VP, IWCO Direct
Our No. 1 critical recommendation for clients using variable data printing is that they must have a relevant message. Many marketers implement various kinds of geographic and demographic segmentation, but fail to make the message relevant to their audience. Second, while many people go to the Nth degree with segmentation, many of our customers tell us that this can bring the law of diminishing returns into effect. It’s possible to spend huge amounts on print by doing more segmentation and adding more revisions and controls and still not get the results you want.
Testing is the starting point and an indispensable part of using VDP, particularly with color digital print. The cost of testing is not as high as it used to be, so marketers should test as many different variables as they can to ensure that the message is accurate. Furthermore, it is the foundational elements of the project – the quality of the data, the offering, the timing and the creative – that will help you discern and establish success.
It also helps to know what you expect and to do some analysis up front to manage these expectations. Record the rate of response by phone, mail, e-mail and personalized URL to make sure the customer has the opportunity to respond with the best data. Give consumers a code they can reference when they call in to give them a sense that your offer is special and personal.
Going back to the basic elements, marketers should use a scientific cycle of testing, launching and constant refining, particularly if they have an ongoing or trigger campaign. Refine the message and alter the creative, as well as the offering and the timing. Ask yourself, “Was the piece persuasive? Did we miss our window or get the timing wrong? Did we address the pain points of the consumer?” Going through a constant cycle of multiwave mailings is a good way to check that your timing was right.