Variable Data Printing Drives Stronger Audience Engagement
Today, just about everyone has a supercomputer (and advertising conduit) in their pocket. If the generational reports are to be believed, no one under 40 ever looks up from their mobile device, and we are on the verge of a veritable epidemic of tragically avoidable open-manhole accidents. But if you look at the data, it’s clear that people are looking up from the phones — at least some of the time — because direct mail continues to be effective.
Studies find that audiences’ retention of information communicated via direct mail is 70% better than their retention of what they see in digital ads. Furthermore, direct mail stimulates 20% more activity in the part of the brain that corresponds with motivation to act than its digital counterparts — the tangibility of the physical mailpiece itself is its own call to action. Younger people are more likely to pay attention to a printed message, because it represents attention to presentation and permanence, both rarities in a sea of ephemeral, intangible digital content. In fact, research has shown that 82% of millennials view print as more trustworthy than digital content. However, despite these impressive statistics, digital marketing does have one significant advantage over traditional print: digital’s ability to hyper-target audiences.
Variable data print (VDP) unites print’s uniqueness and staying power with the level of data-driven targeting often required to cut through the noise in today’s communication landscape. Despite the effectiveness of direct mail, so much of the battle is getting audiences to engage with your mailpiece in the first place. By allowing each individual piece in a mail campaign to be tailored to the recipient, VDP helps get your communication past audiences’ increasingly stringent mental filters against irrelevant information. It goes far beyond simply inserting the recipient’s name into the copy. If your name is Joe, of course you’re more likely to pay attention to something addressed to “Joe” than “Resident” or something similar. But if your name is Joe and you recently bought a house, you may be even more inclined to read and respond to a mailpiece addressed to Joe that is highlighting a deal on new window panels, for instance.
And that seemingly small change makes a big difference. Research shows personalization increases response rates as much as 300%, and 59% of shoppers who have received personalized communications believe it has had a noticeable influence on their purchasing decisions.
At the end of the day, this old saying still holds true in the digital age: nice personal touches make all the difference.