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The Future of Direct Mail is Personalization 

Michelle Johnston Michelle Johnston Senior Manager of Strategic Development

You have heard it countless times … personalization is key in direct mail. Adding additional personalization to your mail can allow you to not only connect to your donors with additional data points, but it can also open up additional creative opportunities by allowing you to add specific color, image, and design elements that are targeted to your donors. Learn how to add personalization using Variable Data Printing. 

What is VDP? 

VDP is a form of digital printing in which elements such as text, graphics, and images may be changed from one printed piece to the next, offering personalization, versioning, and full variability! Currently, this is available for flat elements (like letters, replies, buckslips, postcards, and newsletters), and for some envelopes. 

Benefits of VDP:

  • All copy and design elements can be personalized. 
  • Increased time in your creative schedule as art will be due later than with traditional print.
  • Cost benefits include no spoilage, reduced version change costs, no plate changes, and no shipping costs for print to travel to the mailshop. 
  • May allow you to test copy and art changes with no additional cost. 
  • 4 color printing is the same cost as 1 color printing. 

Who Should Consider VDP? 

This technology is still being adopted by mailshops across the country. Right now, the best use of this technology is for organizations who: 

  • Print a lot of versions of their personalized pieces. 
  • Want to test a lot of versions with personalization. 
  • Chapter based organizations who have a lot of variable data points. 
  • Organizations that have invested in data segmenting and want to expand their current art and copy to reflect that. 
  • Organizations that have invested in robust data collection and want to use that data in their direct mail. 

Success starts with a plan! 

If you are thinking about increasing your use of personalization and trying VDP, here are a few things you can do to help us help you:

  • Share your strategy with us! Let us know what you want to achieve so we can help you plan and budget accordingly.
  • Start the planning process early. You will need to make sure that you have included additional info in your data and working with your data partners early will help ensure there are no last-minute data needs that can hold up your mailing. 
  • Let us help! Letting your production and data partners talk in the planning process can ensure a smooth transition from planning to execution.

About the Author

Michelle Johnston
Michelle Johnston Senior Manager of Strategic Development

Michelle, PS’ Senior Manager of Strategic Development, has
been serving with PS since 2013. Michelle is from
Woodbridge, Virginia and she telecommutes full-time from
Leesburg, Virginia. Michelle enjoys spending time with her
husband, singing and papercrafting!
Michelle has over 10 years of experience in our industry, and
she has worked with more than 10 of PS’ clients, including the
Wildlife Land Trust, National Jewish Health, Heifer
International, The ALS Association, HelpMeSee and Special
Olympics. Michelle works on developing PS’ strategy and her
dedication to communicating authentically and investing in
success are just some of the reasons that Michelle is such a
valuable asset to her team.