Where do I start with VDP?
The most common question after “What is Variable Data Printing?” that I hear is “Where do I start?” This is a tricky question because you start at the end – “What is your goal?” Then once defined you figure out what data you have to support that goal.
Data is the information you have about your targeted “customer” list. And you’ve got to start with that data to craft your campaign. Examples include:
- Non-profits that can pull data from their AMS (association management system) such as member id, member name, member mailing address, phone number, member since, member type, other locations, meetings attended, etc.
- Charities that draw from their development (donor) database such as donor id, first name, last name, mailing address, last donation, average donation, cause of interest, donor since date, etc.
- Policital parties, like the Democratic National Committee, have master voter database. The Dems have one of voters and voter preferences (VoteBuilder) that lets the authorized user drill down and pick information for mailing/marketing campaigns including narrowing down a list to voter district and voter preferences.
- Corporations draw from CRM (customer relationship management) systems to extract a list of relevant customers (by region, buying preference, or other) and then contact information, mailing address, last purchase, etc.
Every business or organization has data about customers stored in some sort of database — even if it is just an Excel file of customers, that is a starting point.