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Let’s Get Personal!

Mary Ann Dreesen Mary Ann Dreesen Senior Account Manager

Who doesn’t love to get a good old-fashioned handwritten letter or card in the mail these days?  With the acceleration of technology, we are inundated with emails, 280-character tweets or 60 second TikToks.  Getting a piece of mail that you can touch and feel really stands out.  And the only mail we get any more seems to be bills or circulars.  But with the acceleration in direct mail technology, your package can really stand out amongst the rest of the mail – especially with the advances in personalization techniques.  Personalizing a direct mail piece can be as simple as inkjetting a name and address onto an outer envelope or as complex as variable data printing (aka VDP) throughout a package.   

Personalization Options:

Choosing personalization options got you stumped? No worries! Here are a few things to consider that will help determine the best option for you. 

Inkjet Imaging is the most basic form of personalization and has really improved in quality over the years.  

  • When you are looking to image small blocks of copy 
  • Produces more cost-effective high-value personalization 
  • Works well on smaller print quantities and versioning
  • Great for postcards, self-mailers and closed-face envelopes 

 Laser Imaging is for higher-end quality packages that offer some flexibility and options. 

  • Wide range of graphic and font capabilities including handwriting fonts
  • Great for longer runs using continuous forms or shorter runs using sheet fed forms 
  • Can image on both sides of sheet 
  • High quality on wider range of paper options 

 Variable Data Printing (VDP) uses the client’s data, digital printers and highly effective software to produce a very personalized high-quality piece. 

  • Personalize to the individual record, tremendous flexibility 
  • High Quality, full color 
  • Use of unique barcodes or QR Codes specific to the record 
  • Great for short runs (lower printing quantities) with variable versioning 
  • Quick turn times as you do not need to preprint, it’s a one-stop shop process

The steps and precautions we take at PS to ensure flawless execution of a package’s personalization. 

  • Review Job Instructions against the Art to ensure that all possible variables are accounted for within the data.  For every variable in the copy we confirm, there is a corresponding data field to pull. 
  • Confirm the personalization method is appropriate for each component. For example, if we are only imaging a name and address on the OE, then typically that would inkjet image and forms with full page letter copy on both sides will most often laser image. 
  • Account for any possible defaults within the copy. We can pull counts for each variable to confirm we do not have any blanks.  But fear not we can always use defaults or generic copy when blanks are there, so we want to know this upfront.
  • Ensure you have enough room within the copy for wrapping or space if a variable is long that could affect how the rest of the copy flows after it.  You can set up rules for shortening a variable if there is not enough room, planning is the key. 
  • Check art to make sure all variable copy is marked in the correct color.  Maybe you want your signature on the letter to stand out, make that blue and the rest of the copy black. 

With our expertise, we can guide you through personalizing your direct mail package so that it will make the biggest impact and make your donor feel appreciated and special.

About the Author

Mary Ann Dreesen
Mary Ann Dreesen Senior Account Manager

Mary Ann is a Senior Account Manager and she has been
serving with PS since 2016. She enjoys spending time with her
sons, Liam and Luke, and their two dogs, Nikko and Bella.
Mary Ann is from Scarsdale, New York, lived in New York City
after college, moved to Los Angeles for 13 years and then
move to Atlanta, Georgia in 2008, where she currently resides
and telecommutes.
With over 30 years of experience in the industry, Mary Ann is
consistently investing in success and is supportive and patient
with her clients. Her ability to communicate authentically and
to deliver an impeccable service experience to her clients each
day is inspiring.