New iPads coming with USPS Confirm

Direct Mail iPad AppWell the new iPads are coming.  We’re still not sure if they are the iPad3 or iPad HD but the biggest bragging points are the Retina Display, faster processor and 4G connection speeds with Verizon and AT&T.

One of our favorite out-of-the-box applications on the iPad that we enjoy most at CSG Direct Mail is called Facetime.

Facetime allows us to video conference our offices when we’re on the road. It also allows us to be at company meetings remotely using the 2 built-in iPad cameras. This application alone made the iPad2 worth getting.  It will be even better in the iPad3/HD.

us mail trackingNo mention about the iPad would be complete if we didn’t mention our own iPad app called CSG Direct Mail in the iTunes app Store.

Our US Mail Tracking CSG Direct Mail app includes some very powerful USPS Confirm services built to make single piece lookup easy using your normal customer account ID’s to see how every single piece travels across the US through the mail stream.

Nobody else offers this kind of service!  The app is free in the iTunes store. Every mailing you send with us are tracked live.

CSG DIRECT MAIL includes Live Project Tracking from the CSG DIRECT MAIL Processing plant and Live US Mail Tracking as your pieces travel through the US Postal Service.

You can also track all the direct mail production steps through our multi-plant project tracking features.  Know exactly when your mailings are going out and track every penny you spend.

This app helps your planning, budgets, timing and delivery tracking.

This has been THE DREAM in direct mail for decades and we made it a reality! These newest innovations are built on our proprietary Direct Mail Tracking Systems.

USPS Confirm are registered trademarks of the US Postal Service

The CSG Direct Mail Story Continues

Michael and Lorrie Hemphill

Michael and Lorrie Hemphill

I have been asked by my team to rewrite our direct mail story for a new brochure where we don’t have as much room and still need to cover “the good stuff”, so to speak. I like to take this opportunity to add current details to get everyone up to speed on the future of direct mail as well.

After working in a variable statement mailroom at TRW, Michael Hemphill was hired to be an equipment installer and trainer.  This was the same time the US Postal Service introduced the postnet barcode and Michael was one of the leaders on the west coast in training his technicians and 3000 new customers on using postnet barcodes to receive postage discounts.

Michael helped companies like Sprint, MCI, Pac Bell, Blue Cross Blue Shield and the California and Nevada State Mailrooms get into automation.  “I have worked in over a thousand mailrooms installing equipment and training employees,” Michael recalls.

Michael then moved to Nevada to help casinos take advantage of some of the leading edge database management software available for direct mail. Some casinos reported increased response up to 30% over traditional responses rates after implementing Michael’s advice.

Since then CSG Direct Mail has expanded 10 times to our current 50,000 square foot Reno-Tahoe facility and has added our newest Las Vegas office.  We have helped many great companies like:

  • Raley’s
  • Scolari’s
  • Silver Legacy
  • MGM
  • Facebook
  • Wells Fargo
  • Harrah’s Entertainment
  • Tropicana Entertainment
  • Atlantis Hotel Casino
  • Peppermill Resort Casino
  • Eldorado Hotel Casino
  • Terrible’s Casinos
  • Stations Casinos
    …and many others

CSG Direct Mail has created many of the industry’s newest services:

  • LIVE direct mail job tracking portal – 1999
  • gonnahappen.com – an event marketing site – 2003
  • Bonus Bucks direct mail rewards program – 2006
  • LIVE mail piece tracking systems – 2008
  • iTunes Direct Mail tracking app – 2010
  • Variable maps for direct mail – 2011

With three decades in variable database marketing and the largest digital print plant in the West,
CSG Direct Mail continues to provide the greatest value and better results fast to our clients.

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.

Casino Direct Mail Client Testimonial

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

I’ve worked with CSG Direct for many years, and they are absolutely the best mail partner a casino could hope for. They are innovative Leaders at what they do and a friendly hard working company as well. Not just a vendor but a true Casino Partner. They know a good part of the casino marketing side so it helps to have this company on your side when it comes to making decisions about what types of mailings will work best.

Randy Tidwell
Database Marketing Manager
Silver Legacy Resort Casino

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.

State of the Postal Service Part 2

Continued from Part 1

As we continue to review our volume, revenue and financial projections for fiscal years 2012 through 2015, it has become apparent that our financial situation is becoming even more precarious. First-Class Mail volume is declining even more rapidly than we had previously predicted. Standard Mail volume is flat, and in any event cannot adequately compensate for the declines in the much more profitable First-Class Mail that we are experiencing. Therefore, it is clear that we must reduce costs at an accelerated pace.

Our most significant area of cost is in compensation and benefits, and one key driver of those costs is simply the sheer size of our workforce. Therefore, the Postal Service has to be able to reduce the size of our workforce if we are to have any hope of insuring that our costs are less than our revenue. Based on current revenue and cost trends, and assuming a move to 5-day delivery, the Postal Service can only afford a total workforce by 2015 of 425,000, which includes approximately 30% lower cost, more flexible, non- career employees.

