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How to get your variable colour creative right

How to get your variable colour creative right

Some 39.1 % of direct mail is using variable colour printing (which presents different campaign segments with different images and content). Further, this is expected to grow to some 48.2% by the end of 2007, according to latest research findings from CDMS. 

This represents an exceptionally enthusiastic take-up by direct marketers of production – quality digital colour print, since it came within the reach of most mailers a couple of years ago.  UK companies, across key industry sectors, were asked what proportion of their direct mail currently used variable colour printing to address different groups of prospects.

Generally speaking, industries that have either a wide product range, sell aspirational products, or rely heavily on brand values, tend to derive greatest return on investment from variable colour imagery in their direct marketing.
The travel industry received the top score, at 43% of all direct marketing print using data driven colour creative.  Retailers followed in second position, at just over 41%, with Hotels in third place (39%).

Travel companies and Hotels are under intense pressure to encourage repeat business from past customers. It is likely, therefore, that the majority of the benefit that Travel and Hotel companies are seeing is accounted for by using variable creative in campaigns to win repeat business from existing and past customers.

The research also found that Utilities and Insurers are using variable colour creative least of the sectors studied, with the Telecoms sector as a whole also showing a relatively low average use of variable colour.
Martyn Viquerat, Document Services Director at CDMS comments, “Essentially variable creative, powered by digital print, is playing a pivotal role in ensuring that mail-shots stand out from the crowd and elicit maximum response by appealing directly to the emotions of the recipient.

However, the level of sophistication of segmented mailing is still quite varied, from some sectors with large widespread appeal, who will address many different segments, to others, where it could simply be a matter of providing a female recipient with different imagery compared to a male recipient.

Alternatively, creative might be varied according to age group.  However sophisticated, the need for digital colour output ‘on demand’ is obviously growing fast.  This is because of a parallel trend towards timely, event-triggered direct mail.  It has been recognised by many marketers that timeliness and personalisation in combination provide a very powerful and response-generating combination. 

Anniversaries, renewal timings, house moving, new births, new financial year and many other examples are trigger points for particular purchasing behaviours.  This means that to be most effective, mailings must match those event timings, and cannot afford to wait around for high volume batch mailings – the model of yesteryear. 

So however simple the segmentation being used, we are still talking about processing relatively small volumes more frequently.  The amount of marketing campaigns using data-driven digital print is increasing as marketers realise that in order to stand out from the crowd it is essential to deliver fine-tuned targeting and to achieve a more personalised and relevant approach. For many, access to this new technology is already paying substantial dividends.“
Notes to editors:

For further information, or a management summary of the report, contact Bilal Mahmood at Lindsell Marketing on;

(t) 020 7087 8057 or 07903 007 369, (e)

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