New Postage Rates for 2014

New Postage RatesThe First-Class stamp will be 49 cents after the new postage rates begin January 2014. The US Postal Service has officially announced the postage rate increases for the 2014 mailing season. The Post Office has recently switched from doing large postage increases every 4 years to a smaller increase each year to keep up with costs and industry fluctuations.

The deadline for using the Full Service processing with the new intelligent mail barcodes is January as well.

We always publish a shortlist of the new postage rates:  (newest rates always posted here)

2014 NEW POSTAGE RATES

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CSG Direct Mail at Casino Marketing Conference

The Casino Marketing Conference is just around the corner.  Are you going?CasinoMarketingConference

CSG Direct Mail has been asked to present our triggered automated casino direct mail programs in the Casino Direct Mail session.

These programs send casino mailers hands-free directly from your player database to our presses for same day mailings with full personalization, variable free data fields, variable graphics and more.

The casino direct mail session takes place on Wednesday the 24th at 1:30 pm.
We’ll also be giving away some free automated direct mail certificates at our booth, so stop by.

In addition to the great lineup of casino industry sessions there will be keynote speakers, lifetime achievement awards, The Romero Awards and tons of networking.  If you are serious about gaming you will want to be at this conference.

We hope you can make it!!

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Direct Mail Company Expansion

CSG Direct Mail and Digital Printing is moving to a new facility in Reno Nevada.

Direct Mail Company Facility We are moving our operations into a great facility at 640 Maestro Dr #100, in beautiful Reno Nevada.

As a company that designs, prints and mails direct mail marketing for customers all over the country, we have many options as to where we operate.  We choose Reno, Nevada based on its location for distribution as well as its location for living.

Why Reno?

IDEAL FOR DISTRIBUTION: Reno-Sparks is on Interstate-80; just east of the San Francisco ship yards, in tax-friendly Nevada. Companies from all over the world use Reno as a major distribution point for the rest of the country.  Companies with major operations/distribution in our area include Amazon.com, Wal-Mart, Barnes & Noble, Microsoft, Intuit Software, JC Penny, RR Donnelly, Tesla, Apple and many more.

Reno is an ideal location for fast distribution across the country for our customers. We have tracked 2-3 day delivery to Texas and Colorado with standard mail.

Living alongside Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevadas, Reno is “The Biggest Little City”. People are drawn to this region for a better life and a place to flourish in a balance of work and play.

Where else can you work until 5 o’clock and by 6 o’clock be skiing, hiking, boating, riding, snowmobiling or rafting in beautiful mountains and forests?  Reno-Tahoe is an exceptionally rewarding place to live and work!

We are glad to call the Biggest Little City home. #BiggestLittleCity

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HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON DIRECT MAIL

Tami Jones from CSG Direct shares 5 tips on how to save money on casino direct mail marketing.

HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON DIRECT MAIL…   BUT DON’T JUST LOOK THERE!Tami Jones

As someone who has spent the better part of the last 20 years working in, around and with casinos regarding direct mail, I am often asked about the best way to cut costs from the direct marketing budget.  So…here’s my top 5 places to check costs.

1.    Re-investment – What percentage of theoretical win are you re-investing in your players?  You must look at your entire re-investment budget to answer this one.  What about special events?  Promotions?  Merchandise awards?  Direct Mail?  Others?  Are you considering all of these?  What are you getting back from your players in tracked play? If you don’t have the tracked play to justify your entire re-investment level, it’s time to make some changes.

2.    Target Audience – Are you mailing to the correct people?  There is a large portion of your database, on the high and low ends of play, that just shouldn’t be included in your regular direct mail loyalty programs.  Need to know who they are?  Call Amy at Raving and she’ll send Nicole Barker out to help you find them.

3.    Inactive Players – Are you going back too far in your database to find “active” players?  You know your property better than anyone else.  Are you a locals casino?  A regional drive-up destination?  A national stop-over?  Define an active player and include only those people in your monthly loyalty program.  Move inactive players into a recovery program and mail to them accordingly.  If you don’t get them back from there, they now become your best prospects.

4.    Mail Piece Type – Are you sending a 12 x 18 self-mailer with 16 coupons, scored, perfed and folded 6 times?  Is that the most cost-effective mail piece for your purpose?  Do you require your players to bring in coupons?  If not, why are you spending the money to print and perf coupons?  Is there a lot of fluff copy and graphic content in your mailers?  If you cut that down, could you accomplish the same outcome with a smaller, easier and less expensive to produce mailer?  If you want to know the answers to these questions, ask your guests.  They’ll tell you, trust me.  Also, ask the opinion of co-workers outside the marketing department, they’ll tell you too!

