What’s In A Name? The Rise Of Variable Data and Personalisation

There have been a lot of trends in marketing over the years and, while many have gone just as quickly as they came, there are some movements that are more than just a flash in the pan. These don’t just shake up the industry they change it permanently, leading to a new way of interacting with customers and getting results.

In the last five years, there has been one trend that has become the new normal – personalised marketing. With a little help from leaps and bounds in printing technology, marketers are now able to reach their audience in ways they once couldn’t imagine – not only that, they’re getting results.
The change in landscape has been spurred on by the Internet and how much easier it has become to mine valuable data from existing and potential customers. The digital print industry has held up its end of the bargain with Variable Data Printing (VDP), which is the ability to individualise one print to the next on a single run. Everything from colours and fonts to imagery can be personalised on direct mail pieces without the sky-high costs and long lead times that would come with doing the same using offset printing.
Once favoured by niche brands, VDP has well and truly been embraced by the big boys and used in some of the most effective campaigns of the last few years. Most notably, Coca-Cola’s ‘Share a Coke’ campaign – which personalised Coke cans and bottles with customers’ names – boosting sales and helping them to reach key audiences.
In Europe, Nutella has recently taken on a similar campaign while – closer to home – insurance companies, supermarkets and universities such as QUT have used VDP-based campaigns to target their audience.
As an increasing number of small businesses realise the power that VDP wields in letting them compete with large multinationals, we’re seeing more and more creative and dynamic campaigns arrive in our mailbox each day.
Recent figures from Print Is Big show the response rate for email marketing has decreased 57%, while direct mail is up 14%. The ROI investment for VDP mailing is at least 30 times better than the return for static mailings. This data has shown that it I not advertising that customers dislike; it’s irrelevant advertising. VDP mailings can link into larger campaigns while still allowing customers to feel included.
Leaders in digital print Doculink Australia specialise in Variable Data Printing using two state-of-the-art HP Indigo machines. General Manager Kim Mitchell knows all too well the power of VDP.
 “I’ve seen the number of variable data jobs in the last five years continue to increase. There’s a huge appetite for it and it’s easy to see why,” says Kim. “The personalisation of print jobs is still relatively new but customers are already expecting an experience individual to them.”
Kim has shared a few tips for those looking to turn their static mail campaigns into VDP wonders:
1.Vary colours, fonts and images to appeal to the demographic at which you’re aiming.
“On any single run, you might be mailing to pensioners, students and everyone in-between. You should try to appeal to each group individually using pre-set designs.”

2.Offer customers something unique.
“Something as simple as a personalised URL or QR code can integrate your DM campaign with online in a way that will pique your customers’ curiosity.”

3.Don’t sell meat to vegetarians.
“Use demographics like age, marital status and profession to your advantage. If you’re advertising a resort, focus your message so that those with young kids know all about children’s facilities while young singles know about the nightlife.”

4.Never assume.
“It’s a common trap but only use the data that you have in any given campaign. Just because your customer has a particular surname, don’t assume they are of an ethnicity common to that name. You want to leave a good impression, not put yourself in hot water.”

5.Location, location, location.
“Personalise details such as special offers or contact information based on the customer’s location. Direct them to a local outlet. Don’t make it hard for them to take what’s available to them.”
VDP continues to revolutionise marketing campaigns and digital print in general. The flexibility on offer has allowed a lot of businesses to really get creative with their marketing and, in return, they’ve seen some great results and have created a greater connection with the customer.
If you’ve got a great idea but are not sure if it’s possible, just speak to your digital printer. Any digital printer worth their salt will be willing to go that extra mile for a really good idea.
“Doculink loves taking on the challenge of new campaigns and dynamic ways of using VDP,” says Kim. “We’re really excited to see where the future takes us.” Back

Jun 1 2015

By Shosh Cutter in Direct Mail

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