With today’s technology, marketers don’t just get to personalize their message; they can personally tailor those messages. The technology is so slick, according to Dave Ward author of Variable Dating Integration – Taking You Wherever You Want to Go, your targeted messages don’t look like highly targeted messages, but like magic.
This magic worked well for PRO Seeds who turned an average farm journal into a marketing vehicle that spoke directly to their farm prospects – literally. Imagine that you run a 1,000-acre soybean operation in Canada. You come in after a hard day of chores, sit back in your recliner, put your feet up and start thumbing through your favorite agricultural magazine.
When you flip to page 12, something jumps right out and grabs your attention. There’s a postcard that is die-cut to look like a bag of soybean seeds – and it has your name on it. You can’t resist peeling the card off the page and finding on the back of the card three soybean seed varieties that are best suited specifically for your farming operation. (If you aren’t a farmer you may not realize that seed selection is specifically tailored to location, climate and soil. All seeds are not created equal.)
You’re stunned. How could they know which seed varieties would work specifically for you; especially when you raise crops in five different heat zones? Behold the power of Variable Data Printing (VDP) or Variable Data Integration.
This is a true marketing campaign that worked wonderfully for PRO Seeds, who faced fierce competition for acres in Ontario where they only had 4% market share in 2011.
The campaign was a hit with farmers who loved the tailored messages specific to their farm, focus and heat zone. PRO Seeds experienced a lift in sales in regions where they had little penetration prior to this effort.
Ready to Harvest Your Clients Using VDP?
The challenge experienced by many marketers who want to execute a highly personalized campaign is the access to and quality of their database. Before executing a VDP campaign such as the one PRO Seeds conducted, you will need the following:
- You must have the right data in the right fields.
- Data must be properly and consistently formatted.
- Data must be accurate.
- Data must be useable in all of the required contexts.
Take the time to analyze your data to ensure the acceptability and accuracy of all substitutions. Don’t let bad data waterlog your campaign.
Variable Data Printing is a powerful tool that allows us to do some remarkable things, and the PRO Seeds card is really only one example of what can be done to tailor powerful messages for your customers.
In our 24 years of experience, Mail Print has found that VDP projects, should have the following elements:
- The client or business must be open minded to delve deep into looking at all possible ways to pull the data available or gather the data needed to truly customize the marketing piece to address the customer or prospect on a knowledgeable, and in some cases an almost intimate, basis.
- The client or business must want to innovate and lead with technology and be prepared for the work and rewards to ensure a successful campaign.
- The client, agency or business must grasp the full scope – and magic – of what can be done with variable data. Some campaigns we’ve executed include:
- making covers of publications specific to each person or market segment;
- making the tables, graphs, and figures in an insurance explanation brochure specific to that employee based on age, marital status, and worker class;
- making a plastic surgery image brochure speak directly to the prospect who called in asking about a facelift, not lipo suction.
Like so many other endeavors, the success of any VDP project is as much in the details of the execution as it is in the creativity that inspired it.