Many of us have seen examples in our mailbox (and even email inboxes) where the sender has included core information like our name and address (or email address). This is an example of canned variable data printing (VDP), something that people seem to overlook every day without perceiving added value.
Deeper variable data utilizes “relevant and factual” data (that doesn’t make you feel like your privacy was violated) to provide added value, communicate an additional feature, or offer customer support resources post-purchase.
I recently made an online purchase of a dress belt, a commodity item in my opinion. It was a simple transaction, but when the belt arrived it came in a high-end box lined with silk, with a personalized note thanking me for my purchase. At the end of the note was a custom url online code (purl – Personal URL) that I could use for a future purchase discount. It even offered an additional discount if I provided feedback. (They provided me an “optional” unique feedback identifier number to enter on the feedback form for tracking purposes.)
More so, about a week after I had responded, the company sent me another thank you note including an additional discount code, and asked again if I was completely satisfied.
About 10 days after my initial purchase, I received a direct mail printed mini-catalog that included accessories matching the style of my original purchase. The catalog identified the specific belt I purchased (with a photo to jog my memory), with other suggested items and printed reviews and feedback on the quality of the suggested items.
While the purchase I made was online, I received three additional print communication touch points (a thank you in the package, a thank you note following my feedback, and a customized print catalog) that all had a variable element, offers, and customer support details if I needed assistance.
This is an example of how variable data printing, based on my purchase history, was able to provide me with a deeper post-purchase experience (resulting in an additional sale). All this for a $30 belt, a commodity purchase to me, but the start of a customer relationship for this manufacturer.