If a picture is worth a thousand words, is variable imaging 1,000 times better than variable text? Well, one of the beauties of writing for an online magazine is that we can explore and illustrate the integration of variable text and variable graphics right within the article, so this will allow you to draw your own conclusions.

In a recent article on precision marketing and zeroing in with impact we looked at how we can correlate heat zones, communities and wheat seed varieties and offer the right seeds to grain producers from different geographic areas. We see this type of direct marketing today and, of course, these projects are driven from a solid foundation of extremely accurate and versatile data.

If you read the article referenced in the preceding paragraph, you will know that, although there were some powerful variable data techniques discussed, they were entirely text-based. But what about variable imaging? How do we do that and how effective is it?

We see variable imaging used in two ways:

Pure Graphic

This would include graphics that relate specifically to an individual, such as a birthstone or zodiac sign or perhaps things related to a health condition or a sport etc. On the corporate side, you might vary the images for regional managers or dealers in your web content, or images could vary by relationships or industry types for customer and prospects. For both consumer and business to business marketing you could also see an image with a pinpoint on a map to denote a geographic location.

Combining Image and Text

We can also use images that are a combination of text and graphics. For example, we might take an image of a wheat field under clear blue sky with “Dave’s field, enjoying a yield of 125 bushels per acre!” written in white across the top. Or it could be something as simple as an image of a coffee cup with “Marty’s Mug from your friends at Knot-Not Twines”.

These are interesting ideas, but let’s take it to the next level and actually have a look at some variable imaging at Variable Imaging in Action.

We hope that you enjoyed visiting the Variable Imaging in Action demo pages. In case you did not get to see all of the individual demos, here is a re-cap:

Wheat and Corn Yields

The Wheat and Corn Yield (Seeds) demo shows how we can vary images by crop type, showing a wheat field or a corn field. Note that the upper limit on bushel per acre also changes by crop type. Lastly, we are also able to vary the picture of the seed dealer, based on the geographic location.

Smartphone Renewal

The Smartphone Renewal (Phone) demo illustrates a smartphone renewal offer from a fictitious mobile phone service provider. Note that the type of phone illustrated is based on the subscriber’s current choice of smartphone.

Veterinary Services

The Veterinary Services (Pets) demo shows how we can vary web content for your specific pet. I suppose if you had a dog, a cat and a budgie, we could do a group photo.

In addition, the page also included the pet’s name, which adds a personal touch.

Your Gemstone

The Gemstone (Gem) demo shows how we can vary the gemstone based on your birthdate information and also provide a complementary, personalized message.

It is also important to note that in the foregoing examples, we asked you to provide the data. While you can acquire and use variable data this way, variable data projects can also be driven by personalized URLs (pURLs) using accurate and dependable data sources, as in the example of the GroPro pURL that we also used in a recent article.

A picture can be worth a thousand words and, in this case, pictures have made it easy for us to demonstrate variable imaging at work (this is, provided you visited the Variable Imaging in Action microsite). Different direct marketing campaigns can use different tools and, while variable imaging may not suit every case, it can be a powerful asset for some programs. Now that you have seen it first hand, you can decide what value variable imaging might bring to your direct marketing applications.

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Dave Ward

Dave Ward is President of Highland Marketing and a proponent of intelligent direct marketing, which combines the practical elements of using the right mix of direct marketing services and Canada Post products together with options that serve to heighten engagement and improve overall ROI.

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