Variable Data Printing (VDP) is important to marketers because it enables them to articulate a special message in a particular way to potential customers. In other words, Variable Data Printing allows marketers to drive the customer relationship.
VDP gives marketers the option of applying a push or pull strategy. Push marketing (outbound marketing) refers to pushing information out to the customer. Direct mail is one example. Push marketing is driven by the vendor.
Pull marketing (inbound marketing), in contrast, is driven by the customer. The customer pulls information about the products in which he or she is interested. For example, a car dealership might have a Web site where customers can select the information they want to receive about a certain car model. The customers’ choices are entered into a database from which VDP can create a personalized brochure for mailing.
The two strategies are often used in tandem. The car dealership can obtain databases of potential customers within its geographic area (see last week’s blog on the Ins and Out of Using Mailing Lists) and push advertising about the latest car models to them through a direct mailing. For example, the car dealership can use information in the database about the customers’ family size and advertise features most likely to be attractive to them such as SUVs and wagons for families with children, and sports cars to single males.
The value of using variable data printing with pull marketing is that it makes pull marketing far more cost-effective.
The value of push marketing lies in making potential customers aware of a vendor and in enticing them to take the next step toward purchasing products from the vendor. Push marketing is often an initial contact in which customers receive information that encourages them to take some action. Potential customers who respond to the push marketing can be given an opportunity to pull more information, as in the example of a car dealership with a Web site. By specifying the information they want about a new car, potential customers identify themselves as likely customers who already have a sense of what they want to buy and have taken a step toward a purchase from the vendor.
The value of using VDP with pull marketing is that it is more cost-effective than push marketing. The customer has already targeted himself or herself, and the vendor prints a brochure only for a customer who is already interested in its product. The vendor provides more of what the customer is looking for and less of what they have no interest in.
Next week, we will look a little closer at this by looking at variable data printing and one-to-one marketing.