Increasing Marketing Campaign ROI with Variable Data Imaging
When COF/Control-o-fax was born in 1948, it was much harder to design and print marketing communications. Graphic designers didn’t have computers where they could load graphics and print them on paper within seconds. Offset printing began to gain steam in the 1940s and further in the 1950s due to improvements in ink, paper, and plates. However, variable data imaging was still light years away. Fast forward to 2012 and COF/Control-o-fax now offers variable data imaging which takes direct marketing to the next level.
Running a business calls for maximizing sales opportunities with current and prospective customers. However, no two customers are alike. What is the best way to handle this in your direct marketing? Often, it is to use variable data imaging which conforms to one-on-one marketing. The returns on variable data printing (VDP) vary from double the normal return at the basic level to 10-15 times the return for fully variable jobs. This depends upon content and content relevancy, but the technique presents an effective tool for vastly increasing
Variable data printing is a direct outgrowth of digital printing, which harnesses computer databases and digital print devices and highly effective software to create high-quality, full color documents, with a look and feel comparable to conventional offset printing. Variable data printing enables the mass customization of documents via digital print technology, as opposed to the ‘mass production’ of a single document using offset lithography. Instead of producing 10,000 copies of a single document, delivering a single message to 10,000 customers, variable data printing enables the printing of 10,000 unique documents with customized messages for each customer.
There are several levels of variable printing. The most basic level involves changing the salutation or name on each copy much like a mail merge. More complicated variable data printing uses 'versioning', where there may be differing amounts of customization for different markets, with text and images changing for groups of addresses based upon which segment of the market is being addressed. Finally there is full variability printing, where the text and images can be altered for each individual address. All variable data printing begins with a basic design that defines static elements and variable fields for the pieces to be printed. While the static elements appear exactly the same on each piece, the variable fields are filled in with text or images as dictated by a set of application and style rules and the information contained in the database.
Variable data imaging enables the cost effective means to create highly customized, targeted messages to your audience. Not only can you distribute printed pieces that are personalized with the recipient’s name, you can make the content and imagery variable so that it relates directly to the recipient. For example, if you are a college or university sending out a direct mailer to prospective students, you can utilize variable data printing by correlating a specific block of text or a different picture to a specific intended major for that student. Business majors may have a photo of a man (for male recipients) or woman (for female recipients) in a suit with a briefcase. Education majors may instead have a photo of a classroom setting.
Another way organizations effectively use variable data printing is in fundraising campaigns. When sending out direct mail donation letters, fundraisers often make promotional donation levels with the variable data based on previous year’s contributions. For example, if someone donated $1,000 last year, you wouldn’t want to send them the same promotional donation levels as someone who donated $100.
Thanks to technological advances including our new full-color digital printing capabilities, we now have the ability to provide in-line data imaging using software designed to format and flow the specified information and images onto printed pieces such as postcards, ID cards, brochures, flyers, envelopes, and more. Better yet, we are able to produce shorter, quicker runs on even the most complex printing jobs than in the past.
Even more so, we are getting ready to launch a cutting-edge service that allows marketers to work with familiar design tools and file formats, and utilize simple data files, to incorporate all the demographic, geographic, and psychographic information they know about their customers (i.e. name, address, occupation, age, gender, interests, hobbies, spending habits, etc.) into their direct mail campaigns in clever, relevant ways that get noticed.
But what’s even more exciting to consider is that more and more marketers are using their personalization knowledge and capabilities in other channels, such as websites, email and mobile messaging. The key is to start with what you know and grow from there. Clearly, you need to have an understanding of VDP before jumping into the more advanced cross-media capabilities. If you are willing to make the right investment by utilizing our vast capabilities in cross-media marketing technology and people, there are few limitations on what you can sell and deliver to your customers to maximize your ROI, even in the current challenging economic environment.
SAVE 10% ON YOUR NEXT VARIABLE DATA IMAGING JOB
Mention code COFKNOWSVDI0612 and try our Variable Data Imaging at 10% off our already highly competitive pricing. This special offer expires 6/29/12. This offer cannot be combined with other offers.