Attrition and certain other measures will allow us to achieve a portion of the savings needed to match expenses with revenue by 2015. We estimate that attrition will only result in a staff reduction of approximately 100,000. However, in order for the Postal Service to reduce complement to meet projected volume degradation, we must eliminate roughly 220,000 career positions between now and 2015.

In order to eliminate the remaining 120,000 career positions by 2015, to restore the Postal Service to financial viability, it is imperative that we have the ability to reduce our workforce rapidly. Unfortunately, the collective bargaining agreements between the Postal Service and our unionized employees contain layoff restrictions that make it impossible to reduce the size of our workforce by the amount required by 2015. As explained below, it is not likely that the Postal Service will be able to eliminate these layoff protections through collective bargaining, given the nature of collective bargaining and interest arbitration. Therefore, a legislative change is needed to eliminate the layoff protections in our collective bargaining agreements.

As a Solution we recommend that reductions in bargaining unit postal employees should be governed by the RIF provisions applicable to federal competitive service employees. These provisions must supersede existing contract provisions and should not be subject to modification or supplementation through collective bargaining to avoid conflicts of law and to maintain necessary continuity among bargaining units.

Applying the federal statutory and regulatory competitive service process to the postal bargaining unit workforce could be done in a manner that would produce the following positive results:

The Postal Service could quickly reorganize and right size its bargaining unit workforce utilizing one set of established rules.
Postal bargaining unit employees would have the substantive and procedural protections provided by RIF rules, but collective bargaining agreements would be prohibited from having no lay-off clauses. Issues related to lay-off and reassignment to lower levels would be removed as subjects for collective bargaining.
Postal bargaining unit employees would challenge their lay-offs or involuntary reassignments to lower levels to the MSPB rather than through the grievance procedure.
Veterans’ preference is preserved.
The Postal Service would have a significant tool to return to financial solvency, thus protecting businesses and the majority of jobs for the hundreds of thousands of postal and other employees in the postal industry.

The recommended statutory change would be to modify Title 39, United States Code, to apply the RIF provisions of Title 5 and implementing regulations governing the competitive service to the Postal Service’s bargaining unit employees and to make clear that collective bargaining cannot modify or add to such rights, nor limit the rights of management that are part of the current federal competitive service RIF process.

In Conclusion We recognize that asking Congress to eliminate the layoff protections in our collective bargaining agreements is an extraordinary request by the Postal Service, and we do not make this request lightly. Indeed, the Postal Service generally believes that it and its unions should be free from Congressional mandates as to the provisions of its collective bargaining agreements and that the Postal Service is best served when the bargaining parties can resolve their differences through collective bargaining. However, exceptional circumstances require exceptional remedies.

The Postal Service is facing dire economic challenges that threaten its very existence and, therefore, threaten the livelihoods of our employees and the businesses and employees in the broader postal industry and overall economy, of which the Postal Service continues to play a large part. If the Postal Service was a private sector business, it would have filed for bankruptcy and utilized the reorganization process to restructure its labor agreements to reflect the new financial reality. Because this option is not available to the Postal Service, we believe that this extraordinary request is a key to securing our future and our continuing ability to provide universal service to our nation.

We are urgently engaged with Congress and the Administration to achieve a legislative resolution that will allow us to best serve our customers. Whatever the outcome, not only will it affect the Postal Service – it will shape the future of the entire mailing industry. Meanwhile, our commitment to providing excellent delivery service and connecting senders and receivers across the nation remains unchanged. We will continue to focus on our customers, and to partner with the mailing industry to ensure that together we are positioned to fulfill the changing needs of American customers.

State of the Postal Service Part 1

Information provided by the US Postal Service:

This recession has been particularly cruel to the postal service, already battered by the popularity of e-mail. Total mail volume is declining and just Last year we saw the biggest decline in mail since the Depression: volume fell by 4.5%, or about 9 billion pieces.

The postal service continues to loose volume in it’s largest, most profitable segment: First class mail. The postal service ended the 2008 fiscal year with a $2.8 billion loss, and the next two years may well be worse.

In response to the continuing decline in mail volume and revenue, the Postal Service has taken unprecedented steps over the past decade to reduce cost in areas within its control, including cost reductions totaling $12 billion in the past four fiscal years. The Postal Service has already identified and is pursuing a number of needed legislative changes that would help to return it to solvency.

Actions have been taken across the board to address the financial situation including: Work hour reductions, distribution compression, national distribution center realignment, facility optimization, equipment optimization and restructuring efforts.

The Postal Service is also undertaking, or has proposed, a number of additional steps to help it achieve the cost savings necessary to restore financial solvency. With respect to its delivery network, the Postal Service has and continues to aggressively pursue an optimization initiative that has led to fewer delivery routes, despite the growth in delivery points, along with more efficient usage of vehicles and fuel. In addition, the Postal service has urged Congress to allow 5-day delivery, an essential step in right-sizing the delivery network to reflect the fact that the Postal Service is now delivering a decreasing amount of mail to an ever-expanding number of delivery points.

