CSG Direct Mail app US Mail Tracking at PCC

The Northern Nevada Postal Customer Council Direct Mail vendor fair took place last Friday, the 19th of November; at the Atlantis Casino Resort in Reno Nevada.

This was Reno’s first direct mail vendor fair in a very long time as the new PCC board is revamping the local chapter.  The PCC used to be held in the state capital of Carson City but has since moved to Reno since it is the SCF and the main BMEU for the region.

Direct Mail Booth

CSG Direct was there (of course) to show off lots of our current technologies and direct mailing innovations. We brought samples of our variable data personalized printing, dimensional or textured printing, personalized 2d barcodes, Intelligent Mail Barcodes and of course our direct mail tracking application CSG DIRECT MAIL.

We had hoped to bring samples of our newest variable personalized digital mapping for direct mail printing but they were not ready in time, so we’ll save those for another day. We didn’t really need the variable maps though, since our direct mail application on the iPad stole the show.

We brought two iPads so we could show many as many people as possible as the crowds gathered around our booth. Michael Hemphill jokingly declared, “We come from the future” as he proudly demonstrated his newest US Mail Tracking innovations.

What Variable Data Printing Is NOT

Variable data printing can be one of the most powerful mediums of our time. However, most people who sell this to their clients are not even really doing variable printing. Eighty percent 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?

[First Name] mail-merge is kindergarten at best. The tiny increase in response (if any) will rarely justify the extra expense for this kind of fluff. Plus, you have to worry so much about all the negative associations with an unusual, unrelated approach to selling your goods and services.  What’s worse, I have seen entire campaigns switch themes away from a companies core brand just to include these fonts.  If you are a medical supply company you shouldn’t sell yourself with a beach theme just because it looks cool to you.  Remember, it should be relative.

Unfortunately the real professionals of variable printing, the database teams in direct mail, have been inundated with printers that are being convinced to buy hundred thousand dollar specialty packages like seashell fonts and PURLs.  So, in many ways, this is now the industry standard. To the real database marketing professionals this is very disheartening.  However, use this to your advantage!  We’ll show you personalization that makes sense, creates additional results and is truly tied around the desires of your customers and prospects.

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 Ford or Chevy, etc. When this is done by real variable data teams in direct mail it will still cost less than all those printers because we do it every day without the baggage of all that crazy software they bought.

At CSG Direct, we have over two decades experience in real variable data: variable data printing, variable data coding, randomization, variable data email, websites, and more. Our entire site is an example of variable data, but you wouldn’t know that unless I told you. The images, alts, metas, content, embeds, etc. are all database driven variable content management.  All of these tools are built right here at CSG Direct!

CSG Direct lives and breathes variable data so you get better results with REAL personalization!

Casino Marketing is our Industry

The mailing industry is going through major changes and I have heard several industry predictions that many mailing services companys and mail processing printers will “get out” instead of keeping up.  This isn’t a bad thing.

It’s an industry reborn!

So as you look for your partner for the next decade I want to tell you what you need to know about mailing services companys.

They all specialize in something

Due to the large amount of mail and data processing needs in our country, you’ll find that almost every mailshop is eventually pulled into some large account they cater to first and foremost. I have seen it time and time again.

They get pulled into tabloids, invoices, publications, credit card mailings, real estate franchises, etc. You go into any mailshop and see for yourself.  What is the primary industry they serve?  That is the industry that they are best ready to serve and most prepared to consult in.

These days you will often find out that their primary industry isn’t even direct mail. The printing industry started adopting direct mail as a side business to increase revenue about 2-3 years ago.

How would you feel if you found out your “mailing vendor” doesn’t even specialize in direct mail at all?  It sure would explain some things that have happened along the way with your mailings, I’ll bet.

We’re a mailing services company through and through. Sure, we have also grown one of the largest digital print shops in the state of Nevada and we keep every traditional press within reach dancing on our projects.  But we are a mailshop and we take that very personally.  We make a huge difference with the customers that choose us over the status quo. Ask!

It is a big difference and it is what you are looking for. You will never find deep success with people whose core focus is printing.  Printing is a secondary skill in our minds.  This is database marketing.  We’re database marketers with a reputation in variable data printing going back to the 80s.

Casino Marketing is our Industry

That is just one of the reasons to keep us in mind on your next project.  Because we are close, experts in gaming direct mail and have the tools you need.

Direct Mail Quotes aka Direct Mail Prices

We cannot claim to be the Greatest Value in Direct Mail without talking costs. Across the nation we cost less than the average mailshop for all our mailing services.

My philosophy is that if another mailshop charges more than half of what we charge, they are overpriced.  How is it possible that they can charge the same price we do without giving you all the benefits, service and focus that we offer in every single job we do?

This is why once you try us you won’t look back:
We are the Greatest Value in Direct Mail.

I have been in direct mail and working in mailshops and mailrooms for over 20 years now.  I know what everyone is doing and I’ll tell you we dance circles around almost every other mailshop.  Definitely around EVERY shop working with the gaming industry.

We are very passionate about your mail and making you look good during the process.  We know that with every mailing it feels like your job is on the line and you are constantly having to cover for traditional mailshops.

That is unