It Pays to Get Personal
Offering variable printing means big changes, but also high margins.
When 52-year-old scuba enthusiast Jane Young of West Palm Beach, Fla., received a travel brochure from Charlie B. Travels promoting a cruise to the Caribbean that included a scuba diving package for those aged 50 and older, her interest was piqued. Just three months later, she was diving off the island of St. Lucia with a group of her peers.
That is just one example of the effectiveness of variable data printing making it obvious that, in an industry where printed materials are distributed by the millions, it pays to get personal.
But getting personal today means more than just changing the names and addresses that appear on a form letter or card. According to Bill Prettyman, president of Wise Business Forms/NextWave, Alpharetta, Ga., it means altering the text and graphics for individual recipients based on criteria such as buying behavior, age, hobbies, income and location. In other words, advanced variable data printing is about getting specific.
This is exactly why Wise began offering the service five years ago.
"We felt this was the coming wave in printing and wanted to be involved in its development while it was still in its infancy stages," said Prettyman. "We also saw it as a market opportunity and wanted to bring our distributor base into the realm of merging data with communication documents."
Some of those communication documents include short-run color items such as post cards, direct mail pieces, corporate brochures and employee-personalized human resource pieces.
Offering these materials, however, meant a major overhaul in production processes, calling for a $1 million investment in staff, training and technology—including an Indigo Turbo Stream. And because variable print procedures are so different from those of traditional forms, Prettyman said he needed to segregate Nextwave from the rest of Wise's plant.