Preparing Data for a VDP Campaign
After several years of reading about variable data printing (VDP), and having received your own fair share of customized direct mail pieces, you’ve decided to try it.
Perhaps your marketing staff includes a copywriter and a graphic designer, so you’re not worried about the creative. However, what you’re not so sure about is your database, the storehouse of variable elements you’ll need for your campaign. Do you have the right data? Is it in the right format to take advantage of a fully customized VDP campaign?
Regardless of whether your vendor is an in-house printer or an outside direct mail marketing company, you’ll need to partner closely and be able to supply the variable text and images that will make for a successful campaign. How do you get to that point? The key to your success depends on what’s inside your database.
First, think strategically about your VDP campaign goals and then determine what data and images are necessary to achieve them. Let’s look at Around the World Travel, a fictional travel company that wanted its existing customers to book another vacation.
Around the World received three attractive springtime vacation offers from three cruise lines: a medium-priced offer for a four-day Bahamas vacation from a cruise line that caters to families with young children; a high-end offer for a two-week Mediterranean cruise with all the amenities a wealthy, retired or empty-nester couple could desire; and an inexpensive week-long Caribbean cruise for budget-minded adults. With such distinctly different audiences, price points and locales, Around the World had two options: Prepare several different marketing pieces requiring separate print runs or use VDP to produce a single campaign with a vast range of offerings.
Around the World opted for VDP, and started the process by gathering its marketing team to examine the data elements available in its customer database. The team decided to pull data on each customer’s most recently booked vacation including: the amount of money spent, length, number of people in the party, how many adults and how many children, travelers’ ages, how far ahead of time the vacation was booked, and whether it was a land or cruise vacation.