Add Drive Time Distance to your Customer Database

Did you know you can classify your customers based on the drive time distance to your business? You can use drive time distance to configure offers, analyze trends, and identify marketing opportunities inside your customer database.

Some of the distance, drive time and address data we can add for you:

  • Drive Time (based on shortest route)Drive Time Data
  • Distance(as bird flies)
  • Longitude/Latitude
  • Zip+4
  • Address Verification (CASS)
  • National Change of Address updates (NCOA)

We offer this  valuable service as an offline bulk process or as an automated daily update to your in house customer database. Your database can be cleaned, verified, and updated daily, weekly or monthly – keeping it completely current despite your customers changing address.

We can also help you add triggered automated direct mail and/or emails to compliment this service! You can call us at 800.881.2150 or request a quote at csgdirect.com to discuss your specific needs.

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Direct Mail Company Expansion

CSG Direct Mail and Digital Printing is combining our plants in Reno Nevada.

Direct Mail Company FacilityWe are combining our Las Vegas Facility and our Reno Facility into a single facility in Reno Nevada. Fate once again has us moving into some place bigger and better.  We are moving all our presses into one fabulous facility at 640 Maestro Dr #100, in beautiful Reno Nevada.

As a company that designs, prints and mails direct mail marketing for customers all over the country, we have lots of options as to where we want our plant.  We choose Reno Nevada based on its ideal location for distribution and its ideal location for living.

Reno is a little city with big town swagger.

IDEAL FOR DISTRIBUTION: Reno-Sparks is on Interstate-80; just East of the San Francisco ship yards, in tax-friendly Nevada. Companies from all over the world come to Reno Nevada as a major distribution point to the rest of the Country.  Some companies with handle major distribution in our area are Amazon.com, Wal-Mart, Barnes & Noble, Microsoft, Intuit Software, JC Penny, RR Donnelly and we are now welcoming Apple to our region.

Reno is an ideal location for fast distribution across the country for our customers. We have tracked 2-3 day delivery to Texas and Colorado with US Mail tracking of standard mail.

biggestlittlecityIDEAL FOR LIFE: Living alongside Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada Range is “The Biggest Little City” with Big City Swagger.  Talented people are drawn to this region for a better life and a place to flourish in a balance of work and play.

Where else can you work until 5 O’clock and by 6 O’clock you can be skiing, hiking, boating, horse-riding, snowmobiling or rafting, paragliding or motorcycle riding in many directions of beautiful mountain and country roads?  Reno-Tahoe is the most personally rewarding place to live and work.

CSG Direct is the largest digital printer for direct mail in Nevada with 9 digital presses. We invented US Mail Tracking and unique iPhone apps to track every piece of mail you send. We created variable printed maps and we are a Full Service Intelligent Mail provider with the USPS. We have very rare combination of direct mail skills, tools and innovations indeed.

As a National Direct Mail innovator we would be a leader in any city we chose to work from.  We are glad to call the Biggest Little City home. #BiggestLittleCity

Marketing Automation Database Driven Solutions for everyday problems

Marketing Automation Database Driven Solutions for everyday problems

How many times have you heard someone say “If I could clone you we could get so much more done”?  It’s been said many ways but the question always revolves around cloning someone because they are already so busy and their skills are needed somewhere else as well.

A dream we all have is to take our most motivated and driven staff and clone them instead of hiring and training other people that may or may not be as driven or as capable.

What if there was a way to free-up your most valuable personnel?  What if you could set them free to work in other areas?  You COULD get so much more accomplished each day!

This is where Marketing Automation comes in

What if every report, every direct mail campaign, every post-forma and every possible daily task was automated to happen wither someone came in to work or not?  Think about it.

What if you could put all your daily struggles on cruise control and your entire team got to focus on new guest experiences, contests, expansions and community outreach?

I’m not saying it’s 100% possible… But What If it was?

It would be like you just cloned your entire staff and the they all got to focus 100% of their time on those new pressing issues on the top of your internal bucket lists.  Think of how much more you could do if they were not stuck on mundane daily paper pushing, database queries, reports and spreadsheets.

