Variable Data (Part 2) The Revolution
In part two of our variable data printing coverage, Vic Barkin explains how your in-plant can move into this lucrative business.
By Vic Nathan Barkin
During the American Revolution, every rifle was what today we would refer to as a customized model. A master craftsman produced each lock, stock and barrel individually. No two were exactly alike.
Finding the optimum load for each rifle meant that a rifleman had to test the accuracy of different powder volumes, patch thicknesses and ball size combinations to ensure, when the time came to hit his mark, he could trust his tool to do the job.
Marketing strategies at today's universities and organizations take a similar customized approach. The budget, marketing media mix and implementation strategy is different at every campus and corporation. Every in-plant must adapt to the needs of its own parent organization.
So when it comes to offering variable data printing (VDP), each in-plant has to examine its own situation before deciding how to proceed.
On the lower end of possible offerings are simple data-merge type documents that can be accomplished from applications like MicroSoft Word and Excel and can either be set up by your customers or by you. Examples include personalized form letters and flyers. Even Word and Excel can offer some rather complex capabilities. Conditional formatting from within these programs can include or exclude certain paragraphs, or insert specific sentences or words depending on information contained in a database.
On the high end are fully customized transactional documents that contain statistical information based on multi-level data sources. Supporting documents are either pulled in or omitted based on the data generated in the base document. The creation of these kinds of documents is part of the output process and can be quite complex in terms of specialized software and hardware requirements. Systems of this nature are often dedicated to one particular purpose.