Production: Foundation for Automation
Mainstream direct marketing finally has discovered full-color, variable digital print. The volume of full-color digital print continues to jump and has become the fastest-growing direct marketing medium. The reason for its growth is no secret to firms that are driven by results. Variable targeted content increases response rates and gives marketers tremendous flexibility in changing messaging and creative to match the marketing opportunity.
While more marketers are using full-color VDP for trigger acquisition and loyalty programs, many still struggle to implement anything more complex than postcard campaigns. These marketers are not realizing the great benefits of this emerging technology because of the requirements for setting up these programs. The biggest stumbling block is the unfamiliarity with what is required to create and implement them.
With the right partner and maybe a slight reorganization to the marketing team, anyone can take advantage of this growing application. By understanding a few top-line concepts about VDP program development and setup, you can establish a foundation that allows full utilization of VDP in varying content and leads to lower costs for ongoing program management.
Right-Brain/Left-Brain Development Strategy
The easiest way to explain the workflow for sophisticated trigger-based VDP programs is to use the right-brain/left-brain analogy. This is easier for direct marketers to understand since they constantly have to balance the concept of keeping the creative team, brand marketers and account services people (right brain) in concert with the data services, analytics and production support teams (left brain) to be successful. Both sides of the marketing organization must be utilized to be successful, but their processes, motivations and methodologies could not be more different. The key is to understand the differences of the groups and then develop processes that call on their strengths without wasting time on areas of non-interest and non-impact.
Prior to program kickoff, both teams should have a thorough understanding of the program and its objectives. A top-line understanding of the program will help the teams during development and allow them to focus on their areas of responsibility without losing sight of the other’s goals.