Im Thinking VDP . . . but Wheres the List?
Data segmentation is the key to effective variable data printing and imaging—and VDP is the key to getting your customers' attention. Chances are you've got all the data you need for an effective campaign, but let's talk specifics.
Suppose you've got a conference to promote and the goal is to increase participation (come to think of it, isn't that always the goal?). And suppose you'd like to test a new direct mail package against the control. I'm thinking you need a way to introduce more engaging, relevant, personalized content into the control. I'm thinking color variable data printing. Challenge is: Where's the list?
Audience Targeting and Creative Strategy
Let's say your audience consists of professionals in various industry sectors who have attended your conference in the past. As we devise the creative strategy for a VDP campaign, we begin by thinking about list segments. Variable data printing enables us to grab attention by reflecting such specifics as each prospective attendee's organization or professional background-in other words, geographic and attendee sector data. These details can help us create variable images, personalized salutations, copy, captions and prefilled forms with contact information.
If you think you don't have data, consider segmenting your list by information that is almost certainly in your database:
1. Geographic location
- Fill the invitation with references to workshops that relate directly to the attendee's interest area.
- If it's a local event, consider a map showing how the prospective attendee can get to the meeting.
2. Membership segment or donor contribution history
- Feature testimonials about the conference from previous conference attendees in the same membership sector, or feature workshop sessions designed for that subgroup.
- Consider personalizing images and copy according to a participant's experience in the industry, number of years in business or position in the management hierarchy.
- If you know the sessions a recipient attended in a previous conference, include a reference to that interest in the copy.
- Even the simplest piece of information-a name-can help you select an eye-catching graphic that features the hottest new trend: variable imaging. With this technology, a person's name (or some other variable text) becomes a convincing part of a photograph or vector illustration. For example, how about featuring the member's name prominently on a building sign at a convention center?
4. Purchase history
- If your database contains even one piece of information about a previous purchase your prospect has made, you've got data for a convincing, relevant offer or copy. Make it as simple as recognizing that person as someone familiar with the organization, or develop a set of rules to drive a targeted offer.
5. Social media participation
- Is your prospect active on your organization's Listserv, or is he/she signed up to get Twitter, LinkedIn or group updates from your organization? If so, this is a great cross-promotion opportunity and one to consider featuring in your VDP campaign.
The two case studies below demonstrate more detail on how an alumni foundation and a retailer both used data in their files to drive the creative in their VDP campaigns. As these case studies show, data segments are "in there." When we think creatively about how to talk to each segment in our database, this communication gets more personal, and from there, we can expect better returns.