The Big Bonus is that you only pay 1 set of wages even though you are getting the work done of an entire extra cloned department by automating as many tasks as possible. Then, if you have staff turnover all those items are still being completed as planned without any skipping a single beat.

Where do we start?

The best way to get started is to let everyone know that you are forming an automation task force to audit all the redundant, mundane but critical tasks that keep us at our desks and not in front of guests or directly working on refining and building promotions.

Have your IT department create a full audit of every report that is created by every person in every department. Document the time spent on building post-formas, mailing lists, email blasts, data entry, creating redemption codes and every other daily, weekly monthly task that involves your staff’s time.

Have an ongoing contest across your entire property to identify redundant tasks that could be automated even if they all seem like they could not be done at first. Offer rewards and incentives for the people that find the largest blocks of time that could be saved.

Don’t forget to automate this incentives program as well.

Many ideas will see unreachable at first but with all these ideas on the table at once it will be very easy to identify large blocks of time and energy that could be spared by programing them to be automated.

Low Hanging Fruit

The reason we start with an audit of all tasks is that we can quickly identify the largest savings of time and energy. For example, many reports can be combined into 1 report and generated on a timed basis in SQL and emailed daily/weekly to everyone that needs it.

Many decisions you would make based on that report could be automated as well so that the logic doesn’t change from day to day.

Imagine that every day a list of inactive guests is queried and an excel spreadsheet is generated.  You then forward that list to your hosts for them to call on.  They in return call those guests and offer them a special room rate.  The next step would be to mail those guests a special offer to get them back in.

Automate it!

Instead of the last scenario you program SQL to generate that exact same call list and forward it as an excel spreadsheet directly to the hosts themselves on a timed basis.  That same data is automatically transferred to our automated direct mail facility where those direct mail pieces go out daily. The host says “I’m sending you a special offer” and those personalized offers are already in the mail.  Hosts spend more time on the phone with guests and you just freed up expensive talented staff to do something else important.

Direct Mail Automation

You can call it “Triggered Mail” or “Timed Mailings” but what we’re talking about is putting your mailings on cruise control while still offering the same level of personalization and more.

Don’t wait until you have time to get to your customers that are going inactive.  Address it immediately, without any required labor; through automated offers triggered by events the database can track.  Don’t wait for a mailing of 1000 when you can reach out to every single declining play or declining trip customer with a mailing as small as 1 piece that goes out daily.

Why are you waiting to reach out to that client?  I know, “you’re too busy”.  Automate it!!

Setup a small data transfer every morning from your player database to our data center and your personalized direct mail art merges with your data and prints automatically on one of our digital Presses.  We then cut, fold, insert and apply postage and your new member, birthday or inactive mailers go out every single day.

With automation you also receive an email summary each morning of how many pieces were mailed with an opportunity to review the variables used in your mailer.  Records are also automatically cleaned and compared to the US Postal Service for accuracy as well as to make them look better in your mailer.

This is an easy service to setup and you can focus your time and energy on your more complex promotions where you need to be focused.
Think of all the marketing programs you can automate:
•    New Members
•    Birthdays
•    Inactives or trip frequency decline
•    Increased or declining play offers
•    Monthly Mailers

You can easily automate personalized Letters, Postcards and Emails with Variable Print, Variable Offers, Variable Images and variable Envelopes.

If you want Blackjack players to receive blackjack images and Keno people to get pictures of Keno just build that in.  In many ways automated direct mail can be much more personalized than the manual tasks you do now.

Automating your redundant marketing tasks may be the biggest no-brainer in marketing. It can eliminate the response-rate rollercoaster ride of all the manual methods you’re doing now. You truly get something measureable and consistent month after month and year after year since it is automated and not influenced by staff changes along the way.

Casino Triggered Automated Marketing

Everyone in the casino industry has struggled with new player signup bounceback mailers.

  • Can we send them something to bring them back?
  • How soon do we send them something?
  • How many man-hours can we spend on this each week?

Everyone wants to mail them daily but doing so is a distraction for your marketing department when you are short-staffed and have 1000 other things to get done.  So most casinos try and make sure they send them every 2 weeks or monthly.

