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Most of us are bombarded daily with thousands of marketing messages. Our phones, computers, televisions, social media channels, radios, and emails continuously clamor for our attention with promotional hits.

A marketer trying to cut through the noise faces almost impossible odds. The good news is that one of the most effective tools for bolstering engagement and response is individualized marketing through variable data printing. The most effective marketing is for an audience of one and leading-edge marketers increasingly use variable data printing (VDP) to ensure their client’s messages are heard.

For printers, this represents a big and profitable opportunity. Our eBook from Gimbel and Associates, A Printer’s Perspective & Guide to Digital Printing and Variable Data, is a thorough and in-depth source for helping printers transition to this business model. You can download it for free.

What is Individualized Marketing?

Each piece in an individualized print program is different and geared to the unique needs and preferences of the target client. By varying text, photos, design, offers, and colors, individualized marketing is almost as good as an in-person sales call.

For printers, the advantages of offering individualized marketing are compelling. In a word, it creates profitable revenue streams that are simply not available in the offset market. Variable communication produces response rates up to 600% higher than traditional printing, lowers cost per acquisition, and generates much higher ROI. When you offer this service, you can charge a higher price per piece and enjoy higher margins.

VDP is also an opportunity for printers to position themselves as solution providers rather than simple output facilities. Services that go hand in hand with variable printing include web hosting, database management, fulfillment, electronic communications, and multi-channel marketing execution. This strategy is ready-made to boost revenue. It also helps to secure more business from existing clients and frees up the time and expense of pursuing new business.

How to Transition to this Business Model

Individualized marketing is more complex than an offset workflow and it’s best to consider all the elements working back from the finished product.

A mailing house that knows how to handle variable print jobs, can maintain integrity of every piece, and can track each piece is crucial to the success of any campaign.

Equipment requires critical assessment. Choosing the most advanced print engine is probably the best choice, but many options exist: continuous feed or sheet to sheet, inkjet or toner, four or six colors? Equally important is finding the finishing options capable of keeping up with the presses without creating bottlenecks. At the front end, a raster image processor (RIP) must process information fast enough to keep the print engine running at its rated speed.

The same applies to software. Systems must process the database and the variable images, but it may be necessary to tie them into CRM or MIS programs for efficient management.

Other considerations include setting up a PDF workflow that integrates several process steps, including preflight, imposition, and picture replacement. Ensure the shop is JDF compliant so all equipment functions seamlessly together.

Consult with experts who can help cut through the clutter and identify equipment and software that performs best for the work being produced.

Lastly, printers that set themselves up as solution providers may need to bring in partners with expertise in direct marketing, creative design, campaign management, and other skills. They can share in this revenue as well.

Adopting to a new business model is not always easy, but with the right experts in your corner, the process becomes much more manageable and effective. Our book is a great place to begin your journey to individualized marketing.

The eBook discusses the advantages of digital printing — in particular, how this technology allows printers to produce data-driven, personalized materials that greatly improve the performance of marketing communications. The book includes an overview of variable data printing, a glossary of terms, and a special “Printers Perspective” section that addresses the questions on the minds of print industry executives. This 50-plus page resource is available to print professionals at no charge.

Author: Gimbel

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