Direct Mailing Client Testmonial

We love our clients and we are blessed that they love us too.
Here is a note from one of our clients.

Hello Doug:  Thank you for the holiday gift of chocolate candies!  Your thoughtfulness is very much appreciated! On behalf of GNCU, we also want to express our sincere thanks to you and to CSG for the terrific support you provide to our organization.  We value you as a trusted business partner and look forward to working with you as we move forward into a new year.!
Best wishes for a healthy and prosperous New Year!
Sincerely,
Ron W.

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.

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.

 

Database Marketing Tips, National Change of Address

Database Marketing Tips:  NCOA your data!

Database Marketing Tips

Chris Ohm from our Data and Design Team

Building a clean and efficient database is the keystone to your direct mailing projects. Without such you may subject yourself to such “side effects” of higher postage rates, returned mail, low response and turnouts, and ultimately  un-reached clients.

Compiling a completely accurate list of your clients can take a long time, such as months and sometimes even years! By the time you decide to do a mailer, a quarter of those clients could have moved.

These clients would never receive your offer in the mail, and it would be mailed to the return address…you! If you have a 10,000 list of data and 100 people may have moved, this can result in a lot of people who will not receive your mailer. That’s where NCOA processing can save you some serious cash.

“National Change of Address” or NCOA, is a process in which your data is processed through a USPS backed second party. Once ran through the NCOA process anybody who had updated their current address through the Post Office, after moving, will have their address updated to reflect the new one. This can save a bundle of money and increase your advertisement’s response percentage.

You’ll want to utilize this with all mailing lists. On top of the NCOA process appending new addresses to old ones, It also produces a batch of addresses we call “NCOA BADS” these would be your clients that have moved, but did not update their address with the post office.

Here is an example of some percentages NCOA cleans in your data:

  • 80.92% Forwarded moves containing delivery point confirmed–New address provided
  • 1.18% Moves containing unconfirmed addresses – New address not provided
  • 13.80% Moved, left no address
  • 3.92% PO Box Closed
  • 0.18% Foreign moves

As you can see, a good portion of your data can potentially be un-mailable or returned back to you at great expense. Why waste the extra money of your print and postage costs?

Very few companies offer this service correctly, and even fewer offer it with the knowledge and capability that CSG provides for its customers.  For example, CSG can return you an updated list including the records that were corrected, the ones that did not move, and the few that moved but did not update their address.  Using this service maximizes your data’s efficiency so that your mailers will have higher response rates.

NCOA your data and the results can be rewarding!

Don’t forget to ask us how to get all that cleaned data back into your system.

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!

CSG Direct Mail and the Postal Customer Council

The Postal Customer Council® (PCC®) program is a valuable resource for business mailers, large and small. Local PCCs serve as an open channel for USPS-to-business communication, providing information and best practices for cost-effective and profitable mailing, education and training, and solving local challenges. Though most PCC members include large business mailers, government agencies, and business mail service providers, small businesses can benefit from PCC membership, too.

Your local PCC offers these benefits…

• Learn from postal experts about marketing through the mail.
• Find new sources for mailing lists. Printing, database management, and more.
• Get discounts to major mailing industry events.
• Network with other mailers, business mail service providers, and USPS executives to discover new ways to make your mailings more efficient and profitable.
• Hear first-hand from other decision-makers on how they deal with the same challenges you face.
• Leverage best practices to improve mailing effectiveness, efficiency, and profitability.
• Gain knowledge about postal products, services, and tools to improve mail quality through workshops and events—and earn a professional certificate to boot.

The US Postal Service continues to modernize and automate steps to keep postage low and better serve its clients. Every event put on by your local Postal Costumer Council is a chance to come learn about new and innovative features.

For example the new Business Customer Gateway from the US Postal Service. The Business Customer Gateway gives you a single, unified landing point to access the Postal Services’ online business offerings. These channels consist of the products that support intelligent Mail Full Service Mailing. This includes PostalOne!, FAST (Facility Access and Shipment Tracking), CLDS (Customer Label Distribution System) and Mailer IDs (MID).

For more information and PCC locations in Nevada:

Northern Nevada PCC
2000 Vassar Street
Reno, NV 89510-9998

Cindy Cornelison,
PCC Postal Co-Chairman

cynthia.k.cornelison@usps.gov
T (775) 788-0690
F 775-333-2805

Matt Balzer,
PCC Industry Co-Chairman

matt@mmswest.com
T 775-331-5554

Southern Nevada PCC
1001 E Sunset Rd
Las Vegas, NV 89199-9996
Web site

Craig Colton,
Postmaster

craig.m.colton@usps.gov
T (702) 361-9200
F (702) 361-9215

Marilyn Fenimore,
Customer Relations Coordinator

marilyn.m.fenimore@usps.gov
T 702-361-9544

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