The Postal Service is also closely examining its retail network, to identify opportunities where postal-operated facilities can be consolidated or replaced with alternate access channels that are both more cost-effective and provide greater access and more convenience for customers. The first step in this process was recently taken by the identification of approximately 3,700 retail facilities that will be studied for possible closure or conversion to contract postal services.
The Postal Service is also moving forward with efforts to streamline its mail processing network.

Currently, the Postal Service has over 500 facilities where mail is processed. Because of the decline in mail volume, referenced above, and the change in mail mix that has led to fewer pieces of mail requiring end-to-end processing, efforts are underway to continue to optimize this network using Area Mail Processing studies and other consolidation initiatives. We anticipate reducing transportation miles and costs and reducing the number of processing facilities to below 200.

Continue to State of the Postal Service Part 2

U.S. Postal Service wants you to use QR Codes

From humble beginnings to one of the nation’s foremost innovators in direct mail tracking and data-driven direct mail , CSG Direct Mail is a local business making big waves. With decades in Database Marketing experience, CSG Direct Mail has a long history of creating innovative new direct mail marketing programs including their new QR code promotion.

Quick Response codes (aka QR codes) are barcodes primarily used by smartphone users to get more information on the product or service being advertised. The camera portion of the phone reads the barcode and acts on the information placed within it. A QR code can contain 4,296 Alphanumeric characters and usually takes the user to a web page that has more actionable functions like order processing and data collection.The barcodes can drive personalized landing pages, shopping cart functions, automated social networking and any other functions coded in the web pages themselves. You could also direct them to phone numbers since they are already being scanned by phones.

Direct mail QR codes add a new dimension of interaction and is the least expensive new technology being used today. All you need is a QR code reader app for your smartphone to scan them. Check your phone’s app store for a QR code reader app that works best for you.CSGDirectMail,alongwiththe U.S.Postal Service, is helping spread the use of QR codes by offering a 3% discount on all mailable pieces which include a QR code throughout the month of August.

Scan the QR code above with a smart phone to receive a special offer from CSG Direct Mail!
For more information visit: http://www.csgdirectmail.com

Direct Mail app

CSG Direct is most famous for innovations in direct mail tracking and the 1st Direct Mail Smartphone app to market. We are a Direct Mail Marketing and Digital Printing company with deep roots in barcodes and tracking.  Our Direct Mail app is Amazing!

DirectMail-Iphone

CSG Direct Mail app

When you have to work with less, you need a vendor that brings more to the table. We continue to redefine what people expect from their direct mail vendors. We are the direct mail business model of the future and The Greatest Value in Direct Mail.

You deserve live job tracking, piece tracking and the highest level of accountability in the palm of your hands and available for whenever you are questioned about your work.

iTunes app link

LIVE PROJECT TRACKING

Have all project details at your fingertips.  Is it printing? Maybe it’s being folded? Did they receive the mailing list? Did it go out yet? When is it going out? Active marketers juggle lots of details and there is no standardized way to tell how well a project is going or why it is taking so long.
Until Now!

No more making phone calls every day, leaving messages and waiting for callbacks.

Direct Mail Cloud Based Services

With a complete Red Light / Green Light system you know if we are waiting on you or if the project is moving as planned. You get live access to the status of each project updated directly from our production floor as the project progresses.  You deserve a high level of accountability from the direct mail industry and we are leading the industry with unmatched minute-by-minute accountability.

USPS CONFIRM

After we complete your mailing and it is delivered to the US Postal Service the accountability goes to the next level.  Our Direct Mail app offers live feedback from all the US Mail sorting equipment across the country so you can tell when it is actually getting delivered. You get unprecedented accountability on the U.S. Mail delivery.

HISTORICAL DETAILS

Look-up past projects to get full audited details on postage, pieces, processing and final delivery timing.  See how long it took to get delivered and then adjust your next mailing for greater success. This is just one way we help you get Better Results Fast.

INTERACTIVE MAPS

Interactive Google Maps show the areas you targeted in your mailing. Zoom in-out and touch any zip-code to see how many pieces you mailed. This is a direct mail cloud service that our customers use and enjoy on the fly, in their hands and available 24/7.

CUSTOMER LOOKUP

Customer Lookup inside the US Postal Service nationwide mail stream is the holy grail for the direct mail industry and we invented it. Using your own customer ID numbers you can find the mailing you have sent them and then see the route, dates and times of the entire delivery process mapped out in interactive Google maps. We Dream Big!

All of this is available only at CSG Direct Mail and live on your smartphone.

iPhone Direct Mail app

iPhone Direct Mail app

CUSTOMERS GET THIS SERVICE FREE AND YOU DESERVE IT!