This is my first blog, so bear with me whilst I find my feet.  What I really want to throw out for discussion is Variable Data printing or Variable Information.  It has had a few names over the last 10 years but i guess what I am referring to is a basic principle, that of personalisation.

Let’s set the stage, it must be over 15 years since the first mail merge applications where run by the pioneering printers of the time… Wait, lets not be so creative here, it wasn’t the printers or the designers but the office users who really started this trend, more out of necessity than from a value creation perspective, but it did create value.

So, what is my point here?  One thing we all hear a lot about today is how the relevance of print as a medium for communication is under threat, and how much of the marketing budget we spend on it and how we the consumers of the world do not have time for print, do not care for print and have a green conscience.  There probably is a degree of truth to some of these statements but only loosely.

As the economy rises and falls in these turbulent times what we spend our marketing budget on is ever more relevant, has ever more focus from senior management right?  So, what can we as printers, yes I consider myself a printer too, do about this.  Do we let one opportunity to reach out to our customers in a relevant, meaningful way slip us by?  Do we ride the wave of the new technologies like personalised Universal Resources Locaters (PURLS), utilise the power and coverage of the mobile telephone network with relevant text messages and fill the inbox of our future and current customers with e-mail?

The answer is yes to all of them.  Print has a place in our culture that will long outlast the current technology crazes. 

But how do we as printers utilise the technologies we have already, the technology of mobile communications and the ever growing power of the World Wide Web?

– JW