30% Better Results Fast | Direct Mail Marketing Strategy

What’s Better:  saving 30% on your marketing costs OR getting 30% better results?

In the Casino Direct Marketing world the answer is always mathematically about getting the 30% better results.  30% better results means more guests in your hotel and more people gambling and enjoying your food and beverage.

Better Results Profit Math

math is your guide

The Math provides the answer to this question but if $5000 normally earns you $50,000 in gaming revenue then you are better off spending $500 more to get a greater return than you are saving $1500.

To survive the economic downturn we looked for ways to save money and cheaper vendors looks like easy savings, however your response rates and profits have dropped as the cheaper vendors delayed projects, had higher levels of mistakes and didn’t keep you up with technology and marketing advances that bring more guests.

Marketing is not a commodity, make vendors compete for highest response, not lowest cost.

The services look similar but our recipe is different!  Our customers have seen 30% increased response rates working with us after switching from other vendors.  They always wonder what we do different and it really is just how we approach the problems.  Cheap print does not increase response in any way. We are a direct marketing company disguised as a direct mail printing company.  We look at your data differently. We look at your offers differently.  We care about every single record and every single piece and how it affects response.

As your direct mail partner we affect response in a positive way.
That is our reputation with customers that switch to CSG Direct Mail.

30% cheaper no longer possible
We really have found the bottom price in the last 2 years.  Many vendors are closing their doors now as the “going price” is below the cost of doing business. The people still offering that price are doing so hoping in the long hall they are the last plant standing and then can raise their rates back much much higher. In the meantime a lot of industry talent is getting crushed and destroyed by this horrible industry direction.

When the current price becomes the norm you can’t find 30% more savings so this exercise has played out and is no longer a future option. Cheaper vendors don’t have better ideas, an R&D budget or talented people on staff or they wouldn’t be the cheaper vendors.

It’s the dumbing-down of an important industry as your vendors shed the most talented employees to save costs in order to survive with the lower bids.  Eventually you end up with untalented companies with beaten down equipment as your primary vendor and that is not going to bring you more guests or better ideas.

It’s time to reverse course and get better results
Lower costs vendor picking is lazy and unproductive in the end. The goal now is to quit looking for the lower costs and start looking for the best results. Better Results means more income, prosperity, more guests and job security.  That the big picture everyone wants, right?

Would you know how to gauge Better Results?
The biggest difficulty most teams have with the “Better Results” scenario is that it is harder for them to demonstrate in a simple manner.  I mean, it’s easy to see 2 bids side by side when you get them but it is not as easy to see the end results side by side.  The best way really is to use each new vendor for 3 months to gauge their recipe and track the overall results with your post-formas.  It’s the easiest way to spot a deeper trend.  However there are really easy ways to tell during the interview process too.

Ask ALL vendors about response rates and what they do to improve results.
My goodness, shouldn’t everyone be doing that every month anyway. Some people are so focused on price they forget to keep up with competition by interviewing everyone for new ideas.  If during the process some vendors look like a deer in the headlights you will recognize that.  However, if given the opportunity to shine; the better vendors will give you all kinds of modern trends and ideas.

Better Results is the new goal and the only way forward
Once you figure out which vendors have the ideas and response growing tools… USE THEM! If you want those kinds of tools and better results in your arsenal you need to support those vendors to get better results.  Choosing cheaper vendors only encourages “cheap” and bankrupts “Better”.  Support “Better” with your purchasing dollars and Better Results is what you get.  Make it part of your overall strategy to find “better” and keep it on your team.

Even if you only give them half of your business you have just upgraded your whole marketing teams capabilities and results. If that costs you only 10-20% more than it is worth it’s weight in gold.

CSG Direct Mail is known for 30% better results, call on us to see the difference a focused marketing vendor makes. We have all kinds of tricks and tools of the trade. Tools like Variable Maps, Email and Cell phone capture add-ons, Data Append strategies, strategic mailing lists, direct mail delivery tracking, timing and so much more.

We’re fairly cheap too.

CSG Direct Mail is the Greatest Value in Direct Mail and known for 30% Better Results.

