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Marketing Solutions


Direct Mail and Variable Data Marketing

Variable-data printing (VDP) (also known as variable-information printing (VIP)) is a form of on-demand printing in which elements such as text, graphics and images may be changed from one printed piece to the next without stopping or slowing down the printing process, using information from a database or external file. For example, a set of personalized letters, each with the same basic layout, can be printed with a different name and address on each letter. Variable data printing is mainly used for direct marketing, customer relationship management and advertising and invoicing.

The technique is a direct outgrowth of digital printing, which harnesses computer databases and digital print devices to create high-quality, full color documents, with a look and feel comparable to conventional offset printing.

Variable data printing enables the mass customization of documents via digital print technology, as opposed to the 'mass-production' of a single document using offset lithography. Instead of producing 10,000 copies of a single document, delivering a single message to 10,000 customers, variable data printing could print 10,000 unique documents with customized messages for each customer.

There are several levels of variable printing. The most basic level involves changing the salutation or name on each copy. More complicated variable data printing uses 'versioning', where there may be differing amounts of customization for different markets, with text and images changing for groups of addressees based upon which segment of the market is being addressed. Finally there is full variability printing, where the text and images can be altered for each individual addressee. All three types of variable data printing begin with a basic design that indicates which sections can be altered and a database of information that fills in the changeable fields. Since 2005, the term TransPromo or transpromotional has emerged to cover the merging of promotional content and transactional print pieces by involving more business users in the printing process.

The returns for variable printing vary from double the normal return at the basic level to 10-15 times the return for fully variable jobs. This naturally depends on content and the relevancy of that content, but the technique presents an effective tool for increasing ROI on marketing campaigns.

Direct Mail is one of the most powerful and cost effective ways to generate new business leads. Surveys show that personalized communications dramatically increase response rates. How would you like to be able to personalize your communication to your ideal target customer? Personalization to this level is now available and communicates your message far more powerfully than ever before. The better you target your audience, the better your results.

Significant amounts of Direct Mail do not work due to lack of market testing. When it is done well it can increase your sales greatly. Our web to print service can help you test the market with small quantities of different messages.

Whether using your own database or one supplied by a third party, care should be taken over the accuracy of the information to ensure the right results. Most data providers will supply a sample of data if requested. Make sure the sample is for the area you wish to target.

For more information, or to request a free consultation, please contact Rick at Lakes Marketing and Print.