2012 Mobile Barcode Summer promotion

This year’s big summer promotion from the US Postal Service will offer a 2% discount for mail that sports a mobile barcode that sends consumers to e-commerce or personalized websites.

For the second year in a row, the USPS will be “giving money away” in July and August to demonstrate the value of physical mail in an increasingly digital world, and encourage its customers to try out technology linking physical mail to online content via mobile phone scanning codes.

BACKGROUND AND PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
The 2011 Mobile Barcode Promotion was successful in generating increased interest in the use of mobile technologies in direct mail. Mobile technologies continue to be one of the fastest growing marketing sectors, and mailer resources will be increasingly diverted to this medium. As technology changes the marketing landscape, the Postal Service must ensure that direct mail continues to be a relevant part of the marketing mix.

The 2012 Mobile Commerce and Personalization Promotion provides mailers with an upfront postage discount on qualifying Standard Mail® and First-Class Mail® letters, flats, and cards that contain a mobile barcode or similar print technology that can be read or scanned by a mobile device. The technology must lead the recipient to either:

1. A webpage that allows the recipient to purchase a product or service on a mobile device.
OR
2. A personalized URL, which leads to a web page that is unique to an individual recipient.

Registration Begins: May 1, 2012
Program Period: July 1 through August 31, 2012
Discount Amount: 2% of eligible postage. The mobile barcode discount is calculated in
PostalOne!® and applied to the mailing statement at the time of mailing.
Normal postage prices as listed in the published price schedule apply to
the mailing, and the discount is applied to those prices.
Eligible Mail Classes: Standard Mail® letters and flats
Nonprofit Standard Mail letters and flats
First-Class Mail® presort and automation letters, cards and flats

Program Registration: Participants and/or mail service providers must register on the Business Customer Gateway. Mailers agree to participate in a survey about the promotion. Registration opens May 1, 2012 and will continue throughout the promotion period.

MAILING SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS
Documentation/Postage Statement: Mailings must be submitted electronically via mail.dat, mail.xml or Postal Wizard.

Participating mailers will be required to affirmatively claim this promotion on electronic postage statement submissions. All mailpieces in a mailing statement must be eligible for the promotion. Note, the discount must be claimed at the time of mailing and cannot be rebated at a later date.

Mailing Date: Mail must be tendered for acceptance during the promotion period, July 1, 2012, through August 31, 2012. Qualified PVDS mailings that are verified and paid for by August 31, 2012, will be accepted at destination entry postal facilities through September 15, 2012.

IMB Requirements: Automation mailpieces must contain an Intelligent Mail barcode.

Postage Payment Method: Postage must be paid using a Permit Imprint, or Precancelled Stamp permit. Some Meter Permit mailings may qualify. OMAS and “Official Government Mail” mailings are not eligible for the promotion.

The two-dimensional barcode or similar print technology which takes a consumer to a mobile optimized site that either enables mobile commerce or is personalized for the recipient. All qualifying mail must contain a mobile barcode or equivalent technology that can read or scanned by a mobile device (this includes two-dimensional barcodes, tags, and watermarks). The mailpiece must also contain text near the barcode or image providing guidance to the consumer to scan the barcode or image. Additional requirements are listed below.

Mobile Commerce
If the barcode is used to facilitate mobile commerce:
• The destination web page(s) must contain information relevant to content of the
mailpiece, and some or all of the service(s) and/or product(s) advertised in the mailpiece
must be available for purchase on a mobile device.
• The destination web pages must reside on a web site platform that contains (or is deeply
integrated with) a checkout functionality so that consumers can complete the purchase of
the good or service referenced in the mailpiece through a complete mobile optimized
experience.
• Websites used for e-bill payment of prior purchases, or regularly scheduled payments
(weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, etc.) for goods and services are not eligible.

Mobile Personalization
If the barcode leads to a personalized website:
• For each mailpiece recipient, the web address is unique to the recipient, as is the content
of the web page.
• Unique web page content is based on relevant customer data such as prior behavior, life
stage, segmentation, and demographics.