New Postage Rates January 2012

New Postage Rates effective January 22, 2012

We updated our systems for the new postage rates effective January 22, 2012.

New Postage Rates 2012
New Postage Rates 2012

We noticed that most of the non-profit rates went down in this cycle and the common rates like Standard Rate (old 3rd-class) 5-digit automation rates went up only .005 from .237 to .242 each.  That is an increase of only 2.1%, not bad considering the average increases over the years ranged from 7-12% in the 20 years I have been doing this.

Here is the Full Postage Rate Spreadsheet from the US Postal Service.
You’ll want to look at each of the many tabs inside the spreadsheet.

Here are some recent past years postage charts for reference:

New Postage Rates 2011

New Postage Rates 2009

New Postage Rates 2008

New Postage Rates 2007

When you see the hundreds of rates available to you through the US Postal Service you realize that people that understand postage best are most capable of helping you reduce your postage expenses. We can help you design a postage strategy that considers the postage rates as well as the expenses required to help you achieve those postage rates. Sometimes it can cost you a dime to save a nickel so you cannot just look at postage.  We consider everything!

Direct Mail people are “details people” because every detail matters. Postage and service maximizing is another great reason not to do your direct mail with a printing company.

GREAT MAILING LISTS: The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly

Mailing ListsThere are 3 types of mailing lists:  Consumer, Business, and Specialty.

Consumer Mailing List: People at home
This is the most accurate lists available due to electronic payments, website purchasing, magazines and more. Occupation codes can be obtained to find peoples job types such as: farmer, legal profession, medical, religious, educator, etc. But HR is not an option. If it was it would be to their homes and we would not know where they work.

Business Mailing List: About the Businesses
This list tends to be very inaccurate due to the high business closure rate (businesses with less than 20 employees have a 37% survival rate) and the methods they use to collect data are passive (Dunn and Bradstreet bites). When businesses close they never tell anyone besides creditors so most business mailing lists have large amounts of inaccurate data and dead mailboxes in them.

Business Lists contain data like:
• Number of employees
• Gross sales
• Years in business
• Facility square footage
(Much of this is estimated)
They do not have employees names or titles except perhaps that they are president/ceo or shareholders.

Specialty Mailing Lists: Built by groups, clubs, memberships and subscriptions
AMA, AAF, Chamber of Commerce, HR Clubs, all have mailing lists which they build manually or through membership or subscription. Only active members are considered accurate data after much experience. These lists are usually regional or local and protected by the group as the heart of their organization.

We usually don’t pursue each of these lists because they require months to get the right person and then to get higher ups to approve the sale or rental of their lists. These lists are usually 50% inaccurate too since they don’t have aggressive list updating policies.

There is just not a good national source of Consumers IN Businesses combined. There is only 3 ways to get someones name and title at the business they work at.

1) Business reports it’s employees names and titles to mailing list compilers regularly
(nobody does this)
2) Employee signs up for something for work like AAF, AMA, facebook or magazines
(inconsistent / unreliable / hard to get / protected)
3) Direct phone calls to identify best contacts for departments
(our best recommendation for HR)

There are vendors that sell HR Mailing lists but we have seen enough. These inadequate companies that we cannot endorse unless we know how they compile & update their lists. That research would cost much more than what we proposed and guaranteed less accurate and more expensive overall.

We want you to be successful and that is how we decide what we recommend for you! Your success is how we gauge our success.

I’m a Digital Variable Data Printing Press Operator and Technician

The people that ask what I do for a living are frequently taken aback by my initial, truncated answer.

I’m a Digital Press/Machine Operator and Technician for a company called CSG Direct Inc.

Such conversations tend to go one of two ways at this point:
Those that have seen our commercial, usually hilariously start singing the jingle to me.
Those that haven’t often question the nature of what I do or ask, “What is that”?

The longer I work at CSG Direct, the more I’m finding the most appropriate and accurate answer to the second question. I think I’ve narrowed it down to a clear and concise execution of verbal symmetry:

We’re not only in the business of Direct Mailing, We are the future of Direct Mail!

