21% Direct Mail Response Rate

Digital Personalized Christmas Cards

Personalized Christmas Card Campaign

There is nothing I enjoy more than seeing the light bulbs come on when I teach people how to use player databases to personalize the players direct mail experience. Personalization is not about using your customer names in the art anymore, that isn’t the secret sauce.

Instead of “telling you” about personalization I am going to show you how. You’re about to learn how to personalize the content of your direct marketing to get better results on your next mailing. I have a great example of a mailing that many of you got to play with recently.

Our personalized Christmas card program got a 21% response rate.
Sharing the details of our own database marketing efforts is the best way to share some of our better ideas. It’s a behind the scenes look at a high response campaign you’ll get ideas from.

Campaign Layers make it fun and effective
We never think of marketing as a 1-touch experience so we did our Christmas mailing as a 5-Touch Campaign. 5 easy touches created better results fast so lets walk through them.

Personalized outgoing campaign touch 1

Touch 1: They received a personalized Christmas card with multiple fascinating components worth sharing with co-workers for greater brand sharing and interaction. This included variable maps from Santas house to show how Santa would travel to deliver gifts to you. It also included a personalized message and a personalized QR code embedded with customer# that was scanned to get a gift.

We also created variable outside envelopes to personalize and localize the message from our closest facility.  Customers nearest to our Las Vegas direct mail plant received their mailer from our Las Vegas plant for example. Variable envelopes are very effective and a huge upgrade on traditional ‘static’ direct mail envelope mailings.

Try the Mobile Site here

Touch 2: is our clients interaction with the personalized card and their smartphone. 21% of our recipients scanned these barcodes with their phones so don’t underestimate the smartphone evolution. The personalized QR Code (a working sample to the right) was used to drive a personalized mini-site. We built the QR Code so that no log-in is required and we could track who is using the program. There is a hundred uses for these barcodes when tied to mobile mini-sites.

High Response Direct Mail Mobile Site

Direct Mail Mobile Site

Touch 3: was a personalized mobile-website driven with auto-login we built into the QR Code in Touch#2. These really are easy to make and there is no end to the automated tasks that can be triggered by these small but powerful mini-sites. Our mini site was a Christmas question to see if you were naughty or nice. Your response drove a variable gift card held by Santa on your cell phone.  This was very cool as we watched the live tracking behind the scenes as entire marketing teams were playing with this and sharing it with co-workers. Gifts were tiered and variable.

Database drives personalization

The database varied gifts and triggered campaign steps

Touch 4: was triggered by the live program database to send a timed text-only personalized email. We integrated our normal corporate email footer and personalized message from your favorite member of our staff congratulating you for winning something in our Christmas program. I love this part for many reasons; it plays to our service brand and engages the customer with their CSG rep in a positive way. (a real behind-the-scenes tour)

Final Direct Mail Campaign Touch

Final Direct Mail Campaign Touch

Touch 5: was the final campaign step where gifts cards were sent out each day triggered by the database. We designed a gift card mailer for delivery of Santas gift card. The primary mailer and the followup mailer were designed together and the second mailing was triggered for immediate response to the first mailer. This easy step is not done enough these days.

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.

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.

Modern Database Marketing with Direct Mail Personalization

Direct Mail Personalized

Direct Mail Personalized

Modern Database Marketing with Direct Mail Personalization

In the database marketing industry, we always throw around the word “personalization” as if everyone already understands what we mean.  It really is a generic term.  Are you telling personal secrets? Are you talking about how much they drank on their last trip? Are you getting too “personal”?

The problem with using a generic term to describe what we are doing is that everyone has their own idea what the term means.  To some people in the industry “personalization” means using the recipient’s name somewhere in the copy of the direct mailer.  That is what it meant… five to ten years ago!

Modern personalization  is an incredibly different animal that is not well represented by a one-word term.

Modern personalization is one-to-one conversations with each customer, en mass.

For example, Customer Mary visits the casino with her husband and enjoys playing Keno and eating at the buffet.  Customer Jim is single and likes to come to your concerts, drink beer and bet on sports. How do you make one invitation that appeals to both of these people?

Just putting “Hey Jim” in the direct mail piece is usually not enough to make an offer more appealing to him if it isn’t relevant to his interest in your property.

A customer asked me the other day why they get so few responses to their concert promotions.  They mail out 10,000 pieces and get 100 responses.  “How come?” they asked.  Well it turns out the exact same 10,000 people are invited to each concert and they aren’t sure if those particular people share a like for each particular type of concert.

They need to code their database with music interests and invite people that enjoy the type of concert you are promoting.  This is the first step in modern personalization.  Put the right act or promotion in front of your customers that like that act or promotion.

