Direct mail is one of the most time-tested forms of advertising. Think back before the internet, before television, …maybe even before radio (scary, I know). People would hear about your business through word of mouth, signs, or maybe a newspaper ad. Essentially, they had to go out of their way to find out about your products or services. Direct mail provided a convenient solution to this problem by delivering the ads right to the customers’ homes. It has remained a viable marketing method to this day. It’s extremely effective compared to a lot of online methods (you can ignore a web banner much more easily than a piece of mail in your hand).
As direct mail and online marketing developed side-by-side, a new problem became obvious. Online advertisements could easily be changed, updated, and directed at multiple audiences at the same time. Unfortunately for direct mail services, printing firms were limited by their equipment. Older printing presses had to use a time-consuming setup process to begin printing. This process was costly and did not lend itself to the fast-paced rate of new data we encounter every day. This is where digital printers truly shine. The setup is quick and affordable. The digital printing software also allows access to Variable Data Printing (VDP).
VDP gives the ability to change data between each print piece while on the press. This evens out the playing field between offline and online marketing and provides numerous possibilities for improving connectivity with your target audience:
- Each piece of a direct mail print can be addressed to a different name and location. This eliminates the need for mailing labels, giving your mail a more streamlined and professional appearance.
- Special offers, birthday promotions, and coupons can be sent out with each customer’s name. Imagine how much more sincere your direct mail will appear when they see their own name instead of “dear valued customer.”
- You can diversify your advertisement to impact individual groups of consumers within your demographic and psychographic groups. For example, if you were selling a minivan, you may want to market to two different groups: people who need a safe vehicle for family transportation and people who want a lot of storage space for recreation on the go. With variable data, you can send the same brochure format to both groups and have the message and images tailored to get the most positive response from each party.
There are many other great ways to use variable data printing to your advantage. Be creative and find new ways to establish a more personal repertoire with your customers. Provide each recipient with relevant data and content and the boost in customer response will be all the proof you need to see that VDP has earned its place in modern marketing.