It is, all too frequently, easy to write this off as your standard brainwashed stock phrase and go with the reductive viewpoint of Direct Mail being the junk mail that you ask for as unfortunately, this is what I find most people presently understand it to be.

However, people’s minds begin to open to the idea of what’s involved when I tell them I can expand no further upon the nature of my work as sensitive information is involved.

My experience has taught me that this is important and priceless (both in the short and long run) in an age where competitors (telemarketers and maverick consultants) flippantly use Client/Vendor biometrics in a way that’s arguably fiscally and ethically invasive and offensive.

The team at CSG Direct Inc. aims to either refine these crude attempts into something valuable or make such situations a thing of the past. Value. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.

That is why we, as a company can afford to make the ostentatious claims; because we get the job done, efficiently, timely, respectfully and in a manner that keeps all-around satisfaction at a high.

I Print. Therefore, I am. Still, I’d like to leave you with the idea that whatever may happen to come off my machine, if it has your name on it, it will be something that you can value. It’s not just MY focus it’s ours.

Regards,

Data Tips: Deduping and Suppressing

Cleaning a database of dedupes is one of the simplest ways to maximize its efficiency for your data marketing needs. This includes many small steps, but two are imperative when mailing to your customers.

The first is deduping. Deduping is simply the process of removing duplicate records. There are several different options you can choose to go by when deduping, this allows your marketing campaign to be as efficient and direct as you would like. For example, here is a list of deduping options that CSG offers.

One Per Individual Deduping

Individual Exact – This matches the address, first and last name, and zip code. So, if there is a Bob Smith at 123 Liberty Lane in your list twice one will be exported out of your list.

Individual Tight – Compares the same as above, but those that sound alike, such as: Christopher Ryan at 123 Liberty Lane, Chris Ryan at Liberty Lane or Jonathan Smith or John Smith. These are considered the same person and therefor a dedupe.

Individual Exact and Tight deduping comes in handy when your mailer has individual offers like the example below.

John Smith at 150 Freedom Dr. gets 100 bonus points
Sally Smith at 150 Freedom Dr. gets 120 bonus points

Although both live at the same address, they both have different first names therefor are not deduped out by using Individual Exact and Tight. This allows you to market to multiple people within a single household. Furthermore, you can market variable offers to every unique individual inside your data list.

One Per Household Deduping

Resident Exact – Dedupes the list by address and zip code only. So regardless of name if two or more records have the same exact address all but one record will be exported out of the main list.

Family Tight – Compares the last name, address, and zip code. This catches and slight variation of spelling that may occur between dedupes.

For example:
John Smith, 123 Liberty Lane, Apt B302
John Smith, 123 Liberty Lane

The above is a dedupe, although one of the above addresses contains an apartment number, the bottom record must be deleted in order to prevent the targeted clientele receiving multiple mailers for the same marketing campaign.

Resident Exact and Family Tight are handy for generic mailers that don’t have variable offers. There is really no need to send a mailer to everyone in a household for the same event, not only is it over marketing and annoying to those receiving the offer, but it is a waste of print and postage expenditures.

One Per Company Deduping

Company Exact – Much like Individual Exact with the exception that it compares the Company Name instead of the First and last along with the address/zip code.

Company Tight – Matches Company names that sound alike and have the same address/zip code.

For example:
Flag Makers Incorporation, 123 Freedom Way Suite 202
Flag Makers Inc. 123 Freedom Way Suite 202

This is obviously a dedupe, but wasn’t picked out by Company Exact because “Incorporation” was abbreviated in one and not the other.

Company Exact and Tight is only used when a list contains a company field.

There are instances where you will have First and last name fields along with a company field. This opens the possibility that several individuals at the same company and address will be in your list. Whether you want each of those instances to be mailed to will be entirely up to you.

Suppression

Suppression is when two different data lists are deduped against each other; whether it be Individual Exact, Resident Exact, etc.

This is typically utilized when you don’t want to mail to customers that were previously mailed to in recent marketing campaign.

So you can see that there is a lot that can be done to with these two data processes that can save you some big bucks, prevent your mailers from annoying your targeted audience, and ultimately insuring that you are getting the best out of your data.