The Future of Direct Mail

the-future-of-direct-mailTHE FUTURE OF DIRECT MAIL

When you work on the leading edge in direct mail innovation you have to be excited about what the future has in store for direct mail marketing. As innovators, our view of the future of direct mail marketing is quite a bit different than most peoples.

To most people direct mail is a pile of paper inside their mailbox filled with postcards, coupons and hiding bills and checks amongst the pile.

We see a trusted delivery system accountable to every home in America with a box for us to place any kind of relevant message or offer to whomever we choose. We can specifically choose an audience from a long list of local and national consumer profiles and individual personal data and speak to that person on an individual relevant level.

What other form of media has a long-standing trusted space to place portable and sharable physical messages with your brand, offers and contact information on it?
A huge advantage!
Every other form of media requires consumers to take notes, remember details, act on impulse or dig through spam and viruses to receive.

Billboards clog the roads and sky distracting you when you are driving. TV Commercials hit you one after another for products and services you don’t want or need when you are watching your favorite show.  Nobody likes commercials in their movie or music entertainment.  Online ads, spam and new website viruses are ruining the internet.

With the advances in digital variable printing and the personalization and accuracy of database driven marketing, Direct Mail is going to be the only legitimate form of marketing in the future. Everything else will be spam and annoying!

To win you have to stand out! You cannot just be another postcard in the mailbox. Make “New Innovations” part of your bid requests. When you work with the right vendor you get actionable and inexpensive ideas to keep you ahead of the pack.

It’s time for the world to learn “cost-per-response” as well.
Accountable marketing will always win the day.

WHO WE SERVE BEST

Every company that markets a product or a service is a potential client but may not be who we serve best.  Many companies fall pray to the armies of salespeople for Radio and Television ads. Many people are also confused by all the Postal regulations, databases, permits, design and print aspects of direct mail marketing.  We understand.

We tend to work with people that understand all the forms of media and have lived with the results of lack of results of each. You can find a weakness in every form of marketing but there are very few you can find a return on investment in like Direct Mail. Experienced marketers get that and we enjoy working with them the most.

Experienced marketers understand testing, versions, tracking results and adjusting. Direct mail marketing is the most accountable and adjustable to those that apply the science.

Our Favorite Industries:

  • Banking
  • Gaming
  • Tourism
  • Medical
  • Grocery
  • Dot.com
  • Non-profits
  • Education

Mail Shop, Print Shop

PRINT SHOP

Printing is an art that goes back in some form to the beginning of man. It is an art form of ink, paper and design that come together to make a visual presentation.  The real art of print is the design if it attracts the attention of the person we want it to attract (like bait).

At CSG Direct we are a modern day Digital Printing facility specializing in some of the newest features available in static, personalized and dimensional printing.

Print Shop Mail Shop vs. Mail Shop Print Shop

direct-mailing

Leadership - Quality - Innovation

Putting ink on paper is the easiest step.

The real challenge is designing pieces that attract response and delivering them through a single source federal US Postal Service.

The real talent is designing, printing, folding and die-cutting multiple critical personalized components and then matching them together in postal sorted order to achieve the lowest postage rates too.

“Direct Mailers” out-think “Printers”.

MAIL SHOP

Direct Mail Marketing is the art of getting the right visual presentation to the right person at the right time with a relevant message to attract a response and generate sales.

Direct Mail requires database programing prowess and a lifelong pursuit of all the changing rules, regulations, barcodes and loopholes of the US Postal Service.  Direct Mail Marketing requires years of studying databases, barcodes and tracking results.

You have to have the right mind for direct mail. You need a Direct Mailer that prints.
Direct Mail with a Direct Mailer, not a printer “that does direct mail too”.

You get Better Results Fast with a “Mail Shop, Print Shop” like CSG Direct.

Uses for QR Codes in Direct Mail

QR Codes… What are they? …What do they do? Are they for me?

These are all good questions and we will cover them. You should be asking “What do I want to appear on someone’s smart phone when they scan it”?.
…an image?
…a webpage?
…a signup page?
…a Facebook page?

Let’s start from the basics. QR codes or Quick Response codes are just like any barcode, they hold bits of information in them a computer can read. They only take it one step further! With the use of a smart phone they can connect to your company’s website, your social media site or even contact information.

These codes originally developed in Japan. If you ask anyone that’s been there they will tell you that QR Codes are everywhere and everyone has a smart phone. Here in the United States they are starting to become popular, but the downside is that not everyone has a smart phone.

There are lots of options but the most common option would be to have a QR code connect to your website, sign up page, or a certain promotion going on at your website.

Other options can be:

1. Variable Driving Directions
2. Email signup form on your site
3. Your social media promotion page, Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, etc.
4. Hotel Registration page
5. Event calendar
6. YouTube Video
7. Special casino promotion
8. Shopping cart
9. Contact information
10. Coupon

Just tell us what URL you’d like embedded and we’ll take care of the rest!
Of course at CSG Direct mail you know they can have variable content too!

