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I Want to Use Variable Data Printing… Now What?

Variable Data Printing

Variable Data Printing



In a previous blog post, we talked about the many benefits of using variable data printing, or VDP, for your next marketing campaign. Once you’ve chosen the perfect printer, ­ there’s a lot of design work that goes into creating the perfect VDP piece. Here are some helpful hints we’ve come across over the years:

Know what you want. Just like with any other advertising campaign, you need a clearly defined goal in order to get the most out of your VDP. VDP is typically more narrowly targeted, so you should be able to measure whether your call to action is successful.

Remember… Niche is good. There’s little point in personalizing marketing pieces for customers who do not necessarily need your product… it’ll likely just end up in the recycling bin. Take the time to find contact info for prospective buyers that will find your company relevant at this time. “Selling ice to an Eskimo” in many cases will just leave you in the cold… and waste your advertising funds.

Offer something they care about. Remember that you can personalize more than just your customer’s name… consider varying offers that you send to a specific region. For example, a fitness center could offer discounted in-house childcare on postcards being sent to young suburban neighborhoods, and discounted group exercise sessions to a college campus.

Collect data for later. VDP offers the option of tracking and monitoring response rates. Companies can now analyze this info and send subsequent pieces that are even more relevant to their customers. A great example is catalog retailer, Fingerhut, who logs information about what products an individual customer purchases. The then take this data, analyze buying habits, and send that customer one of 25 different catalogs the next month, depending on her taste.

Seven Ways Your Company Can Use QR Codes

Phone/QR Code

QR codes are gaining popularity quickly; according to a recent study by Baltimore advertising agency MGH, about 72% of smart phone users say they would be likely to recall an advertisement that contained a QR code.

A variety of businesses are taking advantage of this edgy technology… we’ve seen QR codes on Macy’s television commercials, Disney’s billboards, and a university’s admissions materials, just to name a few. We recently came across a unique example of QR usage in the healthcare industry. Middle Tennessee Medical Center in Murfreesboro, TN launched a campaign with QR codes in the corner of their print advertisements. The code invited people to “experience” the hospitals new facilities and led them to a video of the new TV campaign. See the ad for yourself here.

We brainstormed a list of some other specific ways QR codes can be used in your industry:



  1. Place QR codes at different locations in the building that guide visitors around the campus with a web-based map.

  2. Print codes on laminated lobby cards and link them to an online customer satisfaction survey.

  3. Host redirected URL’s posted on different publication ads to measure which ads get the highest response rates.

  4. Print codes on brochures with links to “how to” videos or instructions.

  5. Put QR codes on “dated” pieces so customers can stay up-to-date about info that changes frequently.

  6. Include QR codes on your business cards and link them to your LinkedIn account, or your company’s “about us” website page.

  7. Use a personalized QR code, or a PURL, to track a fundraising mailing or survey responses.


Personalize Messaging with Variable Print

Hey, you! When’s the last time a generic greeting caught your attention more than hearing your own name? We can’t think of one either. Whether you’re walking down the street or planning a marketing campaign – people like personalization.

Why not tailor your communication techniques so they’re unique for each of your customers? Variable printing is more effective at prompting your reader to take action and can be printed on coupons, brochures, direct mail and more! Instead of sending out 1,000 identical mailings to your customer contact list, (we’ve heard it called “spraying and praying,”) send one mailing inviting James or Jennifer by name to check out your new inventory, or ask a customer if they need your services in their home at 14 Front Street.

You can customize prints with a variety of different things, but the most common ones businesses request are customers’ names, purchase history, demographics, and geography. You could even include a customized map that shows your customer exactly how to get to your business from their home – these direct mail pieces have been shown to generate a 40% higher response. Here are some examples of variable printing pieces:

Variable Print Examples


Another way to create a customized experience for your customer is to include a pURL, or a personalized page that’s a part of your website. pURLS have some of the same fun, interactive elementthat we talked about with QR Codes in an earlier blog post. Directing a respondent to a pURL makes it possible to track responses, giving you a way to measure the response rate and success of a mailing.


There are many ways variable printing and/or a personalized URL can be integrated into your next marketing campaign. Contact us today for ideas on how to take your campaign to the next level.