I was talking to a printing company in my area only yesterday about their marketing, and asked how many VDP jobs they were selling. I worked with this printer previously and know that they were equipped and ready to run variable data transactional jobs three or four years ago. Today, they are running little or no data driven work at all, and the big reason is that no one asks for it.
A bona fide chicken and egg situation.
myprintresource.com ran an interesting article discussing some of the obstacles that have kept printing businesses from capitalizing on the potential of variable data printing services.
The article points out some of the pitfalls, such as difficulty communicating VDP terminology and concepts to prospective customers, and getting across the benefits of the technology.
Pricing also creates problems, with lack of clarity about how to price variable data work combining with a “wild west” anything goes competitive environment, where one printing business is prepared to eat the cost of VDP to snatch a print job away from a competitor.
Overall, I felt the discussion raised good points but offered printers who want to jump in no real help on how to go about marketing variable data services to their customers.
I would like to help with that.
Right now I offer a several ColorCard postcards and email campaigns to help printers offering VDP communicate the concepts to customers in simple terms.
Over the coming weeks and months I will be adding more, along with lead generation campaigns and presentation materials to help you explain the processes, the benefits and the value of data driven printed communications, and cross media campaigns.
Here are a few more thoughts.
One difficulty with printers using VDP technology to communicate with print buyers is that the final piece received, being tailored to the individual who sees it, doesn’t give any indication of the alternate versions that others received. Printers must show the power of the technology with a demonstration of all those alternate possibilities, preferably linked directly with ROI numbers comparing alternate technology approaches.
Another obstacle is that only customers who have already compiled suitable data can really take advantage of the technology, so there is a real chicken and egg problem. To lead new clients in I suggest starting with good personalization, which just about every printer and client can do, and selling up to more sophisticated solutions on the basis of a client’s own results, encouraging data collection and improvement as they go.
This also gives the printer the opportunity to grow competitive expertise/experience and shift roles to marketing service provider, getting into the planning stages of future projects where budget can be set according to anticipated results and the project’s place in the overall plan, rather than trying to graft vdp onto print projects sourced with a commodity mindset.
Ready to start offering VDP in your marketplace now?
Put my direct mail and email marketing for printers campaigns to work to let your prospects and customers know that you offer VDP, and how they can get better marketing results with your technology and expertise.