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How Variable Digital Printing Creates Personalization

Welcome to the Dove Direct Print and Marketing Blog. Today's post, "How Variable Digital Printing Creates Personalization," delineates how variable digital printing capabilities provide a method for personalizing print collateral. Variable digital printing technology is database-driven, in that a list from a CRM or specific data being input via software allows for genuinely unique addressing and printing collateral capabilities. For example, beyond the recipient's name and address, personalized data can also be inserted, such as demographic preferences, hair, and eye color, purchasing habits, ethnicity, language, color preferences, travel habits, household income, and the list goes on.

Variable Digital Printing, aka Variable Data Printing (VDP), are interchangeable terms, with variable data printing rising to the nomenclature, as big data is the driver behind VDP. This method of printing allows for the complete integration of personal data, text, and images in one print piece. In addition, the personalization data can be output into various document types, such as postcards, note cards, envelopes, brochures, flyers, catalogs packaging, and more.

More Variable Data/Digital Printing Capability

VDP technology goes even farther with the ability to customize the graphics and background images for each recipient or targeted group. You can align colors for market segmentation, interchange the artwork, all of which can be activated by various triggers. For example, for different customer types, you can print a specific image with a unique offer, or vary the graphics based on customer types. VDP allows you to print various collateral based on time-sensitive offerings, such as birthdays, graduations, invites, special events, and even select offers for loyal customers.

What is Variable Data Printing (VDP)

We spend a considerable amount of time talking about VDP, so we should define it. VDP encompasses a convergence of software integrated into a digital printing press that can alter the output collateral, thus producing personalized printed pieces, each one containing unique information. Typically a database or spreadsheet is used to feed the VDP process with individual personalized graphics, market messages, and text treatments, given to each piece. In short, VDP provides a mechanism that raises the relevancy level for the targets receiving the direct-mail piece.

VDP has become more relevant in the marketing mix due to its ability to outperform nearly all other marketing mediums as it relates to response and engagement rates. Various data mining organizations have produced a plethora of surveys and reports that lay bare the increased value that VDP offers.

Much can be said about the value of VDP when you consider that Google, Xfinity, AT&T, and a host of automotive, insurance, and healthcare providers use personalized direct mail marketing. Not only do these companies have a robust digital presence; in some cases, they are also outright digital organizations. Although most may have different reasons for using direct mail marketing, three reasons that validate their use include:

  • 75% of consumers enjoy the experience when brands personalize messaging and offers. (Aberdeen Group)
  • 86% of consumers stated that personalized marketing leads to a buying decision. (Infosys)
  • 80% of consumers embrace it when retailers provide personalized suggestions. (DigitalCommerce360)

Personalized Print Collateral's Advantage

People, on average, receive between 6 to 10 pieces of mail collateral daily. Naturally, in 4Q, those numbers can rise to approximately 20 per day. However, the digital landscape is much more congested, with 293 billion emails sent daily, combined with more than 3 million blogs, and billions of daily video views. In other words, the digital landscape is dense. 

Personalized direct mail marketing is more engaging in that a piece of mail may only have to compete with what's inside the physical mailbox. From an efficiency point of view, it is more likely that a recipient will see and read that mail piece in the first thirty minutes. Other factors might include the notion that the mail piece will not be deleted, lost, or overlooked during an electronic scroll or swipe.

Fact: 79% of consumers stated that reading mail is more convenient than reading online. (US Postal Service)

What You Can Do With VDP

The applications that one can imagine and create using VDP technology are limitless. Here are a few ideas that are sure to spike your creative juice:

  • Insurance offerings with personalized access codes
  • Personalized letters that include a salesperson's signature
  • Discount offers based on purchase habits
  • Collateral that includes geographic location, a tax id, a person's first name, last name, and address
  • Personalized loyal customer rewards
  • New product launch or improved product specials for existing customers
  • Personalized digital destination offers to be redeemed online

Loyalty customer programs go a long way toward brand retention, and most importantly, continuing to build and
cement the customer/brand relationship status. 

Spend Less and Acquire More

Marketing and advertising are similar to the activities on the stock exchange. The stock exchange mantra is quite simple, buy low, and sell high. Marketing and advertising's code to arms is similar, get the most reach for the least amount of investment. Recent data from organizations such as the DMA (Direct Marketing Association) bear out that targeted response rates are achievable through personalization, which lowers the cost of customer acquisition.

Powerful Postcards and VDP

Postcards, interestingly enough, are the staple of Google, AT&T, Xfinity, and DirectTV among those iconic brands that use VDP for direct mail marketing because the benefits stack up. Postcards are easy to scale. When applying personalization to postcard collateral, engagement levels increase. Postcards are the optimal size for saving, handing out, storing, and passing along to others. The tactile senses are invigorated with the various print types and available paper coatings.

There are so many applications that can alter the look and feel of a postcard. They include applications using metallic foils, exotic ink colors, various finishes, and of course, unique die cuts.

The One-Stop-Shop

The process for variable digital printing starts with the integration of a database or spreadsheet into the print press software. Then you have the creative, graphics, and messaging. Once the postcards have been approved and are ready for output, the sorting process happens, followed by the mailing process. While you can opt to use various vendors for each step of the process, it is more efficient to select a vendor that can handle the entire process, from data to mailing. 

A vendor such as Dove Direct, a one-stop-shop provider, can handle any variable data print job, from data life cycle management to mailing the final product with an in-house USPS® certified mail clerk.

The Net-Net

Numbers don't lie. Several data mining and survey organizations have provided compelling data that proves the value of VDP when part of the marketing mix. VDP collateral not only allows you to target customers and prospects individually but also provides a better mechanism for you to drive those recipients to digital destinations. If you want to deliver a trusted message that will be read and responded to, VDP is the format. With VDP, you can send people to your social media channels, video channels, websites, specific landing pages, white papers, blogs, or your brick-and-mortar. We hope you enjoyed this short read. Thanks for reading "How Variable Digital Printing Creates Personalization."

Let's have a conversation about integrated business solutions and how they can help grow your business, change behavior, and improve the customer experience. Please join us at our next Open House. You can learn about our solutions, including direct mail strategies, printing, print software, transactional documents, variable digital printing, brand equity, and unified marketing collateral. We invite you to join us for an hour or two, November 21, from 10:30am to 3:30pm. You can also tour our 58k+ Sq. Ft. facility and experience our vast array of state-of-the-art print, mail, and sorting infrastructure.

Let us show you how to improve your document processes to optimize your workflow, reduce your costs, and maximize your organization's printing, letter shop, and mailing capabilities. Dove Direct does have an official USPS certified bureau located within our offices that will save you time and money. And, if you bring us your files, we will create a demo file for you. For more information, call Carla Eubanks at 404-629-0122 or email Carla at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Dove Direct, your Atlanta based print and mail solutions provider, offers organizations end-to-end data, printing, and mailing solutions: Data Management, Variable Digital Printing, LetterShop and Fulfillment, Fully Automated MLOCR Presort Bureau, Marketing and Production Management Support and Secure Data Life Cycle Management.

If you don't want to wait for the Open House, you can reach Dove Direct today by calling 404-629-0122 or use the Contact Form for Dove Direct.

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