What is variable printing and how can my business use it?


There are often terms or services that printing companies offer that customers do not understand. We like to clear the air on some of these services so our customers and others better understand what options they have for print and how the different services can benefit their business.

Today we’re taking a look at variable printing.

What is variable printing?

Variable data printing—or one-to-one marketing or personalized printing—offers customized, targeted encounters with potential customers, making it a powerful marketing option. In the digital printing process, each turn of an imaging cylinder is a unique impression that is transferred to a page. Variable data printing capitalizes on this by picking up customized artwork for each page based on information from a database and rules that are set up within a variable data software program.

Variable elements can include text, graphics, photos, colors and more. In addition, the variable data can be placed onto each page on a simple record-by-record basis, or the contents of a page can be controlled by rules based on relationships among data fields. This service allows marketers to produce customized printed documents by designating text or graphics that are then replaced using a database. One document is designed but, by using variable data printing, many uniquely personalized pieces can be created to target individuals or groups.

Why does my business need variable printing?

Variable data printing has been shown to dramatically increase response rates while reducing overall printing costs, due to shorter, more targeted print runs. We live in a media-heavy world where the mass amounts of mail, e-mail, billboards, television and radio all compete for consumer attention. Printing variable data mailers that are customized to your audience grab their attention and in return gives you a better response.

Consider the power of being able to create a custom message for each recipient, catered to their age, gender, interests, buying habits, address and more.

Variable data printing is also a faster, more economical way to print:

  • You only need to print as many as you need (depending on the size of your database)
  • You can test-market a piece with a partial selection of your database, adjust the piece based on response rate and finish the run at a later time.
  • You can print addresses directly on to the piece.

Printing with variable data allows marketers to personalize their materials and grab their customer’s attention. If you’re ready to give variable data printing a try for your next print marketing project, give us a call!

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