Want A/B Testing on Steroids? Try Variable Data Printing

If your marketing team struggles with ways to effectively reach and influence a broad audience, they might land on A/B testing, also called split testing. It’s one way to compare two versions of a marketing campaign.

We know of a brilliant tool that’s literally perfect for A/B testing a print campaign: your printer’s VDP (Variable Data Printing) capabilities. With the right team of digital print experts, you can use A/B testing models to segment your customer data and try different ads or sales concepts across your entire list.

A lot of people fail to recognize VDP as a valuable marketing tool that can help you analyze a specific offer.

A variable print job is quick, since digital printing by nature is turned around fast. You don’t need to split your entire list and send one offer (version A) to the control group and another offer (version B) to a second group. That can still be done down the line – but why not test out your offer to a small segment of your list first, using short-run VDP? The results are trackable in real time. When the results come in, analyze them against your historical data, and you’ll know if your offer should be rolled out across a broader segment of your list.

Here’s a hypothetical example of what we mean:

Let’s say you’re a general merchandise retailer who owns numerous department stores. You sell to many types of customers – both men and women, ranging from teenagers all the way up to senior citizens. You sell clothing and housewares, jewelry and cosmetics, furniture and specialty packaged food items.

Your sales data is extensive and granular, so you know, for example, not only that your sales to teenage girls are great, but also that they mostly shop on weekends. Your data also shows that sales to teenage boys are a lot weaker, and that they, too, tend to shop on weekends.

Why not test different offers to each segment – teen girls and teen boys – to try and increase your sales to each of them and maybe spread out these sales during other days of the week? Your goal would be to increase sales to these specific customers via special offers. If successful, you’d then make the same offers to all of your other department stores.

If you work with your variable print experts and look at the data you’re collecting on both segments, you could devise something like a frequent buyers program for this particular group of customers. You’d come up with different offers for each list (teen girls and teen boys), including special offers to entice them to shop during the week. The boys would get a different offer since sales to them are weaker.

If your data’s good enough and your VDP partners strategic enough, you can create these printed offers – as ads, postcards, brochures, and so on – and test out these offers rather quickly. The data (results) come in, gets analyzed to see how successful each offer was, and based on these results, you can then roll out the offers to other stores.

The beauty of VDP is that you can produce the work across whatever method makes sense – inkjet messaging, different imagery, some produced on digital equipment and some inline on larger presses. Using VDP for your A/B testing up front gives you the ability to select the production process that will be the most successful for you when you roll out the offers on a broader scale.

Maybe this idea will make the perfect holiday gift you can give your marketing team – let them know the power of VDP as an A/B testing tool. We have, on staff, renowned VDP experts who can help you create messaging that you want and decide on the perfect format for your A/B test.

In the end, it’s all about getting the right message to the right person. You wouldn’t send your senior citizen customers a special offer for steep discounts on every purchase of Twilight Forever: The Complete Saga, would you? But send that offer to the right target – teenage girls – and watch sales of these Blu-Ray discs go through the roof.

Use VDP to help you test out your data and target the right audience with the right message. We’re here to help and look forward to having that conversation, contact us to learn more about VDP for your business.

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