Personalized Digital Variable Book Printing

We’re printing our first digital booklets! Digital variable data printing at CSG Direct Mail has never been more alive! The idea of a press that prints multiple paged personalized booklets, gathers the pages, folds, stitches together, and finally does the 3 sided trim is an incredible dream come true.

Before this investment we had to print separate pages and then offline stitch and trim. That was not a great way to do personalized mail by a long shot. Too many pieces got destroyed in the process and the offline process increased costs and timelines. We’re highly focused on quality and speed!

Direct mail is a details business. Demand quality if you want success. We’ll help you find ways to balance cost and speed from there. Knowing what you’re dealing with is half the battle.

If you are printing booklets for your organization and would like to see samples printed on our new presses get in touch with us or get a quote.

9 Digital Presses and Personalized Digital Books

Well the final 3 new digital presses are almost completely installed.  Special thanks goes out to our electrical teams and contractors for the building modifications and the massive grid of wires, power and network cabling. digital printing

We have been waiting with Christmas Eve enthusiasm to print our first booklets on these new digital presses. The idea of printing multiple paged booklets that gather pages, fold and stitch together and finally do the 3 sided trim is an incredible dream come true for us.

Before this investment we had to print separate pages and then offline stitch and trim.  That was not a great way to do personalized mail by a long shot.  Too many pieces got destroyed in the process and the offline process increased costs and timelines.

Once our facility is cleaned up from the construction we look forward to giving some fresh tours.  We have a few surprises in store for our favorite clients.  We are going to pee ourselves if we have to wait too long to share those surprises.

Using Direct Mail Maps for Personalized Mailings

So you want variable maps on your mailers to give your customers directions to your business? Great! Let’s learn how to set it all up to make it work!

DESIGN AND SPECS
Your first step is deciding exactly what you want your mailing to look like and getting CSG Direct Mail your information so we can output your maps.

1) Design your mailpiece and decide where your map will be placed

Design your mailpiece

Design your mailpiece

2) Measure your map area and send us the dimensions of the map area in inches or pixels

3) Choose your markers using the pdf provided below and send us the codes for both the START and END makers you would like
DOWNLOAD MapQuestMarkers

4) Provide us with your database and tell us what locations you’d like for START and END

5) We will create your variable maps

 

PULLING IT TOGETHER
If we are doing your mailing, you’re done!
All you need to do at this point is send us your artwork and we’ll take care of everything else!

If we are providing you with maps and you are doing your own mail outputs, follow the instructions below for variable output in InDesign.

1) Set up your file in InDesign, and link to your database using your variable program

2) Define and assign your variable area however your program requires it

3) Place/link your map

4) At this point you will need to make sure that your map is scaled correctly for your variable area

Use the fitting command to do this

 

5) Once you have it looking the way you like, you can do your mail output

 

That’s all there is to it!


Variable Direct Mail Printing

Variable Direct Mail Printing can be one of the most powerful mediums of our times. However, most people who sell this to their clients are not even really doing Variable-Printing. 80% of all Variable-Print is nothing more than mail-merge and fancy fonts.

If I get another direct mail offer with my name spelled in sea shells on a beach I am just going to go insane. “OK, Great, you have a sea shell font – wow – thanks!”. What if I’m scared of the ocean? What if I am allergic to Seafood of any kind? Are you selling me something to do with a beach or shells?

If you don’t really know that much about your customers we can append over 100 fields of additional consumer data about them so you know if they like dogs or cats, drive Fords or Chevy’s, etc.. Ironically, done by real variable data teams in direct mail; we’ll still cost you less than all those printers because we do it every day without the baggage of all that crazy software they got sold.

At CSG Direct, we have over 2 decades in Real Variable Data: Variable Data Printing, Variable Data Coding, Randomization, Variable Data Email, Websites, and more.

Digital Presses are Coming – Part 2

Digital Press PicThe saga continues at CSG Direct Mail as we have unwrapped our new digital presses and started preliminary configuration of all the components. The shipping materials are removed, all the sections mate correctly, and monitors and internal components have been installed. It is very exciting to see all the pieces come together as the machine begins to take shape!

Electricians are hard at work pulling wire, setting plugs and configuring the power necessary to feed this magnificent piece of print engineering. Our Facility Contractor is assisting us in reconfiguring the floor to accommodate our new 23 foot behemoths and new workflow it will involve.

Once power and facility upgrades are complete it will be time to slide the pieces into place, bolt it together and begin power-up and testing procedures. After this, training of operator personnel will start with full production to follow quickly.

Growth and expansion can be stressful at times pulling all the elements together, but it also gives one a sense of destiny as we see the future of our enhanced printing services forming before our eyes. Increased production capability, faster turn times and new services for our customers is that future at CSG Direct.

Check back for more updates as we move forward!

New Digital Presses Arriving

New Digital PressesOur New digital Printing Presses have started to arrive in many pieces and will be put together soon.

YES!  New Digital Presses, More Digital Presses!

This will upgrade us to 9 Digital Presses and some serious high speed variable throughput.

I will talk about the new features and newest services as they get setup as well as show you our next variable data self-marketing pieces in the weeks ahead.

But right now it feels like the night before Christmas here at CSG Direct Mail.

 

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.

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!

Preparing Your Variable Mapping Mailpiece

Are you ready to use variable maps on your mailpiece to give your customers directions to your business? Great! Let’s learn how to set it all up to make it work!

DESIGN AND SPECS
Your first step is deciding exactly what you want your mailing to look like and getting CSG Direct Mail your information so we can output your maps.

1) Design your mailpiece and decide where your map will be placed

Design your mailpiece

Design your mailpiece

2) Measure your map area and send us the dimensions of the map area in inches or pixels

3) Choose your markers using the pdf provided below and send us the codes for both the START and END makers you would like
DOWNLOAD MapQuestMarkers

4) Provide us with your database and tell us what locations you’d like for START and END

5) We will create your variable maps

 

PULLING IT TOGETHER
If we are doing your mailing, you’re done!
All you need to do at this point is send us your artwork and we’ll take care of everything else!

If we are providing you with maps and you are doing your own mail outputs, follow the instructions below for variable output in InDesign.

1) Set up your file in InDesign, and link to your database using your variable program

2) Define and assign  your variable area however your program requires it

3) Place/link your map

4) At this point you will need to make sure that your map is scaled correctly for your variable area

Use the fitting command to do this

 

5) Once you have it looking the way you like, you can do your mail output

 

That’s all there is to it!