The Wufoo Blog

How to Use Wufoo for Variable Data Printing

By Chris Coyier · March 23rd, 2011

My mom is a sales rep for a printing company and she shared a cool trick with me about how she likes to use Wufoo forms to convince her customers to try out variable data printing (VDP), which is a type of digital printing where each printed piece is different from the next. If your business utilizes print materials for customer communication (think direct mail, postcards, brochures, etc), VDP should be of great interest to you because reports indicate that a variable data campaign will get twice the regular ROI when the basics are used (e.g. name callouts) and up to ten times or more for fully customized pieces. Which makes sense because targeted messages to qualified leads = the best marketing you can do.

The Basics

The concept is really simple. The press literally reads data from a provided database, makes decisions about what to print and where, and then prints each piece uniquely. For instance, see the parts circled in red below. Each of these areas could be different depending on the provided data.

Variable Data Printing

An example everyone is familiar with is for something like a catalog where people’s addresses are printed onto the back cover, and each address is of course unique to the person receiving it. Of course, you can get as fancy as you like and have the entire printed piece different from the last. New text, new graphics, new everything.

How Wufoo Can Help

Wufoo can help you actually collect this data directly from potential customers as well as provide it to your printer.

Step 1: Create a form that captures the information you need. Asking a few simple questions can go a long way in customizing a print piece.

Wufoo Form to Variable Data Printing Map

Step 2: Collect information. Wufoo forms all have unique URL’s you can send people to, perhaps via your company’s social media outlets. They also can be embedded directly on your website.

Step 3: Export information. Wufoo makes it easy to export every bit of data a form has ever collected into spreadsheet format, which is exactly what your printer will want the data provided to them in.

Export Entries to Spreadsheet

And that’s it!

Variable data jobs are great because the chance of customers being happy with the results is pretty high. As a printer, helping customers get set up collecting information through Wufoo is a win for them (it’s easy) and a win for you (empowers more print jobs). If you’re interested in learning more, the most common variable data digital printers in my experience are the Kodak NexPress and the HP Indigo. These presses will eat a variable data job for breakfast.

This entry was posted 3 years ago and was filed under Tips & Tricks. Comments are currently closed.

Comments

  1. Amazing!

    Posted 3 years ago by Sean.
  2. Everyone needs a hug.

    Posted 3 years ago by Rajesh.
  3. Wufoo Forms is great, however for me a couple of area that could be improved are:

    • export field name (In the form setup allow the designer to override the field names. This makes it much easier for importing the exported file into a database, expecially if you do it more than once)

    • report to PDF (for multi-page reports, it would be nice to be able to download a PDF output instead of having to print / go to next page of output, then print - etc.

    Keep up the good work.

    Posted 3 years ago by Rick Papke.
  4. I would love to see someone choose kitchen + pillows and be asked if they would like discount pillow for their long cooking nights ;)

    Posted 3 years ago by Rich.
  • Search

  • About

    The Wufoo Blog is the official online publication written by the developers of Wufoo about their online form builder, form-related technologies, and whatever else may fit their fancy—like robots.

  • Archives