Variable data printing is a powerful technology through which individual printed pieces are customized according to the needs and interests of each recipient. Rather than sending the same message to all of your customers or prospects, you can customize your printed piece to be relevant to each individual separately.
Studies show that this one-to-one approach can dramatically increase the impact of your marketing programs. You’re no longer marketing to the masses, you are marketing directly to your potential customers giving them the information they want.
The technology used to produce variable data printing is a simply a database and a digital printer. Most of us have received (or sent) letters using the old “merge/purge” method of uploading name and address to a document and personalizing each letter. This is the basic premise of variable data printing, although the capabilities and creative possibilities are endless.
When you send your file, our software program synchronizes the variable data from your database file with specific fields in the design file. Lawton Printing’s HP Indigo 5600 then prints each unique piece with all of the personalized elements in place.
Your printed piece can be customized with names, addresses and your customer’s history with your company. But imagine designing your piece with photos that match the individual’s interests, data that matches their history with your organization, or customized maps showing them how to drive directly to your business from their home.
You can also integrate cross-media tools such as a personal URL (PURL), an automatically-generated link to a personalized web page created for each recipient, to give him or her an easy and immediate way to respond to your message online.
When you work with your printer to do a variable print job, data management is key. Be sure your database is clean, trouble free and up to date. Send only the fields of information that you need for your project. Your customers are counting on you to store and use their data confidentially and responsibly.
At Lawton Printing we maintain security and confidentiality with our client’s data. Be sure that your printer has a policy in place assuring your data’s security.
Before you submit your design file, run a test proof that includes the shortest and longest name on your file. This will assure that the document looks right when the data fields are plugged in and printed.
Be sure to sit down with your printer and review the design. Give clear direction about which areas on the design are variable data elements, so that all of the appropriate fields are synched and the data is attaching correctly to the document.
Finally, ask your printer for test proofs throughout the database. Samples from various points in the data will assure that the data is reading correctly, and the appropriate variable data elements are getting plugged in.
Marketing effectiveness happens when you have a solid understanding of your customers and you speak to them directly. Variable data printing offers an opportunity to increase the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.