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The Power of Variable Data Printing: Personalization that Packs a Punch!

power of variable data printing

The Power of Variable Data Printing: Personalization that Packs a Punch!


Variable data printing, ever heard of it? Maybe not, but you have likely received materials specifically geared toward you as a customer. For example, my grocery store sends me coupons on the items I buy regularly and mailers with QR codes with offerings specific to my shopping needs. Some kind of magic 8 ball they have…. or do they? Today we’re diving into this incredible variable data printing tool that can take your marketing to a whole new level. Variable data printing allows you to create personalized print materials that not only catch your audience’s attention but also increase customer engagement and response rates. So, let’s buckle up and explore why variable data printing should be your secret weapon in the world of marketing.


Why Use Variable Data Printing?


Imagine receiving a piece of mail that addresses you by name and offers products or services tailored specifically to your interests. Sounds pretty cool, right? That’s the power of variable data printing. By using this technique, you can increase personalization and relevancy in your print materials, ensuring that your message resonates with your audience. When people feel that you understand their needs and preferences, they are more likely to engage with your brand and respond positively to your call to action. And let’s not forget the impact this has on your marketing return on investment (ROI). If you are more targeted with who you are sending materials, you’ll waste fewer resources since you’ll be talking to your people. With higher response rates and increased customer engagement, variable data printing helps you get the most bang for your marketing buck.


How to Use Variable Data Printing


Now that we’ve piqued your interest, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of using variable data printing. To ensure success, you’ll need to plan your project, create an eye-catching design, connect your data source, and, of course, test and track your campaign. Here’s a breakdown of the steps involved:


Plan Your Project

First things first, define your target audience and desired message. Understand who you’re trying to reach and what you want to say to them. This will guide your entire variable data printing campaign. Once you have your audience and message in mind, it’s time to determine the data variables to use. These variables can range from simple personalization elements like names and addresses to more complex demographic or behavioral information. The key is to choose variables that will enhance your message’s relevancy and resonance with your audience.


Create Your Design

Now comes the fun part – designing your print materials! Choose a layout and design elements that line up with your brand identity and capture your audience’s attention. With variable data printing, you can easily incorporate personalized elements into your design, such as customized images, offers, or even individualized QR codes. Set up the variable data fields in your design software, ensuring they correspond to the data variables you’ve chosen.


Connect Your Data Source

Time to bring in the data! Yeah, it is a little technical but not as difficult as it may sound. Import your data, whether it’s a spreadsheet or a database, into your design software. Then, link the variable data fields in your design to the corresponding fields. This connection allows your design software to pull the personalized information from your data source and merge it seamlessly into your print materials.


Preview and Test

Before sending your materials off to print, it’s crucial to preview them and ensure accuracy and consistency. Take the time to review each variable field and ensure it displays correctly. Additionally, test your materials on different devices and paper types to ensure they look great across various mediums. This step will save you from potential mishaps and guarantee that your print materials are top-notch.


Print and Track

Finally, it’s time to hit that print button! Once your materials are out in the world, be sure to track response rates. This data will provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of your variable data printing campaign. Don’t be afraid to adjust your strategy based on the results to maximize your success.


Resources for VDP


Let’s explore some valuable resources to help you dive into the world of variable data printing:


  1. Design Software Programs: There are several design software programs available that support variable data printing. Some popular options include Adobe InDesign, XMPie, and Pageflex. These tools provide intuitive interfaces and robust features that make incorporating variable data into your designs a breeze. Choose the software that aligns with your needs and budget to unlock the full potential of variable data printing.

  2. Printing Companies: This method is totally doable on your own with your own printer. However, if you’re looking to outsource your variable data printing needs, many printing companies specialize in this service. They have the expertise and technology to handle the complexity of merging data and designs seamlessly. A notable printing company that offers variable data printing services is AlphaGraphics. Take the time to research and find a reliable partner who can bring your variable data printing dreams to life.

If you’re pondering whether variable print services are worth incorporating into your marketing arsenal, let me present a compelling case study for your consideration:


Let’s take a look at Valvoline, a renowned producer of automotive and industrial products and services. Valvoline leveraged the power of variable data printing to create personalized postcards. These postcards included a unique URL tailored to each customer, allowing them to access targeted offers and participate in a survey to gather essential information about their needs. Valvoline’s goal was to engage with DIYers located around O’Reilly Auto Parts stores across the United States. A staggering total of 330,471 postcards were mailed out as part of this campaign. The results were nothing short of remarkable. The personalized URLs generated an impressive response rate of 6.1%. Additionally, in-store coupon redemptions reached an impressive 7.9%. To put these numbers into perspective, the average response rate for mailers typically hovers around 2-5%. Getting a response rate of 6-8% is an achievement, highlighting the effectiveness of Valvoline’s personalized URL marketing efforts. Valvoline’s success didn’t go unnoticed. Their exceptional campaign earned them the prestigious Marketing Vendor of the Year Award, particularly for their outstanding efforts in driving sales and the Personalized URL marketing initiative was specifically commended for its exceptional results. By leveraging personalized postcards and unique URLs, Valvoline achieved extraordinary response rates and successfully tapped into an untapped market segment.


So, if you’re considering incorporating variable print services into your marketing strategy, take inspiration from Valvoline’s success. By personalizing your materials and using targeted approaches, you too can unlock higher response rates and make a significant impact in your industry.


Variable data printing opens up a world of possibilities in the realm of print marketing. By personalizing your materials and connecting with your audience on an individual level, you can enhance customer engagement, boost response rates, and ultimately achieve a higher return on investment. The key lies in proper planning, design, and data source connections. Remember to define your target audience, select relevant data variables, create captivating designs, connect your data source, and track your campaign’s success. With the right resources and strategic implementation, variable data printing can become a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal. So, go ahead, embrace the power of personalization, and let your print materials leave a lasting impression on your audience. Happy printing!


For more on print marketing materials, check out this post on Must Have Marketing Materials!

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