Personalization is one of direct mail’s oldest techniques, but with variable data printing, inline printing and pURLs, it’s more than successfully reinvented itself. According to marketers, that reinvention is not yet complete, as personalization will continue to be used in new ways and with new formats in the future.
1. More postcards
“I’m seeing a tremendous growth in postcards. Personalization has been used in letters for a long time, but black-and-white delivery is not very effective,” says Bart Foreman, president of Group 3 Marketing, a relationship marketing company based in Wayzata, Minn. He’s also seeing it in brochures and specialized pieces in the B-to-B sector.
2. Better data
“As the household data becomes more and more available, we’re going to see the ability to use VDP for prospecting versus communication to clients that we’ve already gathered data on,” predicts Keith Goodman, vice president of corporate solutions for Modern Postcard, based in Carlsbad, Calif. He explains that once you have the data, you can have as many as 300 variable data elements on a document; then you can easily swap out imagery, copy, hard numerical data, financial data, historical purchase data, etc., that makes sense for that mailing.
3. Superior testing
Obviously, testing really changes the mailings and controls. In the past, it followed the A/B design. With VDP, testing suddenly can become very advanced. “Before, it was, ‘We’re going to test two different colors.’ Now, you can have 200 test cells in one mailing,” relates Goodman, who says it also creates a different way to test. You can test different messages, for example, but also test a generic version versus a VDP version, just to make sure the extra money spent on VDP is worth it.