I'm currently using Data Merge once a year on an association directory project I do, and to do stack imposed tickets for an annual charity event. I've used it in the past for putting together a "jury packet" of photos and descriptions of artwork submitted to a museum show that got sent out for review (this sort of thing used to be done with slides). Most people I know use it for mailing lists and addressing some sort of mail pieces, but I've also heard users here describe it as a way to do business cards for large organizations.
hello peter.seems like an interesting feature,too bad i dont have exercise files to follow on the tutorial.but ill be looking into it in future.
it's one of indesign's hidden gems which is often unexplored.
my employer uses it to generate everything from catalogues, diaries, business cards, targeted mail campaigns, raffle tickets.
however, using data merge "out of the box" doesn't do much - it is once it is combined with GREP styles, using DM to import pictures, and taking advantage of excel formulii to build useful instructions as to what to do with the data that data merge becomes useful.
IMHO data merge is better for many individual pieces such as business cards or raffle tickets rather than catalogues... for catalogues i'd suggest using XML, despite the steep learning curve associated with XML based publishing.