What drives Michael Hemphill: casino direct mail

Direct Mail Man MichaelI have been in direct mail for over 20 years. If direct mail were a hotel room with 300 rooms… I’ve been in every one of them. I have been certified by the US Postal service multiple times over the years as a Mail piece Quality Control Specialist. CSG Direct also backs me with at least 25 other people certified at the same level. Together we optimize print, data and mail projects every business day.

I get a unique excitement when I walk into a casino. Standing on that casino floor, I have the most experience, qualifications, training, and innovations of any direct mail person to ever walk in those golden doors. I am born for this and it is what drives me every day.

Ironically, my biggest competitors are printers that have been dabbling in mail for 3 to 7 years. They are by no means current on direct mail marketing but their company decided to sell direct mail to get more print. The sales representative that represents that vendor is not in the same ballpark as me when it comes to experience or training. I have been innovating in the direct mail industry for over 20 years, they have started ‘selling it’ as an add-on because they were told to.

What drives me so intensely now is that this representative is my actual person-to-person competitor. “Is that all you’ve got?” I yell to the world. Casinos deserve better than that! Our tourism economy requires more than that.

To further break down my competitor: he is not a programmer, he is not a database person, he is not my direct mail equal by any measure, he is an ink person trying to compete in my data world.

CSG Direct invents and evolves direct mail. Our competitors can only follow.
• We Created the 1st direct mail portal.
• We invented “to our friends at” and it grew across the country from my use.
• We invented direct mail tracking and we are unmatched
• We are early adopters of NCOA and were the only vendors in NV for years
• We provided direct mail software to casinos for years
• We are the only vendor uploading data into player tracking systems
• We have worked with Casinos all over the country
• Innovated variable printing with Variable Direct Mail Maps
• Direct mail SEO leads champs
• Landing pages, Salesforce.com
• Early adopters of IMB barcodes
• QR codes and so much more

We Are Casino Direct Mail, Nobody makes variable data printing dance like we do.

That Casino deserves us and we deserve them.
They deserve the best. We are the Best.

That’s what drives me.

Simplified Addressing for Businesses: Every Door Direct Mail

This year the US Post Office is offering an expansion of Simplified Addressing for businesses to mail saturation flat mailers within city routes. Previously, only government agencies could mail to city routes using the simplified ECRWSS format. The expectations from the postal service are that small businesses will be able to saturate their neighborhoods without the expense of data acquisition or addressing. This will work well if one has a broad demographic and a basic understanding of postal requirements for facing slips, entry procedures and protocol.

The down side for these businesses is that they will need to acquire a permit ($185) and pay the permit application fees ($185). If they are not a regular mailer, this is a major cost to absorb. They are also limited on how refined they can target their audience with a saturated mailer. For example: If a local insurance agent wishes to target RV owners, data is available for RV owners. To further refine the search…we may wish to target RV owners with modeled good credit ratings (much more desirable for insurance agents), or homeowners with RV’s – in an attempt to capture larger customer portfolios. The printing and mailing costs might be greatly reduced by only sending to the audience whom you wish to present to. By saturating the entire area – the same agent may lose focus of his intended audience due to responses from unqualified leads or less than prime targets. A personalized “one to one” mail-piece tailored to the individual will net greater response overall. We are talking about cost per response, NOT cost per piece. A mailing that costs the same, targets a more refined audience and triggers greater response is a much wiser investment for many marketers.

Simplified addressing works well for restaurants, ice cream shops, local service/repair shops, home maintenance businesses, etc. that might appeal to a vast majority of individuals within a route or neighborhood. Each business has a unique marketing need, and should have a well-planned and executed approach to meeting their budget and ROI requirements. Marketing is essential in these tough economic times, and intelligent marketing is the lifeblood of most any business. An experienced direct mail marketing partner who is familiar with the postal system and marketing trends is an investment that one should carefully consider. A marketing partner like CSG Direct.

The post office has also unveiled some great tools for establishing counts and finding routes and zip codes within given cities.

I hope you find peace in your mailing universe, and may your 2011 campaigns be successful.

Find out more about Every Door Direct Mail™

New Postage Rates for 2011

New Postage 2011

First we’ll share the announcement from the US Postal Service about the newly released 2011 Postage Rates then we’ll give you our take below.

———-

Announcement from the US Postal Service:

January 14, 2011

Announcing the continuation of POSTNET barcodes for automation rates beyond May 2011, the continued use of those barcodes for CONFIRM subscribers, and new pricing set to take effect April 17, 2011.

• The new price sheet for CONFIRM can be found online at www.usps.com/prices.

• POSTNET usage has been extended for automation rates beyond May 2011.

• CONFIRM subscribers using PLANET barcodes will also be allowed to continue using the PLANET barcodes beyond May 2011.

• CONFIRM subscribers who have already transitioned to the IMb are encouraged to continue using the IMb. Please do not reactivate a PLANET Code subscriber ID in your system if you have already discontinued its use.

Thanks,
USPS-National Customer Support Center
———-

New Postage Rates ChartHere is our compiled list of common new postage rates for 2011

As we dig through the new rates there is a lot you can tell by where they raise the rates the most as well as hidden rate reductions. Over the years we have been able to design services based on where we see the direction of increases going.

