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Variable Data Printing – The new success mantra for marketers and print service providers

Variable Data Printing is surely a big thing out in the market, for printing industry as well as for marketers. It allows marketers to send “extremely personalized” marketing messages to the target group. With information overload these days and availability of so many online platforms to reach audience, personalization plays key role in successful marketing efforts.


Being a marketer in Web to Print Solutions industry, I understand what it takes to have VDP services for Printers and their end clients, Marketers. Let’ talk in some more detail about what VDP is all about?

Close-up to Variable Data Printing

Variable data printing is a form of digital printing, including on-demand printing, in which based on an artwork design template with well defined variable data rules, some of its elements such as text, graphics and images may be changed from one printed piece to the next, without stopping or slowing down the printing process and using information from a database or external file. For example, a set of personalized greeting, each with the same basic layout, can be printed with a different name and address on each letter. It is an ideal solution for direct mailing, promotional flyers, event promotions, or any other type of product where you want to speak directly to your customer and each piece can look as if it’s been expressly designed and printed for a single person.

Variable Data Printing: Growing Worldwide

1. VDP usage is on an upward growth path. In 2012, it accounted for 656.76 billion printed sheets, according to a Smithers Pira report, The Future of Variable Data Printing to 2017. That figure is expected to grow to 853.1 billion sheets by 2017.
2. North America and Western Europe, which are experiencing robust digital print growth, are producing the highest VDP volumes.
3. The business opportunity for VDP is greatest for direct mail printing, from 264 billion A4 (8.3 x 11.7) sheets (or equivalent) in 2012 and growing about 19% overall through 2017.
4. With annual growth rates for digital output up to 20% in emerging markets – Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Latin America – one can expect a healthy rise in VDP volumes
(Source – Landanano)

Why VDP holds importance?

Personalized emails deliver six times higher transaction rates, but 70% of brands fail to use them.

60% of marketers struggle to personalize content in real time, yet 77% believe real-time personalization is crucial. For 66% of marketers, one of the big struggles with personalization is securing internal resources to execute personalized marketing programs.
(Source – CMO)

This gap is now being filled by Print Service Providers who are offering VDP solutions to their clients. They help in designing personalized communications for marketers without slowing down the printing process.

How VDP Works?

Variable Data Printing works by picking up different text, graphics or images from a database or external storage to be printed using a common artwork design template, based on rules set-up in VDP software. Rules vary from simple to complex based on regular workflow printer receives from their clients and their expertise in VDP offering.

VDP works in quite a different ways depending on the complexities or variants of data marketers need to offer in their communications:

1. Mail Merge – It is the simplest form when one needs to alter name and address fields only.
2. Versioning – This implies creating different versions of the same messages and sending them across to the target audience. This helps in assessing which marketing collateral version is performing better among all.
3. Customization – This type of VDP can be categorized as complex VDP. It includes creating groups of target audiences based on their interest, age, demographics and then targeting them based on that. It creates versions of the same marketing collateral based on groups of the target audiences.
4. Personalization – Personalized messages are designed on an individual basis for each customer. With VDP, it is possible to create thousands of personalized emails with specific messages altering text, images or graphics.

Some frequent examples where VDP is used by marketers are

• Numbering vouchers
• Adding codes and sequence numbers to pre-printed sheets
• Raffle tickets – ask about our pre-filled version
• Alphanumeric number generation and printing
• Dinner and dance tickets
• Vouchers and coupons
• Car park tickets
• Simple and complex direct mails
• Personalized booklets and manuals

Who should care about VDP and Why?

Variable Data Printing has two parties involved – the Print Specifiers and the Print Providers. Print Specifiers can be the marketing department of corporate firms, marketing consultants and advertising agencies. Print Providers are printing agencies or trade printers or print brokers or consultants who fulfill printing requirements of print specifiers.

Benefits of using VDP for Print Specifiers

1. Offer personalized marketing – As we discussed earlier, VDP holds importance because of its capability to offer personalization. Personalized marketing campaigns are observed to have higher ROI than generic campaigns. Options of varying images, colors, forms, font types, and other elements produce groundbreaking results in customer attention and awareness about the brand.

2. VDP supports multi-channel experience – A personalized mailer delivered via post will definitely catch the audience attention and they will resort to an online platform to connect to your company.

3. Better targeted communications – By using a profound database and targeting them to the relevant audience gives print specifiers or marketing organizations better-targeted communications for their brand or campaign.

The above points cover the broad benefits of using VDP. Besides that, high ROI on a marketing campaign, customer loyalty, and satisfaction, brand recall with extreme personalized things are some of the underlying benefits.

Benefits of using VDP for Print Providers

1. Adding services to their portfolio – Customers always prefer one-stop solutions under one roof. With VDP, Printers can provide services such as specialized design services, managing cross-channel media production for clients, tracking and monitoring the targeted campaign from one single channel. This will enable customer retention and more services in their portfolio.

2. Value-Based Pricing – Printers using VDP can charge customers based on values they are adding at each level in managing their marketing communications. This will result in gaining more profits and more sales with cross-selling of services.

Design’N’Buy is equipped to help you distinguish your company from the competition with this exciting technology. Please contact a DNB representative for more information about our Variable Data Printing solutions at – marketing@designnbuy.com


Nidhi Agarwal
Nidhi Agarwal

Nidhi, a visionary with 10+ year of experience, is profound business acumen and a management capability backed by strong technological background. She plays a strategic role in the company defining the road map for all innovations & her comprehensive problem solving skills have led to many successful online print businesses. Known for her hands-on approach, Nidhi’s leadership style and her journey so far has been commended at many renowned platforms.

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