Happy Valentine's Day, Mr. Hamilton

While it’s nice to see my name written in rose petals (or in clouds or candies or footprints in the sand), by itself this form of personalization, though eye-catching, is not enough. Using variable data requires more than just a person’s name.

With a very small amount of information (for example, name, address, and account status) it is possible to create a much more effective document. As an example of what I have in mind, here is a mock-up of a direct mail postcard that uses a few variable components including:

  • A name and address
  • A map to the nearest sales location
  • A sales rep’s photo and contact information
  • A personalized URL (PURL) or QR code that brings the recipient to a populated form or some additional information.

This type of postcard layout is not a ground-breaking design. In fact, it’s pretty pedestrian. Some of these concepts have been in use for decades. It’s just that way too often the only variable design element in the documents I receive is my name.

So go ahead, feel free to spell out my name in M&Ms, airborne birds, or soccer balls, but make sure there is a compelling personalized message behind it.

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