What is Variable Data Printing? A Closer Look.

Author: Jon Legg, Data Processing Department Leader

In today’s data-driven marketing world, utilizing the power of your data can be the difference between a good marketing campaign and a great marketing campaign that produces a fantastic ROI. A question that we often get asked is “What is Variable Data Printing and how does it work?”

What is Variable Data Printing?

Variable Data Printing is using your customer’s data to change text, images, or other content from one piece of mail to the next.  Instead of printing one form 100,000 times you can instead print 100,000 highly individualized pieces.  And when we say highly personalized we are talking about more than just a salutation line that says “Dear John Doe.” 

At Nahan we have done a wide range of projects that utilize variable data printing.  The following four specific examples show what highly personalized could look like to you.

  1. One project had hundreds of mall locations and for each record, we used a field in the data to variably pull the closest mall to the consumer, a logo for that mall, hours of operation, and a mall directory. 
  2. Another project required us to uniquely link over 400,000 photographs so that each record imaged the correct photograph. 
  3. A third project involved providing each recipient with a personalized map that showed their house on a map, the nearest store, and a highlighted route between the two.
  4. Lastly, another project showcased a piece that changed all of its content based on the consumer.  Family of four?  All content showed family-friendly activities and all images changed to photos of families.  Single?  The entire piece changed to show photos of adults with more of a focus on entertainment and nightlife.

Variable data printing can do all of this and more. 

What is Variable Data Printing

As we like to say, “Where there is data, there is opportunity for customization.”

What Files Are Needed For a Variable Data Project?

At Nahan we can accept all types of files and work with you to get more out of your mail list.  Our preferred file format is a CSV file transmitted to our SFTP site.  We are also able to use API integrations to directly link with our customers to provide a more seamless transfer of data; both to Nahan and back to our customers.  This can include return files, reports, and much more.

How is Data Kept Safe?

In today’s digital landscape we can use data for just about anything, which makes that data extremely valuable.  Sadly, the bad guys know that as well and are constantly looking to get their hands on data.  But Nahan takes pride in keeping your data safe.  We are PCI compliant and are equipped to work with HIPAA data. We have lots of hands-on experience with both.  Beyond that our data processing team is literally in a locked room that requires two different forms of authentication just to get in! Given all the efforts that we put into data security, you can rest assured that not only will Nahan keep your data safe, but we will also put it to work for you! 

Working Together on a Strategy

As a company, we are not afraid of pushing the boundaries of what can be done with data.  We are constantly using the newest technology and then working to perfect it.  We also have a data processing team that is equally unafraid of pushing limits and seeing how much we can do with a simple mail list.  Let’s work together and see what we can get your next mailing to do for you! Contact us to learn more.

Author: Jon Legg is a Department Leader at Nahan Printing and started with the company in 2015.  He currently oversees the Data Processing department as well as the PreMedia department.  This means that any files, whether art or data, all come through Jon’s teams.  When he isn’t at work Jon loves spending time with his wife and daughter, traveling (usually to Disney World), and working with our local theater company both on stage and as a Director. 

How to Show ROI on Your Next Print Project

Author: Melissa Fransen, Marketing Manager

Hello fellow marketers! Whether you are new to marketing or have been in the field your entire career, there is one thing that we are all probably familiar with measuring for the campaigns we develop and execute; ROI. For social media marketing, the data is right at our fingertips as we can see impressions, click through rates, and engagement %. For email marketing, we can see open rates, clicks, and conversions. In Google Analytics, we can see website traffic driven from organic, direct, and referral sources, but what about print as a part of an omni-channel strategy? Here are some great ways to measure and show ROI on your next print project!

1. Use the Power of Your Data

 

Have you heard the term Variable Data Printing or sometimes referred to as VDP? If not, variable data printing allows your printed piece to be customized to the individual. Basically, it’s the opportunity for 1:1 marketing using print. With VDP, you can personalize the printed piece based on data, including everything from personalized imagery to custom offers. On a recent case study with one of our customers, when they personalized their mailing to the individuals they saw a 3X sales lift compared to a control group that was not personalized. What a huge success!

When you think about your next campaign, think about ways you might be able to use the power of your data. I know as a consumer, I love when marketing is tailored directly to me and my interests. I want offers and coupons that are relevant to what I purchase vs. a generic offer where I have no interest.

If you are using a coupon on your next print project, be sure to use an individualized offer code so you know the coupon was redeemed. This will also allow you to track redemption rates and sales per mailer.

Here are a few ideas for your next project:

  • Maps to the nearest store location
  • Abandoned cart item coupon
  • Offers specific to something your customer has purchased in the past
  • Special incentive for birthdays

 

2. Unique Landing Pages

 

By creating specific landing pages for your mailings, you can track the ROI from your landing page perspective and will be able to see how many people visit that particular page  There are a number of ways to drive consumers to your page; it might be a QR code or listing the URL in your text. To take it even further, you can also create a PURL (Personalized URL). To maximize your impact, create a compelling incentive for the recipient to visit the page to drive the biggest result.

 

3. Informed Delivery

 

Have you heard of Informed Delivery? If not, to sum it up, this is a relatively new FREE service from the USPS where individuals can sign up for daily emails of what is being delivered to them in the mail each day. I am personally signed up and I really like it since it gives me a glimpse of what to expect in my mailbox when I arrive home.

From a marketer’s perspective, when we set up Informed Delivery campaigns, we are able to attach an image to the printed piece (they call it a ride-along image) and a URL of your choice will also be attached to the campaign. In a nutshell, the individual that receives the email will see the URL and can click on the link to drive them to your site before they even receive the mail piece at home! The USPS will then provide a report of opens and click through for the campaign. When using this service, a marketer can drive a response before the mail even arrives in the mailbox – a great ROI advantage! Contact us to learn more about this great offering and the best part is that we can even help you get the campaign set up. The USPS offers postal incentives each year, and there have been a number of postal incentives for Informed Delivery recently, so be sure to check out the incentives as well, to see if you can qualify for a postal discount!

Are you interested in reviewing the case study that we referenced above? Contact us today for a copy! Also, if you are interested in learning how our customers are utilizing variable data to maximize their campaigns, request a sample pack today.

Bio: Melissa Fransen is our Marketing Manager. She started with Nahan in May of 2017. Melissa is responsible for Nahan’s marketing initiatives, which includes everything from conference planning to social media initiatives. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys spending time with her husband and enjoying time in the outdoors with family and friends.