Sadly, many casinos don’t mail them at all and lose the “Welcome to our Party” opportunity.

This is where Marketing Automation comes in

You can call it “Triggered Mail” or “Timed Mailings” but what were talking about is putting your new player welcome mailings on cruise control while still offering the same level of personalization and more.

We setup a small data transfer every morning from your player database to our data center and your personalized direct mail art merges with your data and prints automatically on one of our 9 Digital Presses.  We then cut, fold, insert and apply postage and your new member mailers go out every single day.

You also receive an email summary each morning via email of how many pieces were mailed with an opportunity to review the variables used in your mailer.  Records are cleaned and compared to the US Postal Service for accuracy as well as to make them look better in your mailer.

This is an easy service to setup and you can focus your time and energy on your more complex promotions where you need to be focused.

Once you have New Members automated, think of all the other “holes” in a marketing program we can automate.  Our automation works great for:

  • New Members
  • Birthdays
  • Inactives breaking trip frequency
  • Increased or declining play offers
  • Much Much More…

Letters, Postcards and Emails

We offer 4 different automation mailer sizes:

  • 6×9 Full Color Variable 4/4 Postcards
  • 6×11 Full Color Variable 4/4 Postcards
  • 8.5×11 Full Color Variable 4/0 Letters and Envelopes
  • 8.5×14 Full Color Variable 4/0 Letters and Envelopes

We offer email triggered marketing as an add-on to any one of these too.

Variable Print, Variable Offers, Variable Images, Variable Envelopes

Nobody out-variables CSG Direct so we make this VERY EASY to be VERY Personalized.  If you have 4 letters for 4 tiers or different offers for non-locals vs locals… We build that in.

If you want Blackjack players to receive blackjack images and Keno people to get pictures of Keno, slots, etc..  We build that in.  At only $485 1-time setup this is maybe the biggest no-brainer in casino marketing.

Personalized Envelopes???  That’s impossible!  Right?

Something truly unique that our programs offer is full-color variable envelopes. This means we print your letterhead and envelopes on the fly with your offers and you can do variable tag lines and variable images, return addresses and more in the same program.

Do you want a picture of your players club card with their names on it on the front of an envelope in daily mailings of 1 piece to 500?  That’s what people come to CSG Direct Mail for…  The Good Stuff, Cheap.

All kinds of great casino services and innovations are coming out of Nevada from CSG Direct Mail. We are the Largest Digital Printer in Nevada with a reputation for better results.

Reach out to us and tell us about your new member mailers.  We’ll automate them!

SQL Address Correction over the web (CASS)

I just wanted to share that we have finished building our Address Correction program to CASS certify records directly inside SQL over the internet.

We have deployed it into our daily triggered mailings so that every record a customer transfers to us is cleaned and updated to the USPS Addressing standards, zip+4 etc

We are updating Canadians in the same pass.

To Expand on the possibilities…
This means that we could connect this CASS program directly into a timed process with any customer to clean their internal databases as well.

What if a Casino uploaded their new signups to us each day, me cleaned and mailed them, then they import those database changes back into their system?  This would be easy to do at this point.  Too easy.

I would suggest going deeper and query:
SELECT TOP (1000) *
FROM dbo.PLAYERS
WHERE [ZIP] EXCLUDES *-*

They could send us 1000 records per day where zip+4 has not been coded.
This could be a nice daily cleansing ritual that runs Hands-Free and over the course of 30 days their database would be pristine. Plus it would continue to check for records to clean each day so it always stayed pristine.

Another milestone of capabilities for us here at CSG.

Never stop learning and growing!

New Direct Mail Folding and Tabbing Requirements

New rules for Folded Self-Mailers (FSMs) and Tabbing become effective January 5, 2013.  Are you ready?

Yes, you read it right.  More changes from the post office.  This time they say the changes will reduce damaged mail pieces and keep the high-speed postal machinery from jamming and slowing processing.  Well, that sounds good!  There will be no grace period, so get with your graphic designers and pass on the new requirements.

What is a Folded Self-Mailer?  It is a mail piece comprised of panels created when a single sheet or multiple sheets of paper are folded together and sealed to form a letter-size mailer.  It does not go in an envelope and is not bound in any way.  Any mailer that is bound in any way is a booklet and the new tabbing rules do not apply.  Mailers with discs have been reclassified and have different rules.

