In a recent post I discussed the influence of internet search on the evolution of variable data print technology. The key takeaway was that increasingly, data collected online or through other sources can be used to deploy highly targeted and customizable print campaigns that are far more effective than the old bulk mail distribution model of decades past.
But talking about how a technology works is not nearly as interesting as looking at the ways it can be applied in the real world.
And variable data print campaigns are a highly effective means to communicate value and build relationships for all types of organizations. In our business we work closely with not-for-profits, B2B sales organizations, franchises and other companies that need to engage with clients at a very personal level.
So here are three industries and how digital variable printing helps them connect, engage and succeed.
Fundraising and not-for-profits
It’s satisfying work for fundraisers because they collect rich data about their donations. Ideally every piece of the donation process is tracked. The donation history is then typically saved in CRM software such as Raiser’s Edge. This helps immensely when it comes time to direct the kinds of messages that are sent out. A great example is a wildlife organization reminding donors of animals in their area they can help by including only images of animals in their eco-zone. Whales for the coastal donors and burrowing owls for the prairies, etc.
Another industry with incredible data just waiting to be used is auto sales. Every purchase includes car type, cost, date of last purchase and credit history. This can drive invitations to come and see new cars and even offer a specific amount for a trade-in with variable photos of suitable cars based upon history and life-cycle of ownership. In effect, auto dealers can predict when customers are likely to be in the market for a vehicle even before the customer is aware – and start the sales process!
Franchises or chains
It can be incredibly expensive to print multiple versions of the same marketing materials. But that cost can be greatly reduced using variable data to switch out and customize content during a single print run. Let’s consider a national chain of retirement homes. They can print invitations directed to seniors and use data to customize the output to display specific locations and images based on geography. The same information can be used to create custom maps and event details on the fly. These same features are also valuable to restaurant chains or other industry with a national footprint that wants to centralize marketing and include custom targeting.
Variable data print is already revolutionizing how brands communicate. And the practical applications for every company as costs continue to decline are just going to explode over the next decade.