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What is Variable Data Printing?

What is Variable Data Printing?

Variable data printing (VDP) is a modern digital printing technology that allows for the personalization of every printed piece in a single print run. Text, colors and images can easily be switched out from one printed piece to the next using advanced data processing software and a modern digital printing press.

Variables that can be personalized include:

  • Name and address.
  • Favorite colors, images, and buying trends.
  • Geographical location.
  • Brand preferences.
  • Taglines and special offers.
  • Dynamic logos for co-branding with partner companies.

Since variable data printing speaks directly to the needs and interests of the individual recipient, it’s an extremely effective tactic to increase response rates and ROI of direct mail campaigns.

To illustrate the power of variable data printing, simply look at the two mail pieces below. The first is a static, non-personalized piece and the second piece is personalized using variable data printing technology.


Ready to leverage the power of personalization and variable data printing in your next direct mail campaign? Here are our top do’s and don'ts of variable data printing.

Do Recognize That Direct Mail is a Dominant Marketing Channel

If direct mail is not already part of your marketing plan, there has never been a better time to take advantage of this unsaturated and extremely effective channel. In fact, direct mail marketing continues to outpace digital marketing channels when it comes to response rates.

Variable data printing amplifies the ROI of direct mail by adding the power of personalization. In fact, just adding a name to your direct mail piece can increase response rates by 135%.

variable-data-print-jet-mail>>>Related Resource: Learn how to add  direct mail as part of your integrated marketing strategy here. 

Don’t Ignore the Importance of Good Data 

Successful use of variable data printing requires clean, accurate and up-to-date data. Bad data can not only kill the effectiveness of a campaign, but it can come with high costs.

Organizations report poor data quality to be responsible for an average of $15 million each year in lost earnings.

>>>Related Resource: Learn how the home service industry uses data to improve direct mail campaigns.

Do Go Beyond the “First Name” Variable

Variable data printing is so much more than the ability to personalize a name on an envelope. Take advantage of your customer data and personalize your direct mail pieces with:

  • Geographic Data: Add images of the region, neighborhood, community or street that the recipient lives on.
  • Demographic Data: Adjust images or messages based on the recipients’ age, ethnicity, gender, home type, income, occupation or education level.
  • Behavioral Data: Reference recent purchases, or cross-sell or upsell based on buying patterns, habits and preferences.
  • Psychographic Data: Adjust messages to communicate the value your business provides based on the recipients’ activities, interests and passions.

Here are some use cases by industry to showcase how variable data can be used:

  • Personalize mailers with special offers based on where the recipient is at in the sales cycle. For example, segment your data based on customers who had their carpet cleaned in the past two years and tailor a special offer based on their last service date.
  • Appeal to the individual preferences of the recipient. Casinos are experts at this, and use customer data to personalize mailers with images of the recipient’s favorite slot machine, credits for the games they play most and coupons for their favorite restaurants.
  • Car dealerships create individualized offers to customers with older vehicles based on their past make, model, and color to drive vehicle maintenance business to the shop with timely reminders.
  • E-commerce shops use a multi-channel approach for cross-selling. Think of a furniture store customer who just purchased a set of unfinished cabinets online. This customer is primed, and ready to respond to a personalized mail offer with discounts on finishings, coatings and hardware they’ll need to complete their project.

Don’t Ignore Other Marketing Channels

Use variable data printing as part of an integrated or multi-channel marketing strategy to amplify your digital marketing efforts.

  • Automate the sending of a personalized promotional kit when a demo is scheduled to supplement a virtual experience with a tangible piece of your brand.
  • Send educational materials relevant to a customer’s needs and demographics after they download an eBook.
  • Re-engage customers who have abandoned their online shopping cart with a mailer that provides a custom discount for the item they left in their cart.

Do Partner With Jet Mail for Your Next Direct Mail Campaign

Jet Mail specializes in helping our customers maximize their marketing ROI through personalization, speed to market and data-driven 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.

Ready to supercharge your direct mail campaigns with variable data printing? Contact our team of experts for a free consultation and demo.


Get Started

To learn more about our services and how we can help expedite your marketing fulfillment, start by speaking with a Jet Mail team member.