REQUIREMENTS AT THE TIME OF MAIL ACCEPTANCE AND POST- MAILING
At Mail Acceptance: The mailer must provide a hard copy, unaddressed sample of the mailpiece showing the placement of the mobile barcode to the acceptance clerk. If a mailing contains mobile barcode mail from multiple mailers, a hard copy sample of each mailer’s
mailpiece must be presented. If mobile personalization is used, at least two samples must be submitted in order to demonstrate that the web addresses are unique to each recipient.

Post Mailing Requirements: All mailers who receive the discount must retain an electronic or hard copy sample of the mailpiece until October 31, 2012, and if requested by the Postal Service must forward such sample to the promotion program office.

The great thing about all this is that it WORKS! Our personalized Christmas card program got a 21% response rate. That was easy and fun! This program was creative, inexpensive and easy to execute. In the past this kind of campaign was intimidating for most people. But now you can enjoy the giant response rates and stay within your budget too.

We’re known for The Greatest Value in Direct Mail – Better Results Fast, Bonus Bucks, Free Online Advertising, and comprehensive Direct Mail programs. We live and breathe direct mail strategy, digital printing and results! You will get your greatest results right here! We have the testimonials, the skills and experience, you have a project. So Let’s do your next Direct Mailing Together!

Information provided by the United States Postal Service. Download the 2012 Mobile Commerce and Personalization Promotion Guide.

Digital Printing Can Be Green!

The call to be “green” is evident everywhere in our society. It is a great thing to be good stewards of the beautiful blue marble on which we live. At CSG Direct, we are always looking for new ways to enhance our green initiates. This can be a challenge in the direct mail and digital print industry, as we generate tons of paper and parts waste during our processes. It takes a bit of effort, research, and reaching out to partners to get it going, but it is easy to maintain and enhance once it is incorporated into a company’s processes.
And in some instances, it gives the company a chance to recoup a bit of the operating expenses.

Digital printers and presses have become much more environmentally friendly over the past few years. Most large printer manufacturers have green initiative programs for recycling parts and used consumables, which one can participate in for little or no cost. These printers are more energy efficient and are EnergySTAR® compliant which is always nice for a company’s energy costs. Toner technology has made huge progress with biodegradable toners that don’t require fusing oil, smaller particles that require less toner to be applied to the sheet and is easier for the printers internal parts which means less replacement and manufacturing of parts.

Recycling of paper, cardboard and plastic is huge in the print industry. In the printing process we receive paper wrapped in paper, plastic, or cardboard boxes. We cut paper to put into our machines to imprint and then trim it creating tons of paper waste. That’s a lot of material that would go to a landfill. Better to partner with a local company that recycles. They will usually provide large containers for recycling different materials and will pick them up when full.

Toner and ink cartridges are a huge cost for any printer and create a huge waste. There are many companies that will buy back various empty cartridges, pay for the shipping and send your company a nice check in the process. One just needs to set up a program to place the empty cartridges somewhere (usually on a pallet so it is ready to be shipped), and wait until you have a large quantity. Then, contact the company, get shipping labels, wrap the pallets, ship them and wait for the check. It’s a beautiful thing!

Recycling used printer parts is becoming more readily available and printer manufacturers are enhancing their recycling programs. Many new parts will come with return shipping labels to send back the old part with. Just replace the part, put it in the box and call for pickup. Again you are reducing waste at no cost to the company. In addition, one can purchase re-manufactured parts that are close to OEM parts at about 60 to 70% of the cost. You just return the used part to the company where you purchased the part. One usually has to pay shipping for this, but it is easily offset by the cost savings of the initial purchase.

There are many benefits to having a green program for your company. It is fairly easy to implement into your process and enhances over time. It will reduce environmental burdens, be attractive for potential customers, can be cost effective, and provide revenues back to your company. It’s a real win-win for all involved. And who doesn’t like that!

Direct Mail Trained Professional Certificates

Mail Value ProfessionalSerious direct mail professionals continue to learn everything they can about the past, present and future of direct mail.

The team at CSG Direct Mail takes our profession seriously.  We are not a printer ‘that mails too’. We are the prime example of direct mail professionals ‘that print too’.

We are professional direct mail trainers, equipment specialists, barcode nerds, and database marketing wizards. Nobody has the direct mail innovations that we continue to create here at CSG Direct Mail.

We are The Greatest Value in Direct Mail,
and proudly support our community.

