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Variable Data Gets the Nod from Catalogers

Clearly, it's ROI. Hence, not only does this say a lot about the growing influence of variable data printed marketing materials, it suggests to me that VDP is about to bloom outwards in other key areas that have been hesitant to adopt. That includes marketing collateral for sure, but I'm also watching for tailored informational material like newsletters, conference schedules, educational curricula, possibly even municipal or county notices targeted to specific residences.

Doc has been saying for years that variable-data printing (VDP) is one of the best and most effective ways to communicate with customers. Using VDP it's now possible to customize messaging to individual customers based on the knowledge you have about them. That builds loyalty and results.

Thanks to Nancy Scott over at Digital Nirvana, I was turned on to a series of free surveys available from Multichannel Merchant, which include outlook reports on catalogs, eCommerce, marketing, and operations/fulfillment.

What intrigued Nancy about the catalog report was the merchants' embrace of variable data printing.

Only 28% of catalogers surveyed in early 2010 said they were using variable printing to customize catalogs, but 35% say they plan to create customized catalogs for specific customer segments in the next 12 months. Another 29% are considering it. That's a boost from 49% using or considering VDP in 2010, to 63% saying VDP is in their plans or on their radar for the coming 12 months.

Multichannel Merchant Editor-in-Chief Melissa Dowling who authored MCM Outlook 2010, says, "This is encouraging, since variable data printing has been slow to catch on." She adds, "Even though costs have come down significantly in recent years, most mailers feel the technology is still too expensive—particularly dur¬ing the harsh recession. But then, experts say that the returns are much higher with VDP vs. a static print job, especially the more personalized a mail piece is."

Clearly, it's ROI. Hence, not only does this say a lot about the growing influence of variable data printed marketing materials, it suggests to me that VDP is about to bloom outwards in other key areas that have been hesitant to adopt. That includes marketing collateral for sure, but I'm also watching for tailored informational material like newsletters, conference schedules, educational curricula, possibly even municipal or county notices targeted to specific residences.

All four of the MCM reports are worth checking out, and Doc wants to know, are you using VDP to communicate with your customers?