The Value of Variable Data Printing
There's a bright future for in-plants able to produce variable data output and on-demand printing.
By Ryan Crist
With any new technology, there are doubts as to whether it will work or stick around. Take laser discs, for example. We all know those didn't last too long before the development of the smaller DVD.
Digital printing, however, is not new any more. One of the big questions digital printing has made us ponder is whether or not it will replace traditional offset lithography. The answer is no. Digital printing serves as a sophisticated compliment to offset printing, and it's meant for targeting different audiences.
For example, many organizations produce pieces that contain a static offset shell with the inside containing personalized information, printed digitally. Current digital presses cannot produce the same sheet size as many offset presses, but their quality is very close in comparison.
Digital printing is focused on two main areas of production. These are variable data printing and on-demand printing. Both areas have a tremendous future, not only in the transaction print business but in the marketing industry.
Variable data printing will enhance the convergence of several technologies. In conjunction with this, streamlined data processing will incorporate Web-to-print and print-to-Web campaigns. Streamlined data processing is an electronic data interchange where information on a company's consumers is constantly being fed into a database for printing. Essentially, the data stream acts as a trigger for creating follow-up communication.
Using Both Print and the Web
A Web-to-print campaign means taking information received on a company's Web site and using it to print a customized print piece. A print-to-Web campaign is using a database that is not from the Web site and encouraging customers to visit the company's site.
With this high complexity of
direct mail, and as companies acquire a stronger database, this will lead to a reduction in mass mailings. Variable data printing allows more focused mailings that speak directly to the customer.