In Part 1 of this series we learned about the economy of mailhouse and the return on investment of traditional print mailing vs digital variable data mailing.  Part 2 of this series was about simple database processing.  Now we are going to go into the darker corners of the mailhouse.

Teach your mailing project some new tricks!

Yes…here your see a Border Collie balancing a bone on her nose…and, as a Border Collie, we know this is WAY beneath her natural ability to do tricks.

SIMILARLY, your direct mail pieces can use various “tricks” to perform even better.  Easy stuff to learn, plan for and implement.

Trick #1: Using images as variable data.

Surprise!  As a variable data project, your pieces can have more than just text.  For instance, if you are marketing to various auto buyers and you know their buying habits (for instance, as everyone knows, I LOVE station wagons…but they don’t make them anymore) you can direct the actual image to appeal to their interests.  Here we see the use of this technique using a post card…

Click to Enlarge

Note that the images change based on the recipient’s needs.   In this sample, we kind of know that Jerry probably likes trucks.  So Jerry gets a photo of the pick up truck and NOT a mini van. Note that the data beneath the image is also variable.  These variable blurbs can be as customized as you like.  Remember that each record will have its own field for the blurb and for the image and these then can change from one card to the next.  Of course, the images you use MUST ALL BE the same dimensions!  So, minivan.jpg, truck.jpg, sedan.jpg, etc are each the same “trim” size.   Finally, if you noticed, even the background can change on these images and, of course, you can use as many images as you have time for…and, of course, you can use images on both sides of the piece.

Trick #2: Printing cool fonts

Using the digital press, you are not limited to just a few boring fonts.   Indeed there are MANY fonts you can use with the variable data fields from you database.  Here is a simple idea of what this means:

Trick #3: How the Video Jet system helps you out.

We are all familiar with “ink jet” addressing.  At CPC we have a very advanced video jet system that uses your data (name, address, etc) (which is variable data, by the way) and can marry it to paragraphs, series numbers, and use many other innovative ideas.  This allows you to print a magazine or catalog on our Heidelberg equipment and then trick the system into turning that into a high end variable data project.

Here is a wild example of this idea:

Click to enlarge

Hey!  We are thinking way outside the bun now!

This magazine sample includes an appropriate paragraph of variable data, a THANK YOU (from a dog!), a QR code and, of course, the address.

So we can see that tight databases mixed with imagination can yield a more consistent and valuable return on investment.  Usually this is mixed with a lot of forethought and effort on your part as the DATA drives these ideas.  Again, spending a few hours this weekend “weeding” your database will prove to be a wise choice of time and energy!

That’s it for now…please contact me if you have any ideas or need some brain melding help!


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