The 40/40/20 Rule developed by direct marketing pioneer Ed Mayer states that 40 percent of a direct marketing campaign’s success is attributable to the list (the offer comprises another 40 percent, and creative effort the final 20 percent). The rise of variable data printing technology within the industry adds a tempting corollary: List plus creative plus offer equals more than the sum of the parts.
VDP technology is true one-to-one direct mail marketing. Also known as variable-information printing or variable-data personalization, VDP takes elements such as text, graphics, and images and marries them on a single, printed piece. It then allows one, two or all elements to change from one printed piece to the next without stopping or slowing down the production process. The information used to personalize each printed piece comes from a database or external file.
In a marketplace hungry for personal satisfaction, VDP-produced direct mail suggests such advantages as higher response rates, optimal connection with subjects, speedy response time, higher average-order, greater participation and higher conversion, reduced customer service complaints, deeper understanding of product and service benefits, and increased sales.
Before the recession hit, some experts were estimating that VDP could produce from double to 10 or 15 times the ROI of standard direct mail. In an exacting economic climate, such ROI may be considerably optimistic, but relative to other print technologies, VDP has yet to fully flex its muscles. Still, examples of campaigns that produce dramatic results are available.
Creative possibilities continue to characterize a VDP appeal. Everything can be personalized: colors, maps, messages, coupons, website landing pages - even images. And that’s where your imagination and creativity can make the difference.
If you're interested in learning how to get started, just download our latest resource below, Tailoring Your Messages: A Guide to One-on-One Direct Mail Marketing.