5.    Liabilities – Do your players earn points? Comps? Freeplay? All of the above?  Cut yourself some slack.  Don’t keep your liabilities hanging out there without an expiration date.  Liabilities affect your budgets.  Keep it manageable.  If they don’t use it, they lose it, but you have to tell them…no secrets!

6.  Bonus Savings –  We are now in the information age, in case you missed it.  We’ve been here a while now.  Hopefully, you are gathering email addresses?  Start using them for people who want you to (sshhh, don’t tell my boss).  You may not be able to eliminate the physical direct mailer altogether, and I don’t believe you should, but you might be able to reduce the quantity somewhat if you have permission from the player.  Whatever the method of delivery, keep the data up-to-date and you will save money by not sending out offers that won’t ever get there.

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SQL Address Correction over the web (CASS)

I just wanted to share that we have finished building our Address Correction program to CASS certify records directly inside SQL over the internet.

We have deployed it into our daily triggered mailings so that every record a customer transfers to us is cleaned and updated to the USPS Addressing standards, zip+4 etc

We are updating Canadians in the same pass.

To Expand on the possibilities…
This means that we could connect this CASS program directly into a timed process with any customer to clean their internal databases as well.

What if a Casino uploaded their new signups to us each day, me cleaned and mailed them, then they import those database changes back into their system?  This would be easy to do at this point.  Too easy.

I would suggest going deeper and query:
SELECT TOP (1000) *
FROM dbo.PLAYERS
WHERE [ZIP] EXCLUDES *-*

They could send us 1000 records per day where zip+4 has not been coded.
This could be a nice daily cleansing ritual that runs Hands-Free and over the course of 30 days their database would be pristine. Plus it would continue to check for records to clean each day so it always stayed pristine.

Another milestone of capabilities for us here at CSG.

Never stop learning and growing!

New Direct Mail Folding and Tabbing Requirements

New rules for Folded Self-Mailers (FSMs) and Tabbing become effective January 5, 2013.  Are you ready?

Yes, you read it right.  More changes from the post office.  This time they say the changes will reduce damaged mail pieces and keep the high-speed postal machinery from jamming and slowing processing.  Well, that sounds good!  There will be no grace period, so get with your graphic designers and pass on the new requirements.

What is a Folded Self-Mailer?  It is a mail piece comprised of panels created when a single sheet or multiple sheets of paper are folded together and sealed to form a letter-size mailer.  It does not go in an envelope and is not bound in any way.  Any mailer that is bound in any way is a booklet and the new tabbing rules do not apply.  Mailers with discs have been reclassified and have different rules.

Here is a summary of the most important new rules for Folded Self-Mailers:

  1. Height maximum is now 6 inches (Minimum height is still 3 ½ inches).
  2. Length maximum is now 10 ½ inches (Minimum length is still 5 inches).
  3. Maximum Weight: 3 ounces.
  4. Final fold must be at the bottom of the mailer or on the leading edge (right side) of the mailer for oblong pieces.
  5. Limited to 12 total panels.
  6. Final folded panel creates the non-address side of the mailer as folded bottom to top or leading to trailing edge.  Address panel can no longer be on the very top panel.
  7. Mailers with 4 panels must be printed on 28 # bond stock (70 # book) minimum.

Here is a summary of the most important new rules for Tabbing:

  1. Perforated tabs are no longer accepted.
  2. Minimum size of tab is one inch in diameter.
  3. Minimum number of tabs is two.
  4. Placement of tabs is dependent upon the design of the mail piece.
  5. Tabs can no longer be placed on the bottom edge of the mail piece.
  6. 2 one-inch tabs may be used for mail pieces weighing one ounce or less.
  7. Mail pieces weighing over one ounce must use two 1 ½ inch tabs.

Have questions or concerns or need help with a tricky mail piece?  Give us a call and send us a copy of your artwork before you go to print and we’ll help make sure you have it right!

Call us at 800-881-2150… We’re here to Help!

Or here is our online request form

Triggered Direct Mailings in more detail

Continued from Triggered Mailings Part 1

Personalized Triggered Mailings

Personalized Triggered Mailings

Player guest Mary has been playing video poker for 3 days. She has accumulated enough points to move up to the Platinum level. The database notices this (we told it to watch for this) and triggers(1) a text to Mary’s cell phone “Hey Mary, you just made it to the platinum club. We are sending you a free Room offer as your first reward”.

The database also triggers(2) a personalized letter sent that day welcoming Mary to the platinum level with her Free Room night in it. This letter goes out by noon at the completion of her trip because the database triggered the data to merge and print directly on a waiting, automated press; hands-free.

She gets this offer letter 1 or 2 days after she gets home, not a month later when ‘the batch’ goes out.