Music is a great way to have this conversation but it applies to everything about your Hotel Casino property. You don’t promote 80s hair band music to 60 year old guests and you don’t promote the steak house to people who like the buffet.  Send blackjack invites only to people that like blackjack and send slot tournament invites only to people that like slot play.  This is the heart of high response marketing.

This can be done all in ONE direct mail piece!

With today’s modern technology we can do all this in one direct mail piece. There are only a couple of hurdles to making this possible. First you have to find the easiest ways to match your event and hotel casino offerings to the guests that like each of your amenities.  This is best established by tracking EVERYTHING your customer does.  For example, you need to track the types of rooms they stay in and the types of food they prefer on property.

Next we need to establish things about your clients that you currently do not have access to.  For example, do they golf? Are they married? What kind of music do they like? What kind of occupation are they in?  There are many ways to do this with in-house surveys or modern data-append services using some great outside consumer databases to gather new information.

Finally, the last step is to learn how to build a marketing matrix.  This is a spreadsheet where we describe the differences in each dataset we have pulled and what offers each database receives.  Basically, we query each special interest we can find to market to and make a map to which offers will be rotating in each direct mail piece.  This  personalizes the offers, look and feel of each piece.

The art

Now the fun happens. We build four different art sets for the invitation.  One design caters to blackjack players, one design feels more like buffet and keno, one design is 80s hair band and buffet and the last design is a golf themed piece that includes a slot tournament and steakhouse offer for those people we know like those.  This is all for offers for the same weekend, of course.

We compile your databases together and rotate the graphics in the printing and outputting process.  This is the recipe for high response modern direct mail personalized casino marketing.

Everyone gets something that appeals directly to them and their interests in a gaming experience.

The biggest gain is that over time each person in your database starts to feel like your property is their favorite because it appears that your product is exactly what they are looking for.  Every player gets a unique experience that feels most comfortable to them and they end up visiting more often.  This gives you a greater share of their annual gaming budget.

 

Global Cash and Casino Share Intelligence™

Every day GCA, (Global Cash Access) is creating new innovations and concepts that lead to enhanced customer service and more robust profitability for it’s clients. This is the core value that provides the foundation for GCA’s boldest thinking. They focus on redefining the possibilities of cash access products and related services throughout the gaming industry – both in the U.S. and abroad.

The technologies created are the standard bearers for the entire industry, and continue to blaze new trails in terms of what cash access can do for casinos and their customers. In total, 1,111 gaming establishments worldwide come to GCA for ideas and innovation. GCA processed more than 90 million transactions and dispensed more than $18.9 billion in cash in 2010 alone. GCA’s global presence enables side-by-side work with all of its clients worldwide – and that means real customer service delivered in real time. GCA is poised to equip your casino with future-forward devices and solutions that generate more profitability on your floor.

So what is CSG Direct’s focus in all of this? One of the many services that GCA offers: Casino Share Intelligence™

Casino Share Intelligence™
If knowledge is power, then prepare for superhuman strength. By accessing GCA’s unrivaled database of player data, Casino Share Intelligence (CSI) derives robust algorithms that deliver trended shared reports over a 12-month period.

These include:

Market Share
Percentage of all GCA patron withdrawal dollars at your casino compared to dollars withdrawn in your competitive market—depicted in a convenient heat map format.

Patron Share
Percentage of all GCA patrons that made at least one withdrawal at your casino compared to the number of patrons in your competitive market.

Wallet Share
For those patrons that visited your casino and have at least one withdrawal, what percentage of patrons’ total wallet are you capturing? CSI offers a variety of patron filters—including value, age and distance—to refine results which enable you to identify shifts in share so you can take immediate action. This robust tool can even identify the top players in your market—and analyze how much cash they’re withdrawing in your casino compared to your competitors. For the first time ever, you’ll be equipped with information to proactively prevent player defection.

Image in the possibilities with this software in your casino. Be able to target your big players and keep them at your casino. We live and breathe casino databases, digital printing and results! If You are here today, it’s because you need results! We can make that happen! You will get your greatest results right here! You have a project that needs to be optimized. So Let’s do your next Direct Mailing Together!

At CSG Direct Inc. We’re known for providing you with The Greatest Value in Direct Mail!

National Indian Gaming Association Associate Member

We are a proud direct mailing and variable data printing partner associated with the National Indian Gaming Association.

The National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA), established in 1985, is a non-profit organization of 184 Indian Nations with other non-voting associate members representing organizations, tribes and businesses engaged in tribal gaming enterprises from around the country. The common committment and purpose of NIGA is to advance the lives of Indian peoples economically, socially and politically. NIGA operates as a clearinghouse and educational, legislative and public policy resource for tribes, policymakers and the public on Indian gaming issues and tribal community development.

