Friday, August 10, 2007

Free Personalized Marketing Webinar

Event: Free One-to-One Marketing Webinar
Date(s): 08/15/2007 (every Wed.)
Date(s): 08/22/2007 (every Wed.)
Date(s): 08/29/2007 (every Wed.)
Date(s): 09/5/2007 (every Wed.)
Date(s): 09/12/2007 (every Wed.)
Time: 2:00 PM - 2:45 PM CDT

Event Details: Are you ready to implement a personalized marketing strategy that generates long-term results? Confused how to start? Variable Thinking will show you how! Attend our weekly 45-minute webinar and walk away with a clear vision on how to increase response rates and revenue while lowering your marketing costs. Learn the ins and outs of one-to-one marketing with Variable Thinking, the definitive worldwide leader in marketing technology and services.

Our complimentary webinars are held every Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. CDT. All attendees receive valuable one-to-one marketing resources.

Reserve your space now!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

How to Choose a Solution Provider

If you search the phrase "marketing solution" on Google you'll be smacked with 167M sites that includes everything from email, SEO, direct mail, and ministry marketing solutions. You'll be attracted to the pages because "marketing solution" will be all over the content and in page titles, but you'll never actually find an explanation of what a "marketing solution" is. That is why it's important to ask yourself if you're looking at a true solution--or a service.

PODI defines a solution as, "A repeatable combination of core products, services and unique knowledge that improves the economic performance and delivers ongoing value." In other words, solution providers are long-term partners who understand the needs of your business.

A true marketing solution must achieve at least one of three things: 1) fulfill unmet marketing needs; 2) provide a unique technology you can't find elsewhere; 3) offer services that would be unaffordable elsewhere. When looking for a solution provider, it's important to make sure the company understands the needs of your company and helps you acquire, retain, and grow customers.

Another important question to ask when researching companies is whether or not the solution can be replicated, or if individual services can be purchased when needed. One example of a complete marketing solution is Variable Thinking’s Integrated Marketing Solution. All of the services are offered individually, but are most effective when used as a "solution" that includes: database marketing, personalized direct mail and email, personalized landing pages (PURLs), digital printing, direct mail fulfillment, real-time sales leads, and response tracking.

Another question to ask is if the "solution" is outsourced or provided under one roof. Variable Thinking is the only company that can provide the entire marketing solution under one roof, meaning you’re only communicating with one business partner.

Friday, August 3, 2007

What is Variable Data Printing

What is Variable Data Printing

There was an interesting discussion on a printing press forum where a user asked what variable data printing meant. He was familiar with the term and said it seemed self-explanatory, but wasn’t sure how people were using the technology, or what all the "buzz" was about.

There were a variety of answers including "It's a word processing software that allows you to use mail-merge on documents." Sure, who hasn't merged a contacts list or database to personalize the address and contact name input fields? But the variable data printing process of today make that process look archaic--paleo even.

Wikipedia defines variable data printing as, "Variable Data Printing or VDP (also known as Variable Information Printing, or VIP) is a form of on-demand printing in which elements such as text, graphics and images may be changed from one printed piece to the next without stopping or slowing down the press, using information from a database or external file. For example, a set of personalized letters, each with the same basic layout, can be printed with a different name and address on each letter. Variable data printing is mainly used for direct marketing, customer relationship management and advertising."

Marketing firms and printers today are able to use variable data printing software with digital presses and targeted mailing lists to create targeted direct mail and brochures. It's an extremely affordable way to increase response rates and sales revenue. Variable Thinking, a Chicago-area marketing firm has a nice list of VDP case studies that showcase the ways variable data printing is used.

This includes printing-on-demand, franchise marketing, customized monthly statements, personalized direct mail, customized coupons, rewards programs, and other uses. CMOs that take the time to target their database, create an attention-grabbing ad, and use variable data printing have reported up to $200,000 in new sales from a mere 1,000 personalized and targeted marketing pieces! So, there is more than just buzz with variable data printing and personalized marketing--there are huge results too.

An easy way to determine if variable data printing and personalized marketing is the best choice for your company is to send out a small batch of personalized direct mail along with your normal static mailer and compare the results. Companies that try this with a targeted mailing list often experience 10%, 20% even 50% response rate increases.

Variable Data Printing