The database also triggers(3) an email to be sent in 1 week later telling Mary that she earned some freeplay for her next trip (segmented and personalized based on your reinvestment plan). If she makes her reservation this week we can upgrade her to a 2-night stay.

The final scenario the database is looking for is to see if Mary comes back in or redeems our offers. If after 6 weeks Mary has not returned for a trip the database triggers(4) an increased reinvestment mailer where she is offered a free dinner for her and a friend if she books her room this week.

Design many trigger scenarios easily

Marys’ sample story is just that, a sample.
Triggers(1-4) included :

  1. Text on her cell phone (if she provided it)
  2. Personalized Bounceback letter
  3. Personalized Email offer coordinated with her letter
  4. An increased reinvestment mailer

You could have even triggered a text to her host to visit her on the floor if possible.

You can design as many scenarios that you can think of to create an endless array of personalized and automated triggered guest experiences that run all year long instead of bulk batches of mailings done monthly. Guests don’t always think in monthly batches like we do.  They are all on their own individual journeys and when we treat them that way we get our best results.

Triggered Direct Mail Marketing for Daily Success

Triggered direct mailings are mailings that are going out every single day that nobody has to manage. These mailings are known to work better than your other mailings because they are ‘triggered’ when all the ideal details come together for the guests you want most.

When you get stuck in budget meetings and everybody is putting out fires, there are mailings being sent out automatically from your player database to people matching your perfect criteria with your best segmented offer.

Automated Direct Mail Triggers

Automated Direct Mail Triggers

You can build perfectly timed, segmented and personalized mailings and put them on cruise control.

Send these daily offers to 1 person or thousands.

  • Nobody has to pull a mailing list
  • Nobody has to deal with postage
  • Timed and optimized with your favorite tiered offers

This is not a new concept so put those mailing labels down

In every phase of technology people hang onto the past because it becomes engrained.

Do you remember printing labels and giving those labels to the mail shop to apply onto your mailers? From labels we eventually gave the mailshop a diskette.  Then we started using thumb drives, email and ftp. Data moves fairly quickly now, but emailing a mailing list to a printer or a mailshop is the equivalent to printing labels these days.

In comes 2012 and casinos all over the world transfer data automatically outside of the player database to allow players to login to websites and see their points and what offers they have earned. The player database is being used to communicate in Kiosks and personalized offers are displayed directly on the machines too, automatically.

This is possible because your player database is updating outside vendor databases directly on a timed schedule.  Your player database has come a long way in how it communicates with your guests.

Why are we sending out mailings every 2-3 weeks when we can send them daily?

We tend to think in monthly cycles. We send out 2-3 mailings each month and we have a 1 week breather before we start working on next months. Usually we use the art from last month, make a few changes then pull new data and send all this to our vendor.  Rinse, Repeat.

Sure, we do analyze results to make changes to next month’s offers but the next mailer will go out before you have results from the last one so…  let’s just get this in the mail, it’s late right?

This monthly rinse and repeat cycle is the ‘labels’ of 2012.

For at least 2 of your 3 mailings you are using the exact same queries each month, applying the same reinvestment curve and just adjusting your event schedule.  I am by no means saying this is ideal but these things can be automated so you can focus more on the recipe and less on the processes.

Your time is best spent designing ideal client-relationship segments and reinvestment curves to match. You should not have to spend so much time pulling and sending lists, dealing with postage, handling return mail, uploading art and proofing content.

Build each player segment, matching art and put each one on cruise control.

Triggered Direct Mailings Continued here

Automated New Guest Bouncebacks and Inactive Recaptures

Personalized Daily Automated MailingsAre you going to the Las Vegas Gaming show in September 23-26 2013?(I am not allowed to mention the name of the event I am told) If so, make sure to meet up with the CSG Direct Mail team to get this exclusive offer available for Raving Fans and friends. (show details on bottom)

So you had 75 new players join your players club today. Awesome!! That is a great start! Do you mail them a bounceback offer that day or do you wait for a few weeks to save up enough for a mailing?

What about Inactives? Do you wait for 18 months to treat them as inactive or do you base it on their personal frequency and send out recapture mailings as soon as someone breaks their frequency?

We automate these campaigns for you so that they run on hands free on cruise control without you having to add staff, time and labor to do it.

You get higher player retention with automated, timed, tiered and triggered campaigns.
We can Help!

The CSG Direct Mail team will be walking the floors of the September Gaming show with special certificates that waive all setup costs and get you on cruise control sooner than you can imagine.

Look for us at the Global Gaming Show in September or reach out to us early @ 800-881-2150 to setup a time and place to meet up. You will find us hanging out with team Raving too, so come on by.