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What is Algorithmic Direct Mail?

Written By Shannon Bailey

March 17, 2022

At More Vang, we believe in the technology of print—leveraging data, software, and hardware to facilitate more effective use of print. One of the ways we realize this is through Algorithmic Direct Mail™. Algorithmic Direct Mail utilizes the data you’ve collected to drive the language, images, offers, and format of your offline marketing. In a world that talks about variable data, we focus on variable content—directing every drop of ink to say something valuable to individual customers. But what exactly is Algorithmic Direct Mail, and how does it work? 

It helps to start by reviewing the meaning of “algorithm.” An algorithm is a documented series of steps which leads to the transformation of some data. The reason we call this service Algorithmic Direct Mail is because we create a data-driven, finite series of well-defined instructions to facilitate a fully customized piece of direct mail. Algorithms use logic to divert code through various routes to perform automated tasks. For direct mail, that means programming your data and mapping variable content to create and design your print piece.

While we can use Algorithmic Direct Mail to send one-off campaigns, we more often automate the workflow to allow for more reliable and efficient print management. In either case, the programs work the same way.

Templates, Assets & Rules

There are three core concepts that explain the set-up of Algorithmic Direct Mail: templates, assets, and rules.

A template is the print deliverable with areas for customizable content. This is the piece we will program. It can be anything from a postcard or self-mailer to specialty packaging. 

Assets are the text, offers, or images in your art that you can customize based on your data. For example, if your purchase history data shows that customer A recently bought toothpaste and customer B recently bought shampoo, their postcards may both include a discount offer, but it would be for two different items, and the other images and language would reflect the different purchases.

The rules are really the heart of Algorithmic Direct Mail—or maybe the brain is a better comparison. Rules are the instructions to inform the algorithm we program to map your data to your template. We also use rules in automated workflows to inform the flow of data and timing of the campaigns.

Using Algorithmic Direct Mail 

You’d be surprised by the number of projects we manage that benefit from the customization and automation that comes with Algorithmic Direct Mail. Customer invoices, membership renewals and welcome experiences for new employees are just a few examples. One data file has an incredible amount of information with the ability to convert simple personalization to more tailored content for a more relevant user experience. 

To read more about how our clients are using Algorithmic Direct Mail to increase engagement and response rates, check out the blog posts below.

If you’re ready to get started on your next Algorithmic Direct Mail project, give us a call.