Here is a summary of the most important new rules for Folded Self-Mailers:

  1. Height maximum is now 6 inches (Minimum height is still 3 ½ inches).
  2. Length maximum is now 10 ½ inches (Minimum length is still 5 inches).
  3. Maximum Weight: 3 ounces.
  4. Final fold must be at the bottom of the mailer or on the leading edge (right side) of the mailer for oblong pieces.
  5. Limited to 12 total panels.
  6. Final folded panel creates the non-address side of the mailer as folded bottom to top or leading to trailing edge.  Address panel can no longer be on the very top panel.
  7. Mailers with 4 panels must be printed on 28 # bond stock (70 # book) minimum.

Here is a summary of the most important new rules for Tabbing:

  1. Perforated tabs are no longer accepted.
  2. Minimum size of tab is one inch in diameter.
  3. Minimum number of tabs is two.
  4. Placement of tabs is dependent upon the design of the mail piece.
  5. Tabs can no longer be placed on the bottom edge of the mail piece.
  6. 2 one-inch tabs may be used for mail pieces weighing one ounce or less.
  7. Mail pieces weighing over one ounce must use two 1 ½ inch tabs.

Have questions or concerns or need help with a tricky mail piece?  Give us a call and send us a copy of your artwork before you go to print and we’ll help make sure you have it right!

Call us at 800-881-2150… We’re here to Help!

Or here is our online request form

Triggered Direct Mailings in more detail

Continued from Triggered Mailings Part 1

Personalized Triggered Mailings

Personalized Triggered Mailings

Player guest Mary has been playing video poker for 3 days. She has accumulated enough points to move up to the Platinum level. The database notices this (we told it to watch for this) and triggers(1) a text to Mary’s cell phone “Hey Mary, you just made it to the platinum club. We are sending you a free Room offer as your first reward”.

The database also triggers(2) a personalized letter sent that day welcoming Mary to the platinum level with her Free Room night in it. This letter goes out by noon at the completion of her trip because the database triggered the data to merge and print directly on a waiting, automated press; hands-free.

She gets this offer letter 1 or 2 days after she gets home, not a month later when ‘the batch’ goes out.

The database also triggers(3) an email to be sent in 1 week later telling Mary that she earned some freeplay for her next trip (segmented and personalized based on your reinvestment plan). If she makes her reservation this week we can upgrade her to a 2-night stay.

The final scenario the database is looking for is to see if Mary comes back in or redeems our offers. If after 6 weeks Mary has not returned for a trip the database triggers(4) an increased reinvestment mailer where she is offered a free dinner for her and a friend if she books her room this week.

Design many trigger scenarios easily

Marys’ sample story is just that, a sample.
Triggers(1-4) included :

  1. Text on her cell phone (if she provided it)
  2. Personalized Bounceback letter
  3. Personalized Email offer coordinated with her letter
  4. An increased reinvestment mailer

You could have even triggered a text to her host to visit her on the floor if possible.

You can design as many scenarios that you can think of to create an endless array of personalized and automated triggered guest experiences that run all year long instead of bulk batches of mailings done monthly. Guests don’t always think in monthly batches like we do.  They are all on their own individual journeys and when we treat them that way we get our best results.

Triggered Direct Mail Marketing for Daily Success

Triggered direct mailings are mailings that are going out every single day that nobody has to manage. These mailings are known to work better than your other mailings because they are ‘triggered’ when all the ideal details come together for the guests you want most.

When you get stuck in budget meetings and everybody is putting out fires, there are mailings being sent out automatically from your player database to people matching your perfect criteria with your best segmented offer.

Automated Direct Mail Triggers

Automated Direct Mail Triggers

You can build perfectly timed, segmented and personalized mailings and put them on cruise control.

Send these daily offers to 1 person or thousands.

  • Nobody has to pull a mailing list
  • Nobody has to deal with postage
  • Timed and optimized with your favorite tiered offers

This is not a new concept so put those mailing labels down

In every phase of technology people hang onto the past because it becomes engrained.

