Marketers confess their amazement at direct mail’s continuing relevance in the Internet era, when email and social media should have killed it off. However, a survey by market research firms has shown that a majority of adults over the age of thirty prefers direct mail more than any other marketing medium. And here’s a blow to email marketing, a significant number of respondents revealed they did not read all the emails sent to them because of the sheer volume.
With the bulk of correspondence shifting to email, postal deliveries have declined considerably. This makes direct mail all the more relevant because recipients are now more likely to engage with direct mail, rather than junk it outright. So the challenge is now to catch and hold attention by tweaking the marketing material. Marketing surveys hold a clue to one piece of the puzzle: most respondents preferred personalized mail over generic unaddressed letters. Variable data printing lets you customize print pieces by adding text and image elements to a pre-designed template without slowing down the printing process. The simplest form is mail merging, where names and addresses from a mailing list can be added to letters at the printing stage, or by completely changing the design layout based on the recipient’s profile. Let’s see what benefits you can get from variable printing services for your campaign.
Personalization is Appealing
As we said, recipients prefer personalized direct mail (www.wisegeek.org/what-is-direct-mail.htm). Personalized mail also sets your communication apart from the myriad marketing messages that a typical consumer is bombarded with each day. Variable data printing lets marketers try out innovations that boost their appeal, say by including a mocked up check with the recipient’s name on it in a handwritten font to signify the amount of cash they could get back by using the advertised services.
Improve Your Brand’s Visibility Factor
Marketers also have to account for the impact of their campaign for their brand. Consumers would react more to a brand that they feel has a responsive and fluid identity, rather than staying staid and unchanging. If businesses are in a crowded field with multiple competitors, distinctive marketing is needed to attract more customers. Marketers can make use of more colors and images that appeal to the recipient in their marketing material.
Connect with the Recipient
When direct mail accounts for the customer’s personal preferences, it can create a powerful call to action even before the recipients go through the mail. Especially, if a business offers a niche service, variable data printing lets them target their core user base. A sports merchandise shop can hook motor racing fans with a background image of a NASCAR race on their flyers, while baseball fans would be attracted to a layout that evokes a baseball field. They would feel interested to go through the mail. Businesses can also retain customers with the targeted communication offered by variable data printing.
Save Time and Money
Marketers only have to print as many pieces as the names on their list without compromising on the quality that is accepted with offset printing. This helps advertisers get stronger responses with a smaller campaign, as compared to a typical direct marketing campaign. These benefits outweigh the cost difference between conventional offset printing and variable data printing. Ask for a printing service that also provides peel and stick labels rather than auto-stamped labels for added personalization.
Find Out What Works
One effective way to increase direct mail’s impact is to test different variants and measure responses. With variable data printing, you have the option to test different layouts on sub-sections of your mailing list and gauge the impact before starting with your full campaign. One way to track responses by adding different response codes to different letters which recipients must quote when they respond.Obviously, the codes that gets cited the most points to the material which has been most successful in connecting with recipients. This helps businesses gauge the Return of Investment for their campaign.
Businesses don’t have to use variable data printing only for their direct marketing. Most communication to your regular customers, say for renewal reminders and invoices can be customized with variable data printing. The process is a good fit for high value businesses looking to stand out in crowded fields.
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