Jet Mail 7/28/22 10:00 AM

What is Variable Data Printing?

What is Variable Data Printing?

Variable data printing (also known as VDP and variable data imaging) is a modern digital printing technology that allows for the personalization of every printed piece in a single print run. Names, messages, images and logos can be changed from one printed piece to the next without delaying the printing process.

With variable data printing, nearly every aspect of a printed piece can be tailored to address the unique needs and preferences of individuals. Variables that can be tailored include:

  • Names.
  • Images.
  • QR codes and URLs.
  • Logos and locations.
  • Taglines and colors.
  • Special offers and promotions.
  • Purchase history.

Rather than take a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing, variable data printing allows businesses to personalize communications to the individual–and it’s extremely effective in boosting brand awareness, customer loyalty and sales.

To illustrate the power of variable data printing, simply look at the two mail pieces below. The first is a generic, non-personalized piece and the second is personalized using variable data printing.Jet-Mail-Blog-Variable-Data-Printing_3

It’s easy to see why 93% of businesses report an increase in revenue after implementing an advanced personalization strategy.

Ready to leverage the power of personalization with variable data printing? Here’s what you need to know about variable data printing, including:

How does variable data printing work?

Using the prospect or customer information that you already have in your CRM, an advanced digital printing press pulls the data and dynamically inserts content into a template. Hundreds of thousands of print pieces can be tailored with content specific to each recipient in the same amount of time it would take to print an equal number of non-personalized pieces.

In the example below, you can see how data is pulled from a file and then dynamically inserted into a templatized mailer.

Examples of Variable Data Printing

Since 84% of customers prefer to make a purchase with businesses that treat them like an individual–rather than a number–variable data printing is one of the easiest ways to unlock the power of personalization.

Here’s how businesses across a wide variety of industries use variable data printing to personalize the customer journey and generate more revenue.

Service reminders for the home service and automotive industries.

  • Carpet cleaning businesses use variable data printing to re-engage with customers who missed their annual cleaning. By segmenting data based on customers who haven’t had their carpet cleaned in the past two years, they can incentivize repeat business with a special offer based on a customer’s last service date.
  • Car dealerships use variable data printing to remind customers that it’s time for their annual maintenance appointment. Rather than sending a generic “It’s time to have your car serviced” postcard, they reference the customer’s make, model and previous mileage. There’s also an opportunity to upsell the newest model of a customer’s current vehicle.

Cross- and up-selling for e-commerce and hotel chains.

  • Car dealerships aren’t the only ones using variable data printing for up-selling. Online retailers use variable data printing to recommend corresponding products that will be helpful to the customer. For example, if a customer purchased a set of unfinished cabinets, they are primed and ready to respond to a personalized mail offer with discounts on the finishings, coatings and hardware they’ll need to complete their project.
  • Hotel chains personalize mailers with images from a customer’s favorite property or recent stay. They also send promotions for new or existing properties that offer similar amenities and experiences. Promotions can be tailored by audience demographics as well, such as promoting mid-week stays to seniors and summer vacation packages for families.

Customer retention for casinos and e-commerce.

  • Casinos are experts at using variable data printing to keep customers coming back for more. Casinos appeal to the individual preferences of their customers by personalizing mailers with images of their favorite slot machine, credits for the games they play most often and coupons for their favorite restaurants.
  • Shopping cart abandonment can plague online retailers. Since most e-commerce storefronts have a multi-step checkout process, with addresses being collected at the first step, it’s easy to send discounts to shoppers with items left in their cart to incentivize them to complete the purchase.

Hyper-targeting multiple audiences for franchises and security companies.

  • Older retirees and younger families have very different needs, and variable data printing allows you to reflect the needs of each audience. Home security campaigns focus on peace of mind, but from different angles. For instance, retirees care about traveling and knowing their home is safe while away. Young families care about keeping their children safe around the house. With variable data printing, home security companies are able to print door hangers and direct mailers with images and benefits specific to each audience.
  • Franchises can provide franchisees with templatized assets that can be personalized to resonate with the local market. Templatization also ensures that corporate brand guidelines are adhered to across locations.

The Importance of Data in Variable Data Printing

Since variable data printing is reliant on data, it’s critical for businesses to maintain clean and accurate data.

In addition to maintaining clean data, it’s important to try and collect as much information from prospects and customers as possible. After all, there’s no such thing as too much data. While simply adding the recipient’s first name to a direct mail piece can increase response rates by up to 135%, variable data printing allows businesses to personalize so much more.

Boost your library of data by auditing the forms on your website to see if there’s an opportunity to ask for additional information and use surveys, assessments and quizzes to collect data across these four categories:

  • Geographic Data: Add images of the region, neighborhood, community or street that the recipient lives on.
  • Demographic Data: Adjust content based on the recipients’ age, ethnicity, gender or occupation.
  • Behavioral Data: Reference recent purchases or cross-sell based on preferences.
  • Psychographic Data: Adjust content to communicate the value your business provides based on the recipients’ interests.

Variable Data Printing with Jet Mail

Jet Mail specializes in helping our customers maximize their marketing ROI through personalization, speed to market and data-driven marketing strategies. Our technology, infrastructure, and decades of experience allow us to maximize the power of variable data printing and personalize every touchpoint of the customer journey.

Contact our team of experts to learn how variable data printing can work for you business. 

Editor’s Note: This blog was originally published in October 2020 and has been updated to reflect current information.


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