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.