Ed #14 Getting Personal

Printing gets personal.

The explosion of social media and the rapid advancement of data mining technology have combined to create deeper, better data on customers and prospective buyers—and printing technology has kept pace.

For businesses who gather robust consumer information, variable data printing (VDP) technology offers the ability to produce highly personalized direct mail communications. One financial services provider created a direct mail program aimed at college savings fund participants. VDP capabilities enabled each piece to include individualized graphs showing how much the targeted fund participant could save by the time his or her child was ready for college. Additional graphs showed how increased contributions would drive higher fund growth. The fund provider reported higher contributions as a result of this targeted approach.10

Variable Data Printing (VDP) is making large-run, one-to-one print communications a reality.

The potential of this technology is huge, because it allows businesses to leverage customer data to create printed communications that speak directly to each individual. OPOWER, a Washington, D.C.-based software developer serving the utility industry, works with a large printer using VDP to produce “Home Energy Reports” for its utility partners.

The reports, mailed regularly to millions of customers, contain simple graphics that chart an individual household’s monthly energy use compared with neighbors and consumers with similar climate conditions, home size and other variables. The result? OPOWER states that for more than 30 utilities so far, 80–85 percent of homeowners have responded by changing behaviors, driving average steady-state energy savings of 2.5 percent per year. This will represent more than 300 GWh in energy savings by the end of 2010—more than one-third the amount of energy generated by the entire
solar power industry.

10. Chantal Todé, Direct Magazine, Vol. 5, Issue 6 (12/09)

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