BFC – Variable Data Print
Variable Data Print – also referred to as variable information printing or variable imaging – is an innovative type of digital printing performed at BFC where elements like words, graphics and pictures can be altered from one individual produced piece to another without the need to decrease the speed of the printing process and with the benefit of utilizing information from databases or outside files.
Variable Data Print
As an example, a set of individualized letters that each have the same standard layout could be printed with a different name and address on each one. Variable Data Printing is mostly used for direct marketing, customer care management, invoicing and marketing.
Variable Data Print is a primary extension of digital printing, which uses databases, digital print devices and software to make full color documents with a look comparable to traditional printing. Variable Data Print permits the modification of documents through digital print technology, rather than the “mass-producing” of merely one document using offset lithography. Rather than making five thousand copies of one document to deliver your brand’s message to five thousand customers, Variable Data Print makes it possible to print five thousand different documents with messages tailor-made to each customer! This effective technique provides an efficient tool for increasing the return on your investment for advertising and marketing campaigns.
There are many levels of Variable Data Print. The most fundamental involves altering the greeting or name on every copy similar to mail merge. More advanced Variable Data Print uses varying amounts of customization for different target markets with text and images changed for groups of addresses based on which market sector is being targeted. Lastly, there is full variability printing, where text and images can be changed for every individual address.
Standard Design – BFC Variable Data Print
All Variable Data Print starts with a standard design that specifies fixed elements along with the variable fields for the printed pieces. While the fixed elements look identical on every piece, the variable fields are filled in with text or images as determined by application, style guidelines and information contained in the database.
There are three primary methods for Variable Data Print:
In one method, a static document gets loaded into a printer’s memory. The printer is directed to repeatedly print this document when sending out a page to the printer driver. Variable data may then print over the static document! This method is the most straightforward way to perform Variable Data Print, although its ability is not the same as a traditional mail merge.
A second method involves combining the fixed and variable elements you want into print files before printing them with the use of conventional software. This generates a standard print file that merges every image into every page. A disadvantage is that running many large print files can possibly overwhelm processing capacity. If this occurs, printing rates might become too slow to be realistic for a print task greater than a few hundred pages.
A third method is to blend static and variable elements into print files before printing using special software. This produces enhanced print files that optimize print speed because the print driver only must process static elements one time.
There are several different software packages available that can combine text and images into Variable Data Print files.
Some are separate software packages, however, most of the advanced software packages are really plug-ins for publishing software such as, for example, Adobe Creative Suite.
In addition to Variable Data Print software, other packages may be needed for some projects. Mailing software is vital in the U. S. to benefit from reduced shipping rates for bulk mailing. When used before the Variable Data Print file creation, mailing software sorts and produces bar codes for addresses. Pieces may then be printed in the appropriate sequence for organizing by the relevant postal code. Software to handle data quality and consistency may also be required for this.
A key distinction between Variable Data Print and conventional printing is the customization that is involved. Customization permits a company to connect directly with their clients. Variable Data Print is more than just a changeable name or address. In years past a variable name might have been sufficient when the concept was more novel. In the competitive business world of today, customization must be a reflection of what your clients hold valuable. For Variable Data Print to succeed, you’ll need to know helpful, accurate information about your clients and their objectives.
For example, when a client who enjoys playing golf receives a personalized postcard featuring an image of their favorite golf course, that client is more prone to take a look at the information detailed on the card. On the contrary, a Variable Data Print piece with images of fishing boats sent to a client with no interest in that activity would probably be much less effective. Customization makes it possible to connect, communicate and start relationships with prospective clients while also maintaining relationships with existing clients. After all, a prospect that becomes a customer can then become a loyal customer. At BFC, we understand that you want to develop a customer base for the long term, and this efficient, versatile strategy is a great way to gain more of them!
Response Rate & Time
Another advantage to Variable Data Printing is the improvement in response rate and time. Because personalized printed materials seize the attention of potential and existing consumers, the response rate of a mail campaign grows. Personalization also improves the time it takes for a response because the mailed materials make an impact on consumers. This effect can help speed up the consumer’s reply time. A mailed printed piece that fails to seize interest may be discarded and simply forgotten about.
Variable Data Printing can be combined with other platforms like personalized uniform resource locators (PURL), bulk emailings and QR codes – all of which are viewed as marketing tools. Many businesses have discovered the advantage of combining all three of these platforms for creation of an effective campaign. Emailings and PURLS enable a business to learn information about their consumer base. While emailings typically do not consist of much-personalized information, they can certainly be modified to do so. The majority of the personalized details would be found in a PURL, which is essentially a landing page. It is also where the majority of the information about the consumer will be gathered. The emailings will include a PURL that will direct the consumer to a personalized landing page. The PURL is the place where a company can acquire information about their targeted consumer through requested information. The QR code can also be added to a mailed printed piece. It functions similar to an emailing by directing the consumer straight to a website. The combination of these three efficient platforms can be of great benefit to a marketing campaign.
The Basic Concept
The basic concept of blending static elements with variable elements has seen different implementations over the years which range from basic desktop mail merge to complicated mainframe applications used in the financial services industries. The term Variable Data Printing in the past was most directly related to digital printing equipment. But now in recent years the application of this remarkable technology has extended to web pages, emails and mobile messages.