We plan on sharing our expertise throughout the gaming sector!

CSG Direct is cutting edge in Casino Direct Mail. CSG has innovations in Variable Mapping, Personalization, Casino Data Processing, and Live US Mail Tracking of every mail piece. CSG is staffed with decades of Casino Database Marketing experience and the most experienced mailing services team in Casino direct mail. -NIGA

The mission of NIGA is to protect and preserve the general welfare of tribes striving for self-sufficiency through gaming enterprises in Indian Country. To fulfill its mission, NIGA works with the Federal government and Congress to develop sound policies and practices and to provide technical assistance and advocacy on gaming-related issues. In addition, NIGA seeks to maintain and protect Indian sovereign governmental authority in Indian Country.

Database Marketing – Quick Tips for Database Bliss

Database Marketing starts with a database.  Database tips for our friends in direct mailing marketing.

Here at CSG Direct, we’ve seen every type of “database” you can think of, from mailing labels copied into PDF files to multiple relational SQL monstrosities. We’re always dealing with new challenges and finding new solutions for making your database the powerhouse it can be.

So here are a couple of tips from our data team

Even though Excel is a spreadsheet program, it is one of the most widely used mediums for database storage. I can hear you now, saying, isn’t that the same thing as a database? Well not necessarily… “A spreadsheet is a computer application that simulates a paper accounting worksheet” Excel is designed to quickly handle financial calculations, numbers and formulas. Therefore when using it as a database, there are a few precautions one should take.

1) Sorting: “So let’s see if I’m in the database” you say and quickly highlight the last name column and hit the A-Z button at the top, you see your last name, figure “ok! Good enough” and hit save. This is one of the most common and most destructive mistakes that can be made in Excel. What just occurred is that all your other fields stayed exactly as they were, while the last name field was placed in alphabetical order by itself. Now everyone in the database has the wrong last name.

2) Numbers: Remember that Excel is a spreadsheet! It loves to perform calculations and “properly” format numbers for you. Quick things to keep an eye out for, would be: Account numbers being formatted oddly, east coast zip codes missing their leading zero, cash amount fields having differing decimal places, even phone number fields having math done on them (something like 775-852-9777 turning into -9854)

3) Line breaks: In the final stretch of putting the finishing touches on your Excel database, then you realize this record has a secondary address, so you just place a carriage return and put the secondary address in the same cell below the first. In an Excel Cell its easy to add a line break, the problem is that when exporting a database out of Excel most database programs won’t recognize odd characters within a field and either jumble the record or completely leave it out. When in doubt it’s always better to just add another column.

4) Coding: There have been many great looking spreadsheets out there with colors that dazzle, but remember that when you use cell colors to delineate between multiple tiers of a database, they won’t translate over into real databases. It’s always best to use a separate field and populate it with whatever alpha-numeric signifier you might need! That way when the database is moved out of Excel it’ll still be there!

Until next time… Keep the data flowing to CSG Direct Mail

EPS Direct Mailing Marketing Awards

The EPS award acknowledges great direct mailing marketing design and execution as well as follow-through, tracking, results and strategy. Campaigns and mail pieces recognized by EPS are exceptional in marketing and creative detail. These entries interact with their target audience in a fashion that creates profitable results.

“EPS” is an industry insider abbreviation for “Envelope”, so it is all about direct mailing marketing. As the marketing industry has changed the EPS judging criteria has too. EPS evolves with the times and if certain criteria and modern postal and response methods are not utilized than it affects the scoring of entries.

We live and breath results and our best clients measure those results.

The EPS award is not  limited to print oriented results. We thrive in new and emerging areas with mobile, web, text and email components included. We dig into the campaign and judge it by effectiveness, thoroughness of how well the physical mailed piece drove the action.

EPS Awards categories:
1) Best Mail Piece Design
2) Best Direct Mailing
3) Best Mailing Campaign

Primary Qualifications:
1) Effective Creative Design
2) Call-to-Actions
3) Overall Marketing Strategy
4) Tracking of Results

The EPS awards are judged for the best ideas, most creative uses and the finest executions.
We acknowledge the best of your entries in direct mailing marketing!

If you are interested in us presenting awards to your group please contact us: service@csgdirect.com or 800-881-2150 x12

We may be willing to sponsor or contribute to your AAF Meeting, PCC Meeting, Ad2, American Marketing Association, PR group or other similar awards functions.
(Award categories are chosen to best meet your events members, theme or goals)

Past Winners:

Meyer Rosene -Best Mailing Campaign

A. Carlisle -Best Mail Piece Design

DRGM -Best Direct Mailing

DynaGraphics -Best Direct Mailing

KPSB -Best Mailing Campaign

DRGM -Best Mail Piece Design

Peppermill Hotel Casino, Reno NV -Best Mail Piece Design

Cirus Circus Hotel Casino, Reno NV -Best Mail Piece Design

Smith & Jones -Best Mail Piece Design

GMAA -Best Mailing Campaign

CSG Direct Mail with Raving Consulting Company


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact CSG Direct Inc. For media inquiries:
800.881.2150
Michael.hemphill@csgdirect.com

 

CSG Direct Mail joins Raving Consulting

-CSG Direct Mail joins forces with Raving Consulting to create the most comprehensive set of robust full service casino direct marketing solutions to the casino gaming market.