Do you remember printing labels and giving those labels to the mail shop to apply onto your mailers? From labels we eventually gave the mailshop a diskette.  Then we started using thumb drives, email and ftp. Data moves fairly quickly now, but emailing a mailing list to a printer or a mailshop is the equivalent to printing labels these days.

In comes 2012 and casinos all over the world transfer data automatically outside of the player database to allow players to login to websites and see their points and what offers they have earned. The player database is being used to communicate in Kiosks and personalized offers are displayed directly on the machines too, automatically.

This is possible because your player database is updating outside vendor databases directly on a timed schedule.  Your player database has come a long way in how it communicates with your guests.

Why are we sending out mailings every 2-3 weeks when we can send them daily?

We tend to think in monthly cycles. We send out 2-3 mailings each month and we have a 1 week breather before we start working on next months. Usually we use the art from last month, make a few changes then pull new data and send all this to our vendor.  Rinse, Repeat.

Sure, we do analyze results to make changes to next month’s offers but the next mailer will go out before you have results from the last one so…  let’s just get this in the mail, it’s late right?

This monthly rinse and repeat cycle is the ‘labels’ of 2012.

For at least 2 of your 3 mailings you are using the exact same queries each month, applying the same reinvestment curve and just adjusting your event schedule.  I am by no means saying this is ideal but these things can be automated so you can focus more on the recipe and less on the processes.

Your time is best spent designing ideal client-relationship segments and reinvestment curves to match. You should not have to spend so much time pulling and sending lists, dealing with postage, handling return mail, uploading art and proofing content.

Build each player segment, matching art and put each one on cruise control.

Triggered Direct Mailings Continued here

Quality Control, Your life depends on it!

quality control paperwork at CSG direct mailQuality Control, or “QC”, is the process in which the details and consistency of a job are reviewed before the job is advanced to the next stage of protocol. QC includes the job’s artwork and its data. Both steps are crucial when preparing a print job. For instance, you may have the correct amounts in the data, but it may be mapped to the wrong version of artwork. The job could be going presorted first class mailing, but the barcode reads standard mailing. These are two of many possible examples of errors that can lead to costly mistakes. One mistake is all a job needs to go horribly awry! That one mistake could cost you thousands of dollars or even your client altogether. This guide is here to help you prevent such mistakes from happening.

Preemptive Measures
Q: What is the first step in preventing a mistake from happening?

A: Having all the proper details written where everyone who handles the job can read them. This means writing up the proper instructions for everything: art, data, postage, assembly, etc. By gathering all the job details at once before the job begins, it will help insure the customer has full knowledge of the outcome of their project and what it requires; therefore lessening the likeliness that there will be changes. Remember, every time you go back and change something in a job that’s already begun, the odds of errors greatly increase! After being in this business for 7 years, I can’t stress that enough.

Proofing
Due to its very nature, variable printing can contain many details to keep an eye on. For example, one mailer alone can have variable dates, freeplay amounts, hotel offers, account numbers, addresses, disclaimers, and varying graphic fields. I think you get the picture. That’s a lot of fields to keep in line.

Steps to proofing a job before sending it out for customer sign-off:

1. Know the variables and all aspects involved in that particular job.
a. Dates, amounts, disclaimers, address fields, snipes, graphic fields, etc.

2. How many versions are there? Are there multiple versions being run as one? Proof each and every version!

3. Mailing Class? Presorted standard, Full rate first class? What is your mailer being run as? Are there multiple versions being run as different postal rates?

4. Check the proofs against the original start data. For example, on the proofs it says John Smith Account# 40456 is getting $5,000 in freeplay. Wait! That’s a lot of money to just be giving away. Now going back to the start data you may find out that John Smith Account# 40456 is only supposed to get $500 in freeplay. Try explaining that mistake to your customer. So, when comparing the proofs to the start data look for these things:

a. Name and address. Is John Smith at 123 Liberty Lane on the proof as well as in the start data?
b. Any type of offers that may be included in the start data, such as: Amounts, dates, hotels offers, disclaimers, locality (This is where knowing all the variables in data really comes in handy).
c. Version: The proof says John Smith is getting “version A” does the start data reflect that?
d. Double check if there are “bi-weekly” or “semi-monthly” type offers. It would be a shame if John Smith got $100 every day when he was supposed to get $100 every other week!

