Peripheral Visions

a blog from SuppliesGuys™ -- Good Guys. Great Buys.

The Basics of Variable Data Marketing

If your small business is currently implementing a direct marketing or email marketing campaign, have you considered variable data marketing? Essentially, variable data marketing is personalized marketing. It allows your business to create marketing materials that relate directly to each customer by including their first names and highlighting products or services they’ve purchased in the past.

To do this, data is taken from a structured database and inserted into the chosen artwork. Just as the name states, the data is varied for each piece – whether it be a postcard, email, brochure, etc. The customer’s name, the product being offered, the graphics and text can all be changed from one postcard or email to the next without interrupting distribution.

Here is an example of how we utilize variable data within our direct marketing at The Supplies Guys:

Just on the front of this postcard, we are able to vary the data three times: the customer’s name, a special offer for a product they’ve purchased from us, and their personal web address. (More on that web address, called a PURL, in a separate post!)

To create these postcards, we first determine the artwork to be used. When it is time to print, the database is prepared with the customer information which is then plugged in to the corresponding areas on the postcard. The data is inserted and then printed out continuously. A benefit to variable data marketing is that even with this data changing, the methods aren’t interrupted. Also, there is no need to print large quantities; you can start small to test out the return on investment.

So, now that you have a better idea of what variable data marketing is, and how it can be used in various marketing materials, it’s important to know the benefits for your business. Because of the customization put into variable data, costs are higher than for standard direct and email marketing campaigns. However, studies have shown that because messages are relevant to customers, response rates tend to be higher than with standard campaigns.

The relevance and personalization of variable data marketing resonates with customers and builds their loyalty to your company. By working with your customer database, you are able to know things about them, such as frequency of purchase. Variable data marketing enables your company to send offers based on the individual customer’s timeframe, establishing reliability.

These simple things, such as knowing the customer’s purchase history and habits gives the business owner full control of enticing the customer with appropriate offers. In doing so with variable data marketing, customers take notice of this special interest. From this, customers establish loyalty and become longtime customers…that will hopefully refer your company to their friends and family!

So, those are the basics and benefits of variable data marketing. Do you see this form of marketing as an option for your small business?

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Categories: Business Tips


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