CSG Direct specializes in casino direct marketing for clients such as Silver Legacy, MGM, Harrah’s Entertainment, Tropicana Entertainment, Atlantis Hotel Casino, Peppermill, Eldorado, Stations Casino and many others in the gaming industry.

CSG Direct is known for innovations in casino marketing and creating the Greatest Value in casino direct mail. As direct mail trainers and mailroom managers they live and breathe direct mailing and variable data printing strategy and results.

CSG Direct has a long history of innovating the direct mail marketing industry:

• America’s 1st Live Direct Mailing Job Tracking System -1999

• America’s 1st public bulk US Mail Tracking System -2008

• iTunes Store 1st iPhone Direct Mail app -2010 (Track all of your Direct Mail Projects)

• Over 25 USPS MQC Certified Employees working on all aspects of your projects

• Over 2 decades in personalized variable data digital printing and more

Also with the opening of a Las Vegas Direct Mail offices CSG Direct is more than excited to offer its services to the Las Vegas entertainment industry and their interests. CSG has also joined the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce and supports the Las Vegas business community. In partner with Raving it will be a pleasure to help gaming companies worldwide in strategically improving their marketing, service and operations.

Raving Consulting is a full-service gaming resource for marketing, slots, tables, database, player development, management and hosts. When you get right down to it, it’s the role of your hosts; ambassadors and players club staff to drive business through sales! I’m not sure why so many people are so quick to say, “I am not a sales person. I am not in sales. I am in marketing. I am in service. I am in management. I am a casino host.” If you work in a casino, then you are in sales, folks; your job is business development, especially if you are a host.

Direct Mailing Innovations and the best Variable Data Printing from CSG Direct Mail as well as Technologies and Experience from Raving Consulting will get you Better Results Fast.

“There are a lot of direct mail companies out there and everyone talks a good talk. We know that our gaming clients need this critical resource to execute their direct mail campaigns. We believe we have found the right partners in Michael Hemphill and his team at CSG Direct Mail. What’s unique about CSG, and especially boy “technical wonder” Michael, is that they are always looking for the latest tools to keep their clients at their most effective. They are not only a partner of Raving’s, we have been their client as well. We look to our partnership with the CSG Team – and sharing them as a strategic resource with our customers.” -Dennis Conrad, President and Chief Strategist, Raving Consulting Company

Click here for more information on CSG Direct, Inc.
Click here for more information on Raving Consulting.

CSG Direct Mail showcased by Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce

Join the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce on Friday, October 21 for its 100th anniversary celebration! This landmark event will take place at the Palms Casino and Resort and will pay tribute to the role of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce through the last 100 years of Las Vegas’ vibrant history.

This event will showcase 100 years of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, the significant achievements that advanced the business community in Southern Nevada, and the dynamic and visionary entrepreneurs who shaped Las Vegas.

Mingle with friends and make new connections as you enjoy a variety of entertainment, great food, and fun libations at this exciting, upbeat venue. Be there to celebrate the commitment of the Chamber to the Las Vegas business community as we look towards our next hundred years!

To register for this event visit Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce: 100 years and growing!

At CSG Direct, we have a long history in creating new mailing services! We are excited to be one of the spotlighted companies attending this event. CSG Direct Mail was born in 1996 and has expanded 10 times since 2005 to a 50,000 square foot Reno-Tahoe facility.

We are fortunate to have worked with thousands of clients such as Raley’s, Scolari’s, Silver Legacy, MGM, Facebook, Wells Fargo, Harrah’s Entertainment (Now Caesars Entertainment), Tropicana Entertainment, Atlantis Hotel Casino, Peppermill, Eldorado, Stations Casino and many others.

With the opening of our Las Vegas office we are more than excited to offer our services to the Las Vegas Entertainment Industry and their interests. CSG Direct Inc. has joined the Chamber and support the Las Vegas Business Community. We hope you too can join us at the Centennial Celebration!

We are direct mail trainers, mailroom managers, database marketing managers, mailing services equipment operators and technicians. We know you aren’t “dabbling” in direct mail and neither are we. We have one of the friendliest and most experienced mailing services teams in the direct mail business.