Variable Data Printing

Printing Guy asked:

Variable data printing is also called “one to one marketing” or “personalization” .

Variable data printing is where either text, images or both change from impression to impression off the press. So the first one will say Dear Buzz and the very next impression could say Dear Jane. The picture on mine could be of a car and Jane’s picture could be of a truck.

There are actually several levels of variable data printing. The first simple level is where the salutation or name changes on each copy. Fairly simple but doesn’t increase your level of return greatly from a mass direct mail. The second level of variable data printing is versioning where you might have different levels of variability for different markets. This can involve text and picture changes based upon what segment it is going to. Then you have full variability printing where the text and pictures can change totally from copy to copy.

All three of these are done by having a base design programmed to show what will change and then a database that will actually drive the changes of the fields that will change. It is very important to get a knowledgeable printer involved early in the design process to help in producing a successful product.

The returns for variable data printing vary from double the normal return on the first level to 10-15 times the return on fully variable. It depends on the data and the relevancy but it is a very effective tool to increase your ROI on your mailings.

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