Mobile Commerce and Personalization Promotion Update

Additional Information on the Mobile Commerce and Personalization Summer 2012 Promotion: A Notice of Price Adjustment was filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) on February 21, 2012, and the promotion is still pending PRC approval.

Building upon last summers mobile barcode promotions success, the USPS is offering it again from July 1, 2012, through August 31, 2012. In the final rule Federal Register posted today on Postal Explorer, they describe the conditions for eligibility for the promotion and the revised mailing standards to implement it.

Here is information to help you take advantage of this revised special offering:

· Qualifying mailings are Presorted and automation mailings of First-Class Mail cards, letters, and flats and Standard Mail (including Nonprofit Standard Mail) letters and flats with a mobile barcode inside or on the mailpiece.

· The mobile barcode must lead the recipient of the mailpiece either to a webpage that allows the recipient to purchase a product or service on a mobile device, or to a personalized URL, which leads to a web page that is unique to an individual recipient.

· Qualifying mailings may receive an upfront price reduction of 2 percent of the eligible postage.

· Participation requires electronic documentation.

· Commingled, combined and co-mail mailings are allowed, but a separate postage statement is required for pieces with mobile barcodes.

Using mobile barcodes is a great way to integrate direct mail with mobile technology.

For more information visit our previous blog on This Summer’s 2012 Barcode Promotion or visit the RIBBS website. You can also email mobilebarcode@usps.gov

Direct mail marketing with CSG direct mail

Direct Mailing Innovations and the best Variable Data Printing from CSG Direct Mail get you Better Results Fast. Find out how our newest innovations and decades of proven results make us the direct mailing services partner and variable data specialists you are looking for.

We live and breathe direct mail strategy, digital printing and results!

• America’s 1st Live Direct Mailing Job Tracking Systems in Direct Mail – 1999

• America’s 1st public bulk US Mail Tracking Systems – 2008

• iTunes 1st iPhone Direct Mail app in the iTunes app store – 2010

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

• Over 2 decades in personalized Variable-Data-Digital-Printing

POSTNET Barcode Discontinuation Proposed

dmm-advisoryToday, the POSTNET™ Barcode Discontinuation proposed rule was posted on the Federal Register website and soon it will be posted on the Postal Explorer® website under Federal Register.

The proposed rule includes the basis for discontinuing use of POSTNET™ barcodes and allowing only Intelligent Mail® barcodes (IMb™) for automation price eligibility by January 2013. The Postal Service™ understands that many mailers currently use POSTNET barcodes and we are committed to providing information to and working with individual mailers and software providers to ensure that the use of an Intelligent Mail barcode is achievable for all mailing customers.

The Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®) is available on Postal Explorer (pe.usps.com). To subscribe to the DMM Advisory, send an e-mail to dmmadvisory@usps.com. Simply indicate “subscribe” in the subject line

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!

Raving Consulting tells its fans about 21% response rate from QR code direct mail campagin

Raving Flash. Late Breaking News, Compelling Ideas, Just Plain Good Stuff for the Gaming Industry!

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! 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.

Read the original article here.

CSG Direct Mail has over two decades in variable data printing, casino direct mail, variable direct mail maps, US Mail Tracking, randomization, personalized emails, personalized websites, QR codes and much more.

For more information about Raving Consulting call 775-329-7864.
To learn more about CSG Direct Mail visit the CSG direct mail website.

The Post Office Ruined a Mailing

Some of our customers direct mail pieces were crushed in the belted mail transport equipment so badly that the foiling inside the folded mailers was shredded off and stuck to the other side of the mailer. Normally this can’t happen unless it’s 260 degrees.  We’re in just as much awe and disbelief as you are.

We believe it is the OCR equipment sorting and re-sorting the pieces down to carrier route level.  We noticed all kinds of  scuffs, wheel skid marks and damage across the pieces. All of this is probably from over-sorting or at least over-abuse of the pieces.

I get it, they have lots of mail to process quickly. On the other hand, they are being paid big dollars to deliver a marketing message to our customers.  They should do what they can to protect those pieces if they want customers to pay for this service.

I have been working with the US Postal Service for 24 years and I have a lot of friends employed there. I just wish they were held accountable to quality as much as we are.

Our customer is extremely upset! Their promotion is ruined and the profits that were to be generated from this promotion to pay wages and create jobs is lost for February. Do you think there is anyone at the postal service that can help them out?  On some occasions it can be like working with the Government and all its levels of bureaucracy. That’s why I am venting.  The USPS hurt one of our clients (inadvertently, I assume) and the client wants me to “fix it” somehow.

In a true capitalist society I would threaten to take our mail to another postal service unless they step up their quality but that’s just not an option with the USPS, is it? When you mail as much as we do you have greater odds of being involved when the USPS does something wrong.  That doesn’t make it hurt any less.

We are working through several options to help our customer turn this around and save the month. The plan we’ve put together should accomplish that.

At the end of the day when something like this happens it just creates a huge loss of confidence in the process for good direct mail clients.

Direct Mail App USPS Confirm Report

113 million Confirm scans in our Direct Mail Smartphone apps

The US Postal Service reports that CSG Direct Mail has mailed 29 million pieces of mail since March 20, 2011 resulting in 113 million scans from USPS Confirm. This has created one of the largest US Postal Service oriented data collections by a private party in US History completed by CSG Direct Mail.

This data is available live in our CSG Direct Mail app and segregated down to individual mailings by individual customers and you can look up each piece by customer account (or player id)#.

A great free service from CSG Direct Mail for our direct mail marketing customers.

Find the CSG Direct Mail app in the iTunes Store.
Also available as a mobile site for Android and other smartphones.

USPS Confirm is a trademark of the US Postal Service.