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Understand How Variable Digital Printing Works


Welcome to the Dove Direct Print and Marketing Blog. Today's post, "Understand How Variable Digital Printing Works," outlines the various methods used by digital presses to achieve what is known as Variable Data Printing or Variable Digital Printing.

Our Quote of the Day: 

     "Personalization – it is not about first/last name. It's about relevant content."
     – Dan Jak, Head of Email and SMS, British Gas

Before we get started, we congratulate the Super Bowl Champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, as well as the San Francisco 49ers, for a memorable Super Bowl experience!

We have noticed that both prospects and a new generation of print buyers that represent firms that buy print need to understand some, if not all, of the complexities of the print world. Here is our definitive take on Variable Data Printing, aka VDP, as well as other related questions surrounding the VDP quest to deliver personalization.

How Does Variable Data Printing (VDP) Function

VDP is a technique whereby digital printing software can modify the output of a digital printing press to achieve personalization by passing on unique information for each printed piece generated by a database or spreadsheet.  The VDP process generates digitally printed output for every data point fed into the print software. Therefore, depending on the complexity of the data, each piece can be customized to include messaging, graphics, and color treatments, thus providing the intended recipients with personalized marketing communications.

Variable Imaging Explained

Variable data printing (VDP), variable information printing (VIP), and variable imaging (VI) are a type of digital printing that offers on-demand printing, in which components such as text, graphics, and images can be modified for each printed piece in succession. This process does not stop or slow the printing process, as the information is inputting from a database or external files.

What is Versioned Digital Printing?

Variable data printing technology provides another benefit for print collateral to be output as a version of the original. We define versioning as having multiple versions of the same piece. Adding this versioning information is cost-effective and requires minimal additional expenditures. However, the appearance of the piece is significantly enhanced; by keeping it uniform, there are no random labels, handwritten info, or smeared rubber stamping. 

Versioning affords various benefits:

  • Eliminates the shipping label requirement and the need to customize a mass-produced piece. Each piece will contain custom information and will provide an appearance that gives the impression that it is original and meant to be there. 
  • VDP is a cost-effective solution when compared to traditional offset printing.
  • Version quantities can vary.
  • Versions can be unlimited.

What is a Variable?

A variable can contain any number of characteristics, including a number or quantity that can be counted or measured. A variable is also known as a data object or point. Examples of variable data include age, sex, household income, business income, expenses, country of origin, investment expenditure, purchase history, educational grade results, eye and hair color, types of owned vehicle(s), and more. Variable is also a programming value that can be altered based on information passed to a program, or even a conditional aspect. Typically, variables and constants are referred to as particular data types.

How is Variable Data Printing Used?

On-demand Digital Printing offers organizations a high degree of flexibility and affordable printing solutions. VDP options encompass a wide range of applications starting with simple mail merges to various versioning options for customize printing strategies for different markets associated with overall marketing initiatives. 

Thanks to VDP technology, organizations can use this variable data printing technology to create a plethora of personalized, custom materials and data points that best speak to the intended recipients in a direct mail marketing program. In addition, variable data printing also provides marketers with the ability to quickly and easily edit future marketing campaigns to increase ROI.

Businesses and marketers that incorporate variable data printing solutions can print a myriad of custom, personalized print collateral such as:

  • Direct marketing materials, customized flyers, mailers, brochures, booklets, and more
  • Unique labeling and tailored packaging collateral
  • Personalized documents, letters, and correspondence which are perfect for CRM strategies, or invoicing
  • Postcard campaigns that are personalized and unique for each recipient

Why Variable Data Printing Increases Response Rates

In an overabundant media universe, where television, radio, email, social media, banner ads, blog posts, and billboards are all screaming for attention, consumers and prospects find it challenging to respond to those intrusive communications. That said, marketing professionals are certainly in the hunt for a better solution that can cut thought the campaign clutter.  Therefore, it should be a no-brainer for brands and marketers to consider direct mail marketing, backed by VDP technology, to deliver personalized marketing communications to people's uncluttered physical mailboxes. Studies have shown that direct mail marketing increases response rates and ROI across all channels.

The Net-Net

Variable Data Printing, aka VDP, is steeped in print technology that opens the door for opportunities to deliver customized, personalized communications in an efficient, affordable manner. Now that you have a basic understanding of VDP, what's behind VDP technology, and how it works, we contend that your marketing efforts will go a lot further by including variable data printing with your direct mail marketing. We hope this article sheds light on the subject, and thanks for reading "Understand How Variable Data Printing Works"!

Let's have a conversation about integrated business solutions and how they can help grow your business, change behavior, and improve the customer experience. 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 at our next Open House on February 27, 2020, 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, Letter Shop and Fulfillment, Fully Automated MLOCR Presort Bureau, Marketing, 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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