Variable Data Integration

What are the benefits of reading something written specifically for us?

  1. It keeps our attention.
  2. It helps in our decision making.
  3. It shows that someone has made an effort and is thinking of us.

The concept of Variable Data Integration goes beyond basic personalization with a greeting such as “Dear Dave” and is best demonstrated by the examples, below:

Example 1

Imagine for a moment that you run a 1,000-acre soybean operation in Southern Ontario. With all of the daily chores done, you sit back, put your feet up and start leafing through your favourite agricultural magazine.

You skim the first article and read a bit farther into the next. Then, as you flip on to page 9, something jumps out at you. There’s a postcard there, die cut to look like sack of seeds—and it has your name on it. Intrigued, you peel the card off the display ad to which it was affixed. When you turn it over, you find recommendations for three soybean seed varieties that are best suited to your farming operation just north of Stratford. You’re a bit stunned. Seeing your name on a postcard inside of a magazine is one thing, but with five different heat zones across the province, how could they possibly know which seed varieties would be best suited to your farm?

Example 2

Imagine that you suffer from nagging back pain and use a common Ibuprofen for relief. A while ago you completed a survey under the premise that you might receive some free samples. On the survey you noted that you suffer from back pain as well as the brand of Ibuprofen that you use.

In consideration of the foregoing, you open today’s mail and there is a sample, along with an accompanying letter that reads as follows:

Dear Dave,

We all know that when back pain strikes, it’s great to have fast-acting relief that we can count on.

The dependability of our advanced ibuprofen, Pain-B-Gone, is unparalleled when it to comes to delivering. . .

As you can see, in both cases, the content is highly tailored for the specific reader, which results in a very high level of engagement. This is the power of Variable Data Integration.

Variable data techniques can be applied with both printed and online applications. As shown below, it can be used with pURLs (personalized URLs) and can we can incorporate variable imaging in addition to variable text.

Data is Still the All-Important Foundation

There is no doubt that when we combine ingenuity with today’s powerful tools, the sky is pretty much the limit. However, before we start we need to take a hard look at your data, as bad data can quickly undermine the entire campaign.

Here are the guidelines that we need to address:

We must also analyze the data to ensure the acceptability and correctness of all substitutions and develop default fallbacks for some conditions.

pURLs (personalized URLs)

Personalized URLs garnered quite a bit of attention a few years go, but we do not see them used that often. It could be that people are nervous about the quality of data or perhaps there is some question as to the potential return.

Regardless, we have used pURLs in a few different applications and here are some examples:

pURL used in one of our own online promotions:

http://www.hiland.com/invitation/daveward/

pURL used in agricultural prototype:

http://www.hiland.com/gropro/daveward

Personalized URLs can be used to create a very high level of engagement in an online environment. As they are driven by data sitting behind the scenes, they do add a bit more complexity to campaign development, but  – they can deliver the benefits of keeping attention, aiding in decision making and showing customers that we care.

Variable Imaging

Variable imaging is, as we might expect, presenting different graphics, based on specific data conditions.

To demonstrate how variable imaging can work, we created a few online demos for:

These are entertaining little demos, where you can change data values and see how the changes are reflected in different graphics and other content. You can view the demos at:

http://www.hiland.com/tools/variable-imaging-in-action/

Identifying/Developing the Data Sources

Customers with extensive profiling data can use these types of variable data integration programs with relative ease. In other cases, data can sometimes be sourced by renting a list or through the development of industry or community-specific data. We have the skills and experience to manage these types of projects and invite you to learn more by reading Industry/Group Promotions.

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If you are a Highland Marketing customer, we appreciate your business and the confidence that you place in us.

If you are not a Highland Marketing customer, we would welcome the opportunity to get to know you better and discuss our direct mail, direct communication and integrated website development services. Simply give us a call at 1-800-422-1309.