Why Variable Data Printing is the Future

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August 7, 2012

Ask IT strategists, any printer, and most businesses what is in store for the future and those in the know will say data mining and CRM systems.  And in the printing industry they will tell you that having data allows you to personalize through variable data printing.

Transitioning from static direct mail to variable mail is how to stay ahead of the competition. In fact variable data printing allows the smallest business to compete with Fortune 500 businesses because when properly executed it can return  up to 30 times the ROI of a static piece according to data from Cap Ventures.

Variable data printing is being embraced by businesses that have data on their customers like grocery stores, retailers, catalogers, casinos, boutiques, hospitals, and insurance companies.

Casinos such as Harrah’s increased their customer spend 13% — from 36% in 2000 to 43% in 2002 with its Total Rewards program that involves monthly VDP mailings to four different customer segments. This concentration on individual motivation jumped Harrah’s profits $251 million in just one year of its implementation, according to a research study released by ICMR.

VDP Resistors and Users

While most organizations have an existing customer database, most of the time the data is not contained in a single system. This makes it difficult to get a 360 degree picture to target your messaging.

If this rings true for your organization, the sooner you tackle the integration issue the better. Leaving it for years later limits your ability to create strong response rates today.

An analysis of 40 months of data, from January 2009 through October 2011, demonstrates the growth of personalization/VDP (variable data printing) in the direct marketing and mailing process*:

  • In 2009, 28% of direct mail pieces were personalized.
  • In 2010, the number of personalized mail pieces increased to 34% — a 21% increase.
  • In 2011, seven of the 10 months recorded saw even higher VDP usage – another 21% increase from the prior year and a 46% jump from the 2009 levels.

* Source: Target Marketing, Nuts & Bolts – Trends : 2011 Direct Mail Trend of the Year: VDP, March 2012.

Stats to Prove VDP is the Beneficial Shot for Growing Your Business

Although some may think the work to organize the data isn’t worth using VDP, the numbers make that argument fall flat:

  • VDP success is enjoyed by many sectors, from travel to education. La Salle Academy used a VDP self-mailer for an alumni fundraising campaign and increased the average donation by 67%.
    Source: The Print on Demand Initiative. La Salle Academy, 2010
  • A restaurant franchise used VDP to create customer cards printed with a unique URL and drew a 27% patron response.
    Source: The Print on Demand Initiative. Beef O’Brady’s. 2010
  • A municipal federal credit union used VDP postcards to drive $1 million in loan activity and achieve an ROI of over 2,700% for the first year of interest income.
    Source: The Print on Demand Initiative. Wallingford Municipal Credit Union. 2010
  • Combined with personalized URLs, email, and telemarketing, a local travel club found that variable data and imagery printing boosted bookings and membership.
    Source: The Print on Demand Initiative. CLUB ABC Tours Travel Campaign, 2010
  • VDP plus cross channel marketing earned Hershey Entertainment and Resorts a 17% higher revenue and 10% more bookings.
    Source: DM News: July 27, 2009.

If you’ve been sitting on the fence instead of implementing VDP, follow the lead of the savvy marketers above and build a marketing campaign made of bricks – a strong foundation of variable data printing (relevance, customization) and blow your competition away.

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