Nevada Business Journal talks to Michael Hemphill

What is the worst criticism you have overcome?
Wow, good question! Overcome? Still battling? I know my weakness is my drive to invent that comes before all else. I appear aloof in social gatherings and have no patience for small talk or television. I struggle to take time out to enjoy social gatherings like I should.

Nevada Business Journal just posted me in their face to face section for February 2012.
Michael Hemphill Nevada Business Journalhttp://www.nbj.com/issue/0212/4/2521

Here is the text:
___

Michael Hemphill

CSG Direct, Inc.
President / CEO
Las Vegas & Reno
Number of Employees: 28
Years in Nevada: 18
Years with Company: 18

What do you like most and least about your industry?
Most: The industry moves much slower than technology so we are always able to create new systems and technologies to help our clients gain advantage. Least: The industry moves much slower than technology so the adoption rate of new ideas can be slow too.

What would you want your legacy to future generations to be?
I hope my legacy is an example of the American struggle and pursuit of the American dream to inspire people to reach for their own inner greatness.  Too many people settle for average existence because their parents and friends did too. Someone has to be a guiding light in every family and every neighborhood.  I hope to inspire people to be the light in the room no matter how difficult the dream is.

What is the best perk of your career?
I get to make a difference for some fabulous community businesses.

What business advice would you give someone just starting in your industry?
A business plan doesn’t matter if you don’t have customers.  Get your first customer first!  Follow your dream but keep your feet on the ground.  Remain humble and care about every client like the blessings they are.

What do you wish you would have learned at the beginning of your career?
Employee personality types. How to place the right employee type in the best job for them, where they would flourish the most.

What was the toughest lesson you’ve learned in your career?
Perfection is a journey to an impossible place that is still worth the journey.

What is the worst criticism you have overcome?
Wow, good question! Overcome? Still battling? I know my weakness is my drive to invent that comes before all else. I appear aloof in social gatherings and have no patience for small talk or television. I struggle to take time out to enjoy social gatherings like I should.
___

Thank You Nevada Business Journal!

Preparing Your Variable Mapping Mailpiece

Are you ready to use variable maps on your mailpiece to give your customers directions to your business? Great! Let’s learn how to set it all up to make it work!

DESIGN AND SPECS
Your first step is deciding exactly what you want your mailing to look like and getting CSG Direct Mail your information so we can output your maps.

1) Design your mailpiece and decide where your map will be placed

Design your mailpiece

Design your mailpiece

2) Measure your map area and send us the dimensions of the map area in inches or pixels

3) Choose your markers using the pdf provided below and send us the codes for both the START and END makers you would like
DOWNLOAD MapQuestMarkers

4) Provide us with your database and tell us what locations you’d like for START and END

5) We will create your variable maps

 

PULLING IT TOGETHER
If we are doing your mailing, you’re done!
All you need to do at this point is send us your artwork and we’ll take care of everything else!

If we are providing you with maps and you are doing your own mail outputs, follow the instructions below for variable output in InDesign.

1) Set up your file in InDesign, and link to your database using your variable program

2) Define and assign  your variable area however your program requires it

3) Place/link your map

4) At this point you will need to make sure that your map is scaled correctly for your variable area

Use the fitting command to do this

 

5) Once you have it looking the way you like, you can do your mail output

 

That’s all there is to it!


Raving's 14th Indian Gaming National Marketing Conference Day 3

Christine FariaWednesday February 1st, Today is our 3rd day at the Raving’s 14th Indian Gaming National Marketing Conference

So far this conference is one of the coolest conferences I have had the pleasure of attending. I would like to thank Dennis Conrad and the rest of the Raving team for partnering with CSG Direct Mail.  I would also like to send a special thanks to Christine Faria (seen here in magic mode) for everything she does to make the event magical for everyone.  We are big Raving fans of Chris.  : )

csg sponsor Raving's 14th Indian Gaming MarketingToday we had another workshop and it was my largest class of the week. Great way to end the week!  Casino marketing teams are blessed with so many options and so much data to work with.

This conference has me so excited!  We are on fire and everyone is excited to implement the fresh ideas learned from this conference.  Make sure you join us next year!

Here’s a link to the Raving Consulting Website