Are W2P and 1:1 Data-Driven Personalization the Same Market?

By | December 11, 2012

Two weeks back, I wrote a post based on my phone conversation with Jacob Aizikowitz, founder and president of XMPie, who has a difference of opinion from me on whether ultra-short-run batches or “personalized” one-off projects driven from W2P portals should be considered variable data printing like 1:1, database-driven personalized jobs are.

I ended that post by asking, “Does the distinction matter?” and asked for Digital Nirvana readers’ opinions.  This morning, I received a very interesting and detailed response from one reader that I think is worth sharing.

Here is what Phillipe Cardyn had to say:

I think the distinction does matter. For the record: we are XMPIE customers and use Jacob’s excellent software for both applications. But both are sold by two distinct sales teams in very different contexts and processed by different production teams to be sent to the same digital presses as described.

The ‘interaction driven’ VDP come from distributed marketing platforms: online applications that we build and market to meet the needs of a brand owner seeking to leverage the communication power of his sales and distribution channel by giving them access to ready-to-use templates. Very often, these materials are produced in multiple versions (= customized to the user ordering a particular set of documents) but not necessarily personalized (= addressing the individual recipient, potential buyer). The print jobs coming from these platforms can sometimes be batched, but the resulting batch size is often small.

Marketing, evangelizing and selling this is quite different story from the sales pitch for direct mail solutions (rules-driven VDP) where we don’t need an online application but efficient processes and services to produce the right VDP job in time (one large batch) to be mailed, handled, and shipped according to our customer’s instruction.

So yes, we use the same tools for both, but we don’t sell them to the same customers at the same price.

You’ve read both sides of this issue. What’s your experience? Does the distinction between interaction-driven (W2P) “VDP” and rules-driven VDP matter? Or are they really flip sides of the same market?


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8 thoughts on “Are W2P and 1:1 Data-Driven Personalization the Same Market?

  1. Joe Manos

    Yes…Same tools different applications of the technology with distinctly different use cases.

    BUT the 1:1 Data Driven Personalization World is rapidly changing and evolving into a Marketing Automation World where each prospect has a distinct response/life both short and long-term.

    This includes robust drip marketing and nurturing programs tied to the CRM so I would say their is a third dimension that goes beyond both of the examples stated BUT include VDP as one of the touch points in the program.

    Another layer to research and write about Heidi.

  2. Greg Cool

    I believe they are two different animals because they are initiated from opposite ends of the spectrum. W2P is a portal for end users to order various products to fulfill a need. 1:1 Data Driven is initiated from a need for your customer to market effectively to their audience, those end users per say. This isn’t to say that a 1:1 project can’t reside on a W2P portal, just that they have different agendas. They both may be produced in a similar workflow on the same equipment but the desired outcome is entirely different.

  3. Chuck Gehman

    I’m not sure the question is written properly, but yes– a personalized print job that starts with a customer interacting with a web2print system is no different than a job that starts on the workstation of an employee inside the plant.

  4. Jim Daly

    Heidi, one is a “pull” process – a product ordering portal; the other is a “push” process, VDP data-driven personalization. The portal processes orders, VDP generates orders.

    For the ordering portal, the driver is the user experience (ease of ordering and finding the right product). For VDP it’s getting the right message to the the customers at the right time.

    Phillipe’s comment about batching is especially significant because it determines the entire workflow of the process. As systems analysts will tell you, start at the end and work your way to the beginning.


  5. Leonardo Carvalho

    Marketing is everywhere and I think that tools are tools. They just lead you to where you wanna go. The most important is the strategy. You can get data in a 1:1 vdp printing or in chat in a coffe break. So we are discussing tools or how to delivery value to market?

  6. Heath Cajandig

    A key issue in this discussion is that most W2P solutions make the assumption that the web user has the data available in a file when a significant number of records will be used. This is a big assumption that in my opinion has resulted in W2P solutions that demo well and look good in theory but aren’t practical for a real data driven application of measurable size.

    Connecting W2P systems to other systems that have authoritative data with the right context for the user is critical for the right experience and it is missing in most cases. A franchisee in the food service industry, for example, should be able to select a print application and automatically have the relevant data for their area(s) passed to the application for ordering. They should not need to get that information on their own if the data exists in a system. People don’t send large data driven variable jobs, businesses do. And anytime the person ordering needs to get a list from their IT organization or another error prone process it becomes much harder. I raise this point because if it worked the way it should this question would be different.

    Connecting the variable application to the system of record for data with the right filters based on who the shopper is means that the data is correct and easily combined and managed with other orders using the same data structure and print application.

    For single personalized orders, outside of corporate identify products like business cards and stationary, I think the customer segment is so different that they really are a different category of print product.

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