Produce Direct Mail with Better Direction

June 29, 2008

Last week, I received a direct mail piece from a local car dealership informing me the Honda Element I currently drive is in high demand. Shockingly, they wanted to buy my trusty wagon and put me behind the wheel of a shiny, new car—at an unbelievable price, of course. While I didn't bite at the offer, I did admire the piece as a potentially successful example of variable-data digital printing.

Similarly, variable-data printing offers you the opportunity to produce print pieces that can help target markets more effectively than a static piece. The technique has a number of advantages over traditional, offset printing:

Customization

Instead of sending a single piece to thousands of different customers, variable-data printing allows you to send a unique message to each customer. Not only can you use customer names (no more "occupant"), you can alter text, pictures, and other design elements for each piece.

Reduced Costs

With digital printing, you don't have to slow down or stop the print job to make custom changes, saving on production costs. Furthermore, because you can customize each piece and target with increased precision, you may not have to print as many in an attempt to blanket a market.

Increased Speed

Because digital print jobs can include variable information without pause, print times can be cut significantly. Furthermore, you're not necessarily required to design and produce multiple files for each customized field.

Greater Return

While the numbers vary, return rates for variable-data printing can be several times that of traditional print pieces. The higher the level of customization, the higher the return, as customers feel more connected to the piece.

Granted, this type of printing isn't perfect for every situation, as color-matching is tricky and paper or stock choices are often limited. However, variable-data digital printing can be an effective tool in your marketing efforts, particularly if you want to bring a little flair and personal touch to your print pieces.