Whatever the size of an enterprise, Variable Data Printing (VDP) enables businesses to eliminate costly expenses, reduce time and print wastage, improve productivity and capture the attention of customers through a combination of personalisation and reaction.
According to Mohammed Vachiat, product manager at Konica Minolta South Africa, by merging variable data into printing jobs, companies can leverage the full potential of their customer information and use it to customise a wide variety of documents based upon unique information on each individual recipient. "VDP is a type of on-demand printing in which all the documents in a print run are similar but not identical. Elements such as text, graphics and images can be amended from one printed piece to the next using information from a database or external file, without stopping or slowing down the printing process," he explains.
Promotional communications such as advertisements, direct mailing, brochures and flyers, business cards, newsletters, discount coupons, tickets and letters can now be personalised with varying text, graphics, barcodes or even entire layouts. This is also true for transactional and business documents such as invoices and statements, reports, labels, certificates, policies and multi-part business forms. Besides printing, these documents can be generated in PDF, TIFF or JPG formats for archiving or to be distributed by fax or e-mail, automatically and conditionally.
"The individuality created by VDP enables organisations to get recipients interested in the message, multiply response rates and effectively manage print flows. Personalised messages streamline the interaction between suppliers and buyers, increase customer retention and generate more revenue compared to traditional mass mailings," continues Vachiat.
"Today, there are powerful, printer-centric technologies available that enable businesses to replace pre-printed forms and create dynamic, database-driven documents. In fact, open template-based web-to-print solutions allow online modification and production of repetitive, personalised documents. These solutions can be integrated with an organisation’s existing hardware and software infrastructure, and because of its modular approach, scales with the size of the business operation. Documents can be designed to output what you need, where you need it and in any format your application requires."
Especially suitable for brand owners, design agencies, print shops and marketing services providers, professional VDP software tools allows them to offer a complete and integrated service. Designers are able to use their own design applications to create dynamic templates for variable data printing jobs, while customers can view their documents, integrate their own data based on pre-defined fields and pre-flight their print run before initiating the ordering process.
With permissions and access rights that can be set per user, companies can adapt the verification process of submitted orders based on their business process. From intuitive and easy-to-use interfaces, users can order and reorder any promotional documents, either static PDFs or complex, full personalisation jobs. "Although in South Africa, VDP is still in its infancy, personalised marketing is showing huge growth potential for businesses. We foresee exciting times as organisations can become more creative with direct marketing campaigns. It is key though that businesses going this route remain aware that the success or failure of a VDP campaign relies on how the information entered into the relevant database is managed," Vachiat concludes.
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