Portfolio Sample of Direct Mail Marketing Postcard from One Stop Mail for Dobson Academy with dolphin and small child with glasses and book

Variable Data Printing VDP Brings The Best Of Both Worlds To Direct Mail Marketing

Even though your direct mail marketing campaign may be offline, you can still benefit from the personalization of online marketing! After all, online shoppers and those who see most of their ads online are becoming spoiled. Nearly all the ads they see are custom-tailored for them, either in terms of the product offered, or openly using elements of their personal information to craft a pitch designed for them specifically. While some buyers still find this approach “creepy,” on the whole most consumers seem to appreciate the customization. You can achieve the same level of customization in direct mail marketing with  variable data printing VDP.

Unfortunately, offline advertising has lagged significantly behind online advertising in this area. Most forms of offline ads are so mass-market that they really cannot be customized. TV stations can’t selectively beam ads on a per-viewer basis, or make billboards that change depending on the cars passing beneath. However, the exception to this is in the field of direct mail marketing, which still outperforms digital marketing.

Thanks to Variable Data Printing VDP, it’s now possible -and affordable- for direct mail campaigns to be just as personalized as email campaigns!

How Variable Data Printing VDP Is Revolutionizing Direct Mail Marketing

Simply put, variable data printing can harness the same databases you’ve compiled on your customers and target market -and are presumably using in your online campaigns- and use it to customize your direct mailings as well.

There are a full range of options here, although they’re broadly broken into three categories:

One Stop Mail client sample of 2 sided Direct Mail Marketing VDP postcard

Basic Variable Data Printing VDP

The same basic mailer is sent out to every recipient, but with minor changes such as inserting their name and appropriate pronouns into the copy. This is exceedingly simple to accomplish, and is a quick-and-easy way to add additional appeal to an otherwise standardized mailer.


A versioned direct mail piece has several different versions of the copy and graphics, written for two or more different target markets, neighborhoods, or other demographic segments. This is then combined with basic VDP techniques to create semi-customized mailers which can still be printed in one single job, making it less expensive than custom-ordering several separate batches.

Full-Variability Printing

At the high end, it’s entirely possible to create mailers which are customized for each and every recipient, often using a “mad libs” style approach to fill in different pieces of copy, different sales points, or different images based on the database profile of each individual. This is direct mail marketing equivalent to the most advanced email automation techniques, combined with the physicality and immediateness of direct mail.

VDP Creates Real Changes In Behavior

Just as one example of how effective variable data printing VDP can be in the real-world, experiments have been conducted sending mailers to registered voters, highlighting their history of voting attendance versus those of their neighbors. Each mailer, of course, would have to be custom-tailored for each recipient.

The result was greater voter turnout up to twenty-eight percent over the control groups who received non-customized mailers.

It’s difficult to judge the exact extent to which VDP can affect recipients, since there are many confounding factors, but there’s no doubt it does create more action among recipients. When the mailers are well-constructed and based on good data (the two biggest confounding factors) they consistently drive more traffic, leads, and sales.

If you’re looking to boost the effectiveness of your direct mail marketing in a big way, variable data printing is the solution. For more information on your options, or a quote request, just contact the experts at OneStopMail for all the details.

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