In today’s competitive market, buzzwords are thrown around like candy. The question that needs to be asked is whether the vendor you’re considering working with knows what those buzzwords really mean and whether they can implement them and get you the product you expect at the price they promised. One of the buzzwords du jour in the printing industry is something called “Variable Data Printing.”
VDP? That rather sounds like something a doctor would speak gravely about. It’s not, however. It’s really about the coolest thing to hit printing since Gutenberg! Picture yourself considering a trip to Disney World. You go through the miscellaneous questions to request information, and they tell you they’ll send you some custom park maps with your favorite ride highlighted. Big deal, you think. They’ve got maybe five versions of the map printed and they’ll pick the one that’s closest to your needs and send it to you.
Not so fast. Once you submit your information to a company like that, they do, in fact, identify your favorite rides. Then, they fill in your name and address to a database, maybe along with a warm fuzzy welcome message. They circle the rides you’ve indicated an interest in. There might also be arrows printed on the map indicating the most efficient route from the gate to all the rides you have any interest in, skipping things you’re not crazy about, and (of course) passing by concession stands and such along the way.
How do they do that? They can’t possible have preprinted maps with every possible permutation. 300 million people in America means 300 million permutations. That’s simply not possible. There are two very simple answers. The first, of course, is Disney Magic. But if we note that the folks at Six Flags can do the exact same thing, then we can eliminate magic as an answer.
The real answer is actually far more interesting than printing magic. Until recently, printing was a static concept. You did layout, designed everything, and committed it to the print vendor while holding your breath and hoping that it would be right for the majority of your customers. That era is gone like the swamps of Florida on which theme parks are built.
Do you remember “mail merge” in MicroSoft Works, circa 1992? You’d put «fields» in your text, hope you got the capitalization and such correct in the field name, hope everything was correct in the database, and press print. At least 50% of the time, something would go wrong and your letter would look like this:
Dear «first name>:
Thank you for your recent <transaction» with «storename». It’s come to our attention that you feel «emotion» about your experience with «guywhoworksforus»…
Because the mail merge didn’t quite work right.
Those days, too, are gone. Not only can you add in fields to something that’s being printed in quantity, and have it mailed directly from the print shop, but Variable Data Printing enables you to add in appropriate graphics and images based on the rest of the document!
If, for example. you’re a hospital, you could print a capital campaign brochure that had a picture of a child with cancer for those who have used your childrens’ hospital wing, and a brochure with positive images of end-of-life care for those donors you know have lost a loved one to age-related issues. The document can be further personalized with information specific to the potential donor. Anything and everything you know about the donor can be leveraged to drastically increase the rate of return.
The best thing of all about Variable Data Printing for capital campaigns is that it doesn’t necessarily make a huge change in the cost of printing and mailing. Every single document you send can be individualized precisely to the recipient. ROI is increased, statistics look better, and you as an employee look better. Variable Data Printing for capital campaigns is the perfect storm of revenue generation. Contact PrintFarm.Com today to see how we can help your institution generate revenue in ways you never imagined through Variable Data Printing and mailing services!