We offer several easy-to-use, state-of-the-art
variable-data-printing (VDP) solutions.
to get details and pricing for all of them.
Free demo versions of VDP software are available so you
can try before you buy. Pricing starts at just $769.00 US.
We offer a FREE consulting service to help you choose the right VDP software for
your technical requirements and budget.
We offer financing
for purchases of $3,000.00 or more.
QUESTION: What is "variable-data printing and publishing"?
ANSWER: "Variable-data printing" is a form of
on-demand printing in which
all the documents in a print run are similar but not identical.
For example, if you are printing personalized letters to be mailed to
your customers, each document probably has the same basic layout,
but there is a different customer name and address on each letter.
When you use your word-processing software to do a mail merge, you are
doing a simple form of variable-data printing.
These days, variable-data printing can go far beyond printing
different names and addresses on a document. There are systems that
let you insert different graphics into a document, change the
layout and/or the number of pages, print a unique bar code on each
document, use color extensively. . . and more.
The concept of creating variable-data documents has been extended
to non-paper documents such as PDF
documents and HTML
documents. The term "variable-data printing and publishing"
(or just "variable-data publishing") encompasses
both paper documents and on-line documents.
Software for doing variable-data printing and publishing is
sometimes referred to as "VDP software."
Variable-data printing and publishing is known by several other names.
Some of them are:
Because VDP software is
often used to create documents for promoting and selling
products & services, the terms
- personalized printing
- personalized publishing
- customized printing
- customized publishing
- database publishing
- one-to-one (1:1) communication
- one-to-one (1:1) publishing.
are often used in connection with VDP software.
- direct marketing
- one-to-one (1:1) marketing
If you'd like to learn more about variable-data
printing and publishing, continue reading below.
If you'd like to find a variable-data printing/publishing
solution (VDP software) that will meet your technical requirements and budget,
If you'd like to learn about how Citation Software
can help you set up your own variable-data-printing/publishing
system, click here.
BASIC FACTS ABOUT VARIABLE-DATA PRINTING AND PUBLISHING
Usually, people think of variable-data printing and publishing in
connection with marketing. You probably see an example of this every
month when you receive your credit-card statement. Do you find
advertisements for discounts and special promotions in the envelope
with your statement? Most likely, your credit-card company doesn't
send information about the same discounts and promotions to all of
their customers. Instead, they analyze the buying histories of their
customers; and they send information about discounts and promotions
for specific products and services to customers that are likely
to be interested in those particular products and services.
The credit-card companies use
variable-data-printing systems to print these customized advertisements.
- a certain
customer might receive information about discounts and promotions for
music, casual clothing, and sports equipment
- another customer might
receive information about discounts and promotions for jewelry, wines,
and fine dining
- still another customer might receive information about
discounts and promotions for computer hardware, computer software, and
Variable-data printing and publishing shows up in
other areas of our lives as well. Here are some other examples of
variable-data printing and publishing:
- Variable-data-printing systems are used to print labels
on retail products.
- Variable-data-printing systems are used to print license
plates for vehicles.
- Tickets and coupons are printed with variable-data-printing
- Insurance companies use variable-data-printing systems to
print policies, benefit booklets and other documents.
- Financial-services companies use variable-data-printing/publishing
systems to create transaction statements in hard-copy (paper)
format and in electronic (on-line) format.
- Citation Software's ReplyMailOnLine.com
Web site allows you to create customized, ready-to-print
Business Reply envelopes and postcards automatically.
(Click here to try out
that Web site for free.)
DON'T MAKE THESE EXPENSIVE MISTAKES!
If you're just starting to think about getting involved with variable-data printing,
it will benefit you to take the time to gain a basic understanding of the issues
outlined below. Paying attention to these issues can make the difference
between a successful attempt to make money with variable-data printing and a
MISTAKE #1: Buying a new printer to do variable-data
printing and then buying variable-data-printing software later, after you already
own the printer.
It is very important to make sure that your software and your
printer are designed to work well together. If you don't do this, you might
end up with a system that is difficult to use or prints very slowly or — worst
case — does not work at all!
The issues that factor into a good match between software and printer for a
variable-data-printing system are quite
complex. For advice, look to a company such as Citation Software. We've been
involved with variable-data-printing technology since 1986, and we offer
a FREE consulting service to help you choose a software solution and a printer
that work together properly and are designed for the kinds of documents
that you plan to print.
Note, however, that you should not necessarily assume that you need to buy
a new printer to do variable-data printing. Depending upon your specific
requirements, you might be able to set up a profitable variable-data-printing
operation with the printer(s) that you already own.
MISTAKE #2: Assuming that in-line finishing
operations work the same way for both static and variable-data printing.
If you are printing static (i.e.,
non-variable) documents and performing finishing operations
in line (such as stapling or folding), don't just assume that everything will work the same
way when you start printing variable-data documents.
What happens behind the scenes
in a printer or RIP when you are printing variable-data
documents is very different than what happens
behind the scenes in the printer/RIP when you are printing static documents.
Because of this, you must choose your variable-data-printing software very
carefully — otherwise, you might not be able to do finishing operations in line.
A solution provider with variable-data-printing experience can offer guidance in this area.
MISTAKE #3: Buying software and/or printer
without testing them together.
Reputable software companies and reputable printer dealers will make an
arrangement for you to try before you buy — so you should test the
software that you plan to buy with the
printer that you own or plan to buy to make sure that everything works
the way it should. Do this BEFORE you spend any money on printer or software,
and be wary of any software company or printer dealer that is not willing
to make arrangements for you to do some testing before you pay for anything.
MISTAKE #4: Assuming that your printer dealer
understands variable-data-printing technology.
Many printer dealers lack an understanding
of variable-data-printing technology but are otherwise very competent.
If you're getting
advice from your printer dealer about which printer and/or
which software to buy, get a second opinion before finalizing your decision.
You should also be aware that some printer dealers will try to convince you to buy a
particular variable-data-printing application simply because it's the only
variable-data-printing application that they sell.
MISTAKE #5: Buying variable-data-printing
software that requires highly skilled personnel.
Understand that your operation will
probably be more profitable if you choose variable-data-printing software that is
easy to use.
There are many different variable-data-printing solutions available today. Some
have a easy-to-use, point-and-click interface; some do not have a point-and-click
interface but instead require scripting or programming; some have a point-and-click
interface that can be used for most tasks but require a little bit of scripting or
programming to do other tasks.
The relationship between profitability and easy-to-use software is simple to
understand. What it boils down to is that you'll have to hire somebody with
programming skills if your variable-data-printing software relies heavily on programming
or scripting; but if your variable-data-printing software allows most things to
be done by pointing and clicking with a mouse, all you'll need is a person with basic computer
skills and a knowledge of common document formats. Since programmers usually
demand higher salaries than people with basic
computer skills, you'll spend less money to set up new jobs if you don't need to
rely on a programmer.
MISTAKE #6: Assuming that software that's easy to use
is not as powerful as software that's hard to use.
This is a common misconception, and in many cases it simply isn't true! So don't
dismiss a particular variable-data-printing application because it seems
"too basic" unless you've taken the time to read and understand the
documentation that comes with the software.
MISTAKE #7: Not allowing enough time to do your
first variable-data-printing project.
In most cases, it is a mistake to assume that you can get your first variable-data-printing
job out the door the same day that your new printer and your new
variable-data-printing software arrive in your office. To protect your sanity
and to ensure that your deadlines can be met, accept the fact that you'll
experience a learning curve with virtually any variable-data-printing solution
— even if it is very easy to use.
Let our Wizard help you find the right product!
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