Gone are the days of the printing press that required plates to be created for each and every item printed. That process, while revolutionary in its day, made it nearly impossible and very expensive to use variable data. Today, thanks to advances in technology have made variable printing as easy as using “mail merge” in a word processor. Variable data has been around for quite a while, but technology has made it easier than ever before to integrate it into direct mail. Personalizing a mail piece makes it a more relevant experience for the customer, which translates into more sales and responses.
Using variable data in direct mail delivers a bigger impact to your customers, resulting in a more effective and valued exchange of information. Variable data is information that you might prefer to change based on who exactly is viewing the mailing piece. For example, a mailing piece sent to young, single customers might be different than a piece that you send to married customers with children. Large companies with many store locations can choose to include the address and phone number of the most convenient store for each customer. This information, data that changes based on who is viewing the material, is what we call variable data.
Variable data is great for many reasons, but you must take care when using it to avoid crossing personal boundaries with customers. According to a recent study by Ipso, the majority of Americans, 68 percent, feel uneasy about having their online activity tracked. Although it is a fact that variable data gives a higher response rate for the resources invested in it compared to more generic pieces, there is a point where too much personalization can make a customer feel spied on and have a negative experience with the mail piece.
Transitioning from static direct mail to variable mail is a way that we can help a business stay ahead of the competition. According to data from Cap Ventures, variable data printing allows even the smallest business to compete with Fortune 500 businesses because, when properly executed, it can return up to 30 times the ROI of a static piece.
Technology has made integrating variable data into mail pieces easy, and Click2Mail makes direct mail easy! Over the next three months, we will be talking more about the value of variable data and planning a variable data campaign, including outlining your goals, deciding who exactly you are targeting, how you will measure success, and where you find the data in the first place.