This year we see the biggest changes in the smaller postcards (4.25×6″ max).
We also see a small reduction in non-profit automation:

postage rate review

There has been a lot of pressure on the post office to increase rates and still balance the public relations nightmare of hurting all the small non-profits that count on direct mail to raise funds. In this rate-case we see a decrease in the automation rates charged to non-profit groups. This is likely to help push them into automation and away from stamps, labels, tape and staples.

The rest of this rate-case is pretty small really. One of the smallest I have seen in a long time.  This is probably due to the fact that we are now getting increases annually instead of every 4 years like in decades past.

Notice also how the largest increases are in the smaller postcards in 1st-class non-automation and single piece rates. This would tend to indicate that this is either a category that is more labor intensive, or there are so few that nobody will notice; which is highly possible. I know from experience that these cards rarely have enough room to do a proper address and the full rate ones are those handwritten ones you get at every tourist attraction in the world.

Those postcards are impossible to automate with that old-fashion vertical-line style design in the middle of the address side of the card.  They need one of our new postal automated designs from one of our USPS Mailpiece quality certified designers here at CSG Direct.direct mail quotes

(postage rates at csg here)

Setup a Direct Mail Postage CAPS Account?

What is a Direct Mail CAPS Account and how do you set one up?

A CAPS Account stands for Centralized Account Processing System. The post office makes it easy for your business to electronically put money into your postal account, instead of the hassle of getting a check prepared and deposited at the Post Office before the 5:30 deadline every day. It is the easiest way to fund your permit, business reply mail, merchandise return service, postage due account, and express mail corporate account.
There are two different CAPS Accounts available for postal customers to use. There is a centralized trust account, where customers deposit funds using electronic funds transfer to the CAPS bank prior to mailing. Then, your account is automatically reduced when your local post office processes postage statements. The next CAPS account is the centralized debit account, where customers designate a debit-enabled bank account for postage charges. The bank account is debited for the total day’s postage on the next bank business day.
Each CAPS account customer will have their own unique account number and password to ensure that funds are properly administered. It makes it quick and convenient to mail under the same permit imprint that they have already held (if a personal permit previously existed.) Postal Customers can set up their accounts to have mailing and accounting fees administered automatically.
To set-up a CAPS account contact your USPS local post office, or you can call the CAPS Service Center at (650) 377-1334. You can also download the forms to sign up for CAPS at http://caps.usps.gov/business/caps.asp and mail them into:

CAPS Service Center Postage CAPS Account
2700 Campus Drive
San Mateo, CA 94497-9442

CSG Direct, Inc works very closely with the USPS and we know all about CAPS Accounts. If you need my help, I am just a phone call away 775-852-9777.

No Postage Rate Increase this January

In an announcement that shocked many today, the Postal Direct Mail PostageRegulatory Commission soundly rejected the Postal Service’s request for a postage rate increase of 5.4 percent on January 1, 2011.

This means that postage rates will remain the same until they can be legally changed under the price cap formula next May.  This is also a stunning loss for the Postal Service has it has pleaded that it desperately needs the money to sustain its operations and it comes in the middle of union negotiations with two of the largest postal unions.

The Envelope Manufacturers Association strongly fought this increase through our Affordable Mail Alliance and we filed many hours of testimony showing how this rate increase would damage a recovery in our industry.  This decision to hold prices stable will have a positive impact on mailings both in the Fall and next year and upholds an important principal in the Postal Accountability and Enforcement Act that price increases could not be greater than inflation.  EMA fought hard for that position as we did to uphold the law.

PCC Newsletter – July 2010

PCC NewsletterThe July PCC Newsletter is out.

Click on the image to open it –>

Michael Hemphill from CSG Direct was last months guest speaker. He taught the local market about the USPS Business Gateway.

The Northern Nevada PCC is one of over 200 PCC chapters across the country. The PCC’s mission is to provide a professional environment where both the USPS and local business mailers can interact and learn from each other. Our Lunch & Learn events provide information on current topics and the opportunity to network directly with colleagues and USPS representatives.

PCC Lunch and Learn: Business Customer Gateway

Postal Customer CouncilPCC of Northern Nevada Lunch and Learn Series

Guest Speaker: Michael Hemphill of CSG Direct, Inc

The US Postal Service continues to Michael Hemphill PCC Luncheonmodernize and automate steps to keep postage low and better serve its clients. Come learn about 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).

Here is the USPS Business Customer Gateway Powerpoint (trimmed)

Speaker: Michael Hemphill of CSG Direct, Inc

Topic: Business Customer Gateway

Location: Atlantis Casino, 3800 S Virginia St, Grand Ballroom 5

Date: Thursday May 20, 2010

Time: Registration at 11:30 am, Lunch served at 12:00

Cost: $20

Reserve your seat by contacting Cindy Cornelison at 775-788-0690.
Call early to request a vegetarian meal.

Here is a scanned copy of the postcard invite from the PCC:

PCC Luncheon