5. Is the mailer size the proper dimensions? Does it go in an envelope or is it folded down to proper size? Ultimately, does the final product reflect the instructions given by the customer AND what is written up in the instructions for the job?

6. Color. Do the colors match those of the original artwork? (You may have to consult with a graphic designer on this.)

7. Spelling and grammar mistakes! Proofread every single word and sentence!

Comparing the final product to the start files is one of the most efficient ways to ensure you will be providing your customer with proper proofs. Many times customers will not fully understand the magnitude of the seemingly miniscule details involved in digital variable printing, thus overlooking small (but huge!) mistakes. This is why it is crucial that we catch these errors before we send proofs to our clients.

Address Block Sign-offThis is it. This is your last chance to change or fix the job before all five thousand, ten thousand, one hundred thousand (!) pieces are printed and money is thrown away because nobody checked a silly little thing like class, barcode, quantity, etc.

Things to check before signing off on the address block:

1. Class. For each version that you sign off on.

2. Barcode. Does it scan? If so, make sure the barcode reflects the class and work order.

3. Address. Make sure all the proper fields are there, such as: First Name, Last Name, Company, Address 1, Address 2, City, State, Zip Code, Country, etc.

4. Once again I recommend going back and comparing the given record(s) with the start data.

5. Check the postal paperwork. Does the postal paperwork and tray tags reflect the information in the job instructions?

6. Color, size, paper – make sure all of these are correct.

In closing, I must stress that communication between the sales rep and the customer is the most essential part to ensuring a smooth process that will lead to a successful marketing campaign. Furthermore, this communication must be transcribed orderly and properly into the job’s instructions. There is no reason for an error to happen if the proofing process is properly utilized and every small detail is checked. Look at it this way: would you rather spend 10 minutes proofing your job or 10 hours and double the cost reprinting it because you were too busy to proof? I know, that’s a no-brainer!

Okay, you’ve proofed it, the customer signed off, and now it’s in your lap for address block sign-off? I know you’re probably asking yourself, “What the heck! I thought this job was good to go?” But who knows, maybe something was accidentally changed in the time that the customer signed-off to the time it took a press operator to get the job ready, this is your last chance to catch any mistakes, take advantage of it!

By Chris Ohm -Data and Design Department

Paul Erickson joins CSG Direct Mail

When I look back through my career it is divided into “Phases”. Those phases are always centered around our largest milestones and the progress that follows. I know 2012 is one of those milestones and 2012 is the beginning of “The Era of Paul“.

We are very excited to share with you that Paul Erickson has joined our team (your team) as General Manager of our CSG Direct digital-printing plant in Reno, Nevada.  Paul brings with him over 34 years of print plant management, team development and print manufacturing experience.

Paul is a Six Sigma Champion and is experienced in Business Management Strategy.

For anyone in our region that is aware, Paul is known for his tenure at RR Donnelley where for 9 years he was the Vice President of Manufacturing at the Reno plant.  However, Paul has many other accomplishments that demonstrate his deep level of experience.

Paul began his career after he earned his BS in Printing Management from South Dakota State University.  More recently Paul was the managing director of Polestar Sheffield, the largest gravure printing facility in the U.K with a very demanding customer base and a high level of customer satisfaction.

Paul came back to the US to run the very prestigious US Government Printing Office for 3 years as the Deputy Public Printer and Chief Operating Officer.  In this very demanding position Paul still adopted and implemented the ISO 9001 standard for quality assurance and management in GPOs production facilities and led the effort to adopt 5S, a world recognized continuous improvement process in both manufacturing and office environments.

I cannot say enough about how excited we are to have Paul leading our team.

Paul recently shared his insight with us “The future of Printing is digital and CSG Direct has positioned itself well in this market segment. The CSG niche is strong and our unique services offer us unlimited growth and opportunity.”

We’ll if anyone should know… it’s Paul.

Welcome aboard Paul!
We look forward to the new era.