You’re probably familiar with variable data printing, or VDP, already. It’s widely used to customize print pieces without breaking up the total print run into separate smaller projects. Variable data printing is more than a simple mail merge, where a database is used to digitally insert names or addresses, for example, into documents or onto envelopes.
Remember how often the inserted name would be a little off or a random comma would appear where it didn’t belong? VDP goes the distance by offering complete changes in text, layout, and graphics. Advances in technology serve both the data and the digital print side of this equation, resulting in seamless, personalized, sophisticated pieces.
Data is at the heart of variable data printing, setting the rules on how the content or data should be used during printing. Digital printing technology applies these rules while the full run is in motion, keeping the beauty of full color and cost-control in place as well.
Let’s break down the collective pieces in variable data printing to better illustrate what’s at work behind the scenes and how the technology works together.
Database – this is where all the essential data is managed, including but not limited to names, addresses, preferences in color, topics of interest, personal stats, gender, etc. The categories of data are virtually endless yet only those that are relevant to the print piece can be used as needed.
Rules – usage rules are programmed into the database, setting parameters for using each piece of data for each entry in the database.
Content database – a collection of all the individual pieces of content or assets which may be available for use in a particular print piece. This includes images, blocks of copy, titles and headings, charts and graphs, etc.
Layout – this is the framework for how your final piece will look and includes where each selected piece of content will go.
All of the information from the database, rules, content, and layout are used by the VDP application, another piece of software, that tells the digital printer what to output on every individual piece of the total print run. Given the modern computing power available today, variable data printing is a cost effective direct marketing solution.
Using VDP, direct mail is less like a mass-mailing and more like a personal appeal, national campaigns can have a local feel and therefore a greater impact, and a single template can be used to create a near endless number of individual pieces. These are just a few examples, but it’s easy to see the advantages to applying VDP technology and on-demand variable data printing. From cost-savings through efficiencies to customization of graphically-appealing print pieces, variable data printing is an essential tool in today’s marketing mix.
Talk to Rex 3 about variable data printing and how to apply this advanced technology for maximum impact. Imagination Accomplished!