Special Report - Direct Mail Technology: 3 Important Ways Print Is Transforming Direct Mail
The primary force driving many of these direct mail technologies is the need to create one-to-one interactions with customers, rather than implementing a one-size-fits-all campaign approach that is often seen with traditional offset printing.
Historically, brands have utilized traditional printing presses, which are used by vendors who print and then personalize (basically adding the recipient name and address). We're now witnessing a migration away from these mass mailings, toward more dynamic personalization—far beyond simple messaging and versioning.
According to eMarketer, 330,000 traditional printing presses have been removed from the market during the last decade. Meanwhile, digital printing is growing dramatically around the globe. In North America, digital color page volumes grew by an estimated 146 billion pages in 2012, while in Western Europe volumes reached 100 billion pages, according to Carlson.
Luckily for brands and consumers alike, variable data printing (VDP) can be leveraged by smart and innovative direct marketers. Variable digital printing enables the creation of relevant communications by leveraging triggers that are based on consumer data.
Designed for Big Data
Effective VDP begins with analytic modeling that identifies customers who are most likely to purchase, along with other triggers in the customer lifestyle. This information is entered into the digital workflow. Then, similar to email marketing, wireframes are developed using a standard composition tool.
The data is then mapped onto the document field-by-field. Conditional processing, meaning logic, is used to drive content based on values in the data. It is used to determine the appropriate messaging and creative content. This means a brand can ultimately produce thousands of versions for the same campaign, all designed with the individual recipient in mind.
For example, if a retailer wants to send an acquisition campaign to those who have recently opted in to receive direct mail offers from them, that printer may utilize data in the digital work flow, such as last item purchased, age, gender, physical location and how the purchase was made (in-store, online or via direct mail catalog). These attributes can determine the copy, creative, offer type and nearest store information to be used for the tailored direct mail piece.
Pat McGrew, M-EDP, CMP is the Director and Evangelist for the Production Workflow Service at InfoTrends. As an analyst and industry educator, McGrew works with InfoTrends customers and its clients to promote workflow effectiveness. She also has a background in data-driven customer communication, and production printing with offset, inkjet, and toner. Co-author of eight industry books, editor of "A Guide to the Electronic Document Body of Knowledge," and regular writer in the industry trade press, McGrew won the 2014 #GirlsWhoPrint Girlie Award for her dedication to education and communication in the industry, and the 2016 Brian Platte Lifetime Achievement Award from Xplor International. Find Pat on Twitter as @PatMcGrew and LinkedIn.