Database Artists

The print and mail industries have merged in the last decade creating a lot of “full service” vendors.  However, if you peeled away the layers of marketing you would discover there are really 2 types of vendors in the industry.  There are “printers that mail” and “mailers that print”.  CSG Direct Mail is a “Mailer” at heart and a “printer” second.

We print some amazing projects on some crazy materials at record speed. But we are also building some beautiful databases that drive some amazing projects and recording details from all interactions with a campaign.  We really are database artists.

Putting ink on paper is the easy part. Printers have been doing it for hundreds of years and since we are primarily a digital printer it is a fairly simple task. Printers struggle with the part of the business we like most, database driven everything.  This helps us excel in the difficult world of high tech delivery systems, barcodes, tracking, personalized printing and US Postal Service regulations.

If you’re doing direct mail projects you want a “mailer that prints” like CSG Direct Mail.

DATA DRIVEN

data-driven

data-driven

Being a database driven company keeps us on the bleeding edge of the newest direct marketing systems. That is where the greatest results are coming from and we live and breathe in this category for you.

We make it all seem simple and seamless so you can enjoy better results fast without sweating details.

DATA MINING / ANALYTICS

Are you pulling a list of names that meet a criterion or are you mining your data to find customer patterns and create new categories of customers you can market too?  When you live inside database and do personalized printing you think differently than someone that just pulls mailing lists for a distribution of materials. When you track and record results into data sets you also think differently about what you are looking for inside a database during a marketing campaign.

We help you get better results fast by identifying customer trends.

A great example is a grocery store chain we worked with to identify customer attrition. Using the membership card tracking of 1 store location we identified which customers were increasing their monthly purchases in meat and dairy categories and which customers were reducing their average spending.  By doing this we were able to retain high income by not offering discounts to shoppers increasing spending. We were then able to focus on the only 16,000 people that represented declines in monthly meat and dairy purchases. Those people represented the entire reduced sales of the store and we were able to target relevant coupons and offers to drive increased sales from that group.

DATA APPEND SERVICES

If your database is a flat file with very few details then we need to add some details about your customers to help you customer trends to market with so you can keep costs down and results up. This service is call data-append.

We work with several comprehensive consumer databases that give us hundreds of fields of data we can match to the records in your database. We can find buying habits, age of children, marital status, ethnicity, special interests, credit ratings, type of car driven and so much more.  We use some of the same data sources as homeland security.

Once we append the selected data to your database we mine your top clients to create patterns that we chase through the rest of your data. This helps you identify other top clients.  We could also then build additional marketing data-sets from outside data sources to match your top clients.  Then we use all of these special data fields to drive variable content in your personalized printing campaign.  This is where the term “database artists” comes from.

NATIONAL CHANGE OF ADDRESS

17% of the US population moves every year on average (US Postal Service statistics). So your database is ‘aging” every day and your results are going down every day like a sinking boat. If you don’t keep your database updated with where you customers have moved your results are eventually to just wasted money being thrown in the dumpster.

National Change of Address (NCOA) is a light data-append service that compares your database to the US Postal Service National Change of Address registry.  The US Postal Service stores this information for a maximum 48 months and they now require your list be scrubbed against the NCOA database within 90 days of doing a mailing if you want lower postage rates.

Once your database is cleaned we can help you get it back into your primary data source to save you the headaches and labor cost of intensive data entry.  You need to keep your database up to date but you don’t have to pay a fortune and work long hours to do it.

MAPPING

Once we have your beautiful database built we build maps to display your data for your post forma reporting and historical marketing results binder.  We are also known for our personalized variable direct mail maps and personalized driving directions.

Mapping

Map tools in CSG Direct Mail Portal

Personalized Printing

Personalized Printing

Personalized Printing Sample

To the average person in the direct marketing industry, personalized printing is how many times you can use a persons name in the direct mail piece or email you may be sending. They seem to never get tired of inserting [First Name] into every line of text in the piece.

“Poppycock” we say!  We’re pros at how to make a direct mail piece feel personal and get better results fast.

True personalized printing is what us pros do to make a direct marketing offer much more attractive, appealing and relevant to the recipient. You need to use not only every bit of data you have about your customer or prospect, you need to dig in to find more, append and analyze what type of people you are dealing with.

The reason most people don’t do this right is “time”.  You need an offer in the mail by Friday and you have your mailing list pull ready so just mail it you say.  We get that, and we do that every day for you too.  However, when the question comes up about what we can do to get a better response, the answer always lies in relevant personalization.

Some colors work better with women than men. Certain food pictures are going to be effective with different people. Beer pictures versus wine pictures for certain clients.  Every single piece of a mailing can look different when you personalize them correctly. You provide the picture assets and we’ll code the data to drive the variable content.

The only thing that excites us more than seeing every piece coming off the press looking unique and relevant to the end recipient, is the results of such a campaign.

CSG Direct Mail lives and breathes to create personalized direct mail for you.

Direct Marketing Headlines

I received a direct mail headline question and thought I would talk about it here too.

You are relying on someone giving you their quality time. If your headline is weak, you are assuming they will care long enough to read your whole copy. They probably won’t.

Your instinct may be to use a headline like “The best service in our industry”. But this is more like a followup to a real headline that grabs their attention and then makes them read more. People process information in bits and you can either lead them along or you can confuse them at the start.

I would rather entice readership with something like “Your Customers Don’t Like You”. which makes everyone say to themselves “WHAT? Our customers love us! Who is saying this?” and then you drop into your secondary line “How do you know you have the best service in your industry?”.

At this point the person reading will at least ask themselves that secondary question and see if they can answer it. If they cannot – you can take them to the next line… leading them forward into your offer.

You have engaged them! Bravo!  Step 1 complete. Remember not to think too much about step 4, 5 & 6 until you conquer step 1.  Engage them and make them talk to your mailpiece and question it.

The main problem is that too many corporations wont allow you to use headlines like that. They’ll say it’s too unprofessional or too “small company”.  They want to lead with giant brand statements like “Great service for over 50 years”.

So what?
Why should I give you 15 more seconds of my time, let alone some kind of response or business order?

Your headline must engage them.

Oh yeah, don’t forget to track and test multiple headlines to see what works best with your audience.

Database Marketing Versus Personalized Mail

At first glance database marketing could be seen as either a very vague expression or a very specific one.  Obviously in direct mail we are always using databases in our marketing, but that does not really identify which of the above we provide in specific mailings.

We define the difference simply based on volume and functions used due to the volume. For example, even thought it is rudimentary at best; in order for a mailpiece to be considered personalized there is at least one area where you refer to the person you are addressing by name. With database marketing we may not specifically call the person by name, but we will make sure the offer presented will likely appeal to the recipient based on mining, tiers and historical data.

So in many ways both of these can be considered “personalization”. However, when the audience gets large enough, we may have to resort to non-personalized printing in order to meet a large scale budget. This eliminates marketing directly to the person, and replaces it with marketing to a segment of people or interests. A quick example would be 20,000 pieces vs. 250,000 pieces. We can easily digital variable print (aka Variable Data Printing) anything from 500 to 35,000 pieces or more and keep costs reasonable and response rates elevated. But at 100,000 pieces it becomes much easier to reduce costs dramatically by breaking down the project into tiers and eliminating variables like “Hello, John” from the copy.

At 250,000 pieces we will have strategically separated the data into many tiers, some of which stay digital to maximize personalization and postage. The other versions are printed on a traditional press to maximize price efficiency and avoid paying the per-click charges that digital presses require. This is database marketing – the management of a campaign to optimize costs and response as well as postage cost and delivery balancing.  This is one of the specialized services we are known for, as well as the actual segmenting and variable coding of the project.  Much of this is accomplished with our proprietary programs to maximize flexibility.

You don’t get this done at a printer, this is direct mail and database marketing at its core and belongs with database marketing professionals so you get real results, real savings and a 360 degree understanding of the balance of all the above.  This is where CSG Direct has earned much of our reputation!

Mailing Services for Database Marketing

IMPORTANT!
If you are researching direct mail vendors on, what you really need to ask is:
“HOW QUALIFIED IS THIS VENDOR?”
The direct mail industry is full of “so-so” companies that struggle every day with new barcodes, new postage, new technology and changing regulations.

PLUS, what about the results you want from your direct marketing investment?

At CSG Direct, we have a long history in direct mail as direct mail trainers, mailroom managers, database marketing managers and mailroom equipment operators and technicians. We know you aren’t dabbling in direct mail and neither are we. We have one of the friendliest but most experienced teams in the direct mail business.

    America’s First Live Job Tracking System in Direct Mail – 1999 

    America’s First public bulk mailpiece tracking systems – 2008  (reuters)(Yahoo News)

    25 USPS Certified Employees working on all aspects of your projects

    Direct NCOALink® Limited Service Licensee with the US Postal Service® (USPS.com)

    Our prowess in database-driven everything

    Providing some of the Greatest Value in Direct Mail – Bonus Bucks, free advertising, great pricing and more…

We live and breathe direct mail strategy and results! In my experience, if you go with the cheapest bid in direct mail you are likely better to have not mailed at all. The road to direct mail success is littered with the bones of people who thought they tried direct mail only to fail because they thought they we’re saving a few bucks.

You are here today because you need results – so don’t click away. We promise you the Greatest Value in Direct Mail right here! We have the testimonials, the skills and experience; you have a project. Let’s get to work!

Casino Database Marketing: Do the easy things first!

We often pitch projects to clients related to advanced marketing:  model
development, behavior-driven segmentation, pricing optimization, data
mining, and other fun things.  However, I always ask my clients if
they’re doing the easy things before calling us in to refine their core
targeting methodologies.  Without further delay, here’s a quick list:

New Player’s Card Signups:
Treat your new Club signups like Gold.  Get them a welcome letter as
quickly as possible, preferably within a week.  Personalize it,
acknowledge their earned level, and if they triggered a good rating,
include a bounce-back.  Bonus points if you integrate this first contact
with your VIP introduction.  Most properties do this, few do this weekly.

W2G Winners:
Here’s one of the most valuable lists that often goes ignored.  Although
small, here’s a great chance to recover your payout.  Send a
congratulations communication quickly, and several weeks before the
first anniversary of their win, arrange a “winner’s package” where
you’ll book their same room, comp dinner at the same restaurant, and
remind them of their great luck!  On a side-note, if your behavior
models don’t account for post-high-win sessions, the models will
overestimate this player’s baseline play amount.

Hotel-only first-time visitors:
Just send a simple postcard to acknowledge their visit, and include your
favorite retail-grade offer.  Its a nice reminder of their trip.  If you
make the front of it postcard-like, it might find a place on their
refridgerator!  After this first contact, include this populuation in
your modeled hotel population.

Keno Players:
The data is sitting right in front of you.  Find all those Keno
players!  They’re different from the video poker players, ya know.
Very, very different.

Younger players:
Have you looked around your casino floor lately?  Gaming has
traditionally been a leisure sport for a slightly older population.
However, there are many players in their 20s and 30s.  Dig a little
deeper, push a little harder.  Some of these players will become your
foundation over the next several years.

Spa or other amenities:
Just an easy initiative to bring people back to the service they
hopefully enjoyed.  If your marketing database is sophisticated enough,
cross-reference this list with your player’s club to find out if any of
your spa visitors are the spouses of your VIPs.  Hint, hint…  “Wow,
honey, they offered me a FREE spa session, can’t you just play blackjack
for an hour or two without me?”

Simple Zip-code untargeted mailings:
Just kidding.  I was just wondering if you were reading this far.  I
have never seen a program like this generate a positive return.  Stop.
Your time & budget is better spent on other projects.  Continuing to do
this is broadcasting to your competitors, “Hey, we don’t have any
end-to-end analytics!”

Ed Gianos is the founder of North Leaf Solutions LLC, a consulting
agency helping clients in gaming and other industries maximize the value
of their data through data quality, modeling, segmentation, testing,
reporting, and various methodologies to please both players and
marketing budgets.