked a number of questions along the lines of “What’s in your mailbox?”

And some of those answers are providing powerful tools that will be of benefit to the partnership circle of the USPS, the printer and the direct marketer.

David Mastervich, account management sales specialist with the headquarters sales group for the USPS, will deliver the keynote address on keeping mail relevant at next month’s PIA/GATF Variable Data & Personalization Conference. With a plethora of tools designed to make the mailing process most effective and armed with some surprising data on who’s not only opening mail but utilizing it, Mastervich believes the variable data revolution will enable the mail stream to maintain its relevancy—and allow the mail to increase its effectiveness.

The keynote will be broken into four segments: Relevancy of mail, what customers do with mail, “intelligent mail” barcode tech- nology and address management service products.

Relevancy of Mail

“If consumers don’t find relevancy in the mail that they receive, they have a tendency of discarding it,” Mastervich says. “So we have to make sure that we’re sending the right message to the right people at the right time. Then it becomes relevant to consumers, and that will help grow the direct mail medium. If we don’t do that, we’ll become like other mass marketers and become ignored.”

The beauty of direct mail in the context of variable data printing (VDP) is the sophistication of databases that interpret the information in order to develop a marketing plan that is more personalized— literally allowing mailers to deliver a message that is unique on a house-by-house basis, if so desired.

The technology of digital printing has made mail more powerful, according to Mastervich, who points to case studies detailing how companies are doing very good customer segmentation and driving more profitability and higher revenues by targeting the right recipients with the right messages. And what is really drawing in more VDP clients is the dwindling cost of variable data printing and the affordability of gathering customer data, which carries a much higher response rate than non-targeted direct mail campaigns.

What Customers Do with Mail

How do (end users) handle mail? When do they look at it and how much time do they spend with it?
 

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