There are lots of great marketing ideas for veterinary practices. But the one that continually serves as a key ingredient in any successful marketing strategy is variable data printing. VDP, as it’s commonly known, is a type of digital printing that allows businesses to personally connect with their customers. It enables mass customization or highly targeted mailings without slowing down the printing process. For example, you could create one direct mail campaign, but the text and/or images on each printed piece would speak to your recipients individually. That type of customization will not only make your customers happy, it will also raise your response rates and boost your ROI.


Let’s take a closer look at how VDP can help shape your veterinary practice marketing strategy.


Here’s How Variable Data Printing Works


veterinary practice marketing strategyVariable data printing begins with one core design on a printed piece that features both static elements and variable fields. All the static elements will remain the same on each piece, but the variable fields will change based on the information you have in your database. So you can change the text and/or images in the mailing based on the intel you have about each recipient. That’s where VDP thrives. The more information you have about your recipients, the more you can customize. Does it matter? Do your customers (or potential customers) really care? Absolutely.


The biggest difference between VDP and traditional printing is personalization. Customizing a marketing campaign with a person’s name is always a great idea, but there’s so much more. Now it’s also about what your customer values. That’s why you need to know as much as you can about your customers. The more ways you can personalize an offer, the better.


That Being Said … Don’t Overpersonalize


OK, so we’re touting the benefits of VDP and personalization. But here’s a quick word of caution. Put yourself in the consumer’s shoes. Sometimes too much of a good thing comes off as “creepy.” There’s a difference between knowing a thing or two (or three) about your customers and stalking them. If your mailer has a “too much information” vibe, scale it back a bit.


Variable Data Printing Produces Direct Mail Results


Naturally, you want proof that VDP is all it’s cracked up to be. So let’s talk about personalization. The pet industry is full of customized products. Tactipup, for example, makes dog collars and harnesses with your best friend’s name boldly stitched on it. Puppo will put your pup’s picture on the front of their bag of custom-made dog food. Pumpkin Pet Insurance offers personalized coverage options for your dog or cat. They all do this with good reason. Just check out some of these personalization statistics.


  • Almost 90% of consumers say that personalized marketing influences their purchasing decisions.
  • Nearly all marketing professionals admit that personalization is important for meeting their marketing goals.
  • Almost 75% of consumers would rather buy from brands that use personalized marketing methods.


There’s no question that a personalized direct mail piece is much preferred to a non-personalized campaign. When you have the data to personalize your data-driven marketing campaigns, there’s no good reason not to. Plus, you’ll increase your response rates.


Variable Data Printing Leads to Increased Response Rates


The personalization statistics are impressive enough, but there are other benefits, too. Ultimately, you want responses—and sales. Which means you need to get your customers and their pets into your office for a visit. You need to sell them on a type of medication or food or even an accessory that will make their lives better. You need to let them know you’re there for them whenever they need you for a medical issue or health advice.


Variable data printing is the key to better veterinary practice marketing because it leads to increased response rates. Thanks to personalization, the response rate of a VDP campaign is 300% higher than a “generic” mailing with no personalization.


Customize Your Veterinary Practice Marketing Offers


veterinary practice marketingVariable data printing provides a host of benefits for your veterinary practice. One of the most popular is that VDP allows you to customize your direct mail campaigns for each recipient. That puts your business at an immediate advantage over any other veterinary practice that’s not using it. As we mentioned earlier, however, you will need to have some information about your recipients. It’s impossible to speak to them directly or respond to their needs if you don’t know anything about them or their pets. Your available data will serve you well.


So, let’s say you want to send a guide to your customers about the dangers of heartworm. In other words, you’re selling them on heartworm prevention. This particular campaign is directed to those customers that have not yet put their dogs on heartworm medication. Instead of producing 2,000 copies of one booklet, VDP allows you to print 2,000 unique booklets with a customized message for each one of your customers. So, on the front cover, you could say:


Prepared for John Smith and Fido.


Throughout the booklet, you could include customized references to both the owner and the dog.


Let’s look at another example. Say you want to send appointment reminders to those customers who are scheduled to bring their dog or cat in for a yearly checkup. Based on the type of animal they have—even the specific breed they have—you can customize the mailing with an image of a dog or cat (or a Pitbull or Siamese). You could do the same for any type of animal you treat. If you want to take it to another level, you could even feature a picture of Fido or Fluffy, if you have their images in your database. Of course, the message itself is also open to customization. You could customize the customer’s name, the pet’s name, the pet’s gender, etc. That’s the power of VDP.


Banfield Pet Hospital Uses VDP Personalization


VDPBanfield Pet Hospital, which boasts more than 900 locations across the continental U.S. and Puerto Rico, used some of the aforementioned tactics to thank their customers. They also established a foundation for future business. Banfield sent a 6″ x 11″ postcard using “smart personalization.” On the front, in large letters, it said:


Long Live Kit Kat


There was also an image of a brown tabby. In the spirit of full disclosure, Kit Kat is not a brown tabby, but she is a cat. This is an effective strategy, but imagine the impact the postcard would have if it had a matching breed or better yet, a photo of Kit Kat herself. Nevertheless, it’s a compelling example of VDP in veterinary practice marketing.


Here’s the copy on the back of the postcard. The customizations are in bold type:


Thanks for choosing Banfield. We’re here to help.


We just wanted to say thanks for coming in for your recent visit and for trusting us to care for Kit Kat. We’re always going to be here for you and Kit Kat. It’s our genuine belief that preventive care helps pets thrive and provides peace of mind that benefits both people and pets.


This is why we created Optimum Wellness Plans®. They’re our one-of-a-kind, comprehensive care program that makes it easy to provide your pets the health care they need through every stage of life. Our convenient and affordable plans feature ongoing preventive care for a longer, healthier life.


We have people here to help you with any questions you may have about Kit Kat and the right preventive care she needs going forward! We want our partnership to get off on the right paw and be a long, successful journey together.


The back of the postcard also featured an image of a dog and cat (awww), plus two CTAs: a toll-free phone number and Banfield’s website URL.


The postcard featured three references to the animal’s name and one mention of her gender—all while saying thank you and promoting future business. This type of marketing demonstrates to the pet owner that Kit Kat is more than just another animal in the appointment book. It’s a personalization tactic that shows how much Banfield cares about their customers.


Veterinary Practice Marketing: Create Your Own VDP Campaigns


Now that you’ve learned why variable data printing is the key to better veterinary practice marketing, it’s time to get started with your own direct mail campaigns.


MSP is a full-service direct mail marketing company with more that 65 years of experience. We know VDP inside out and we’d love to talk with you about how we can help you improve your veterinary practice marketing efforts. Contact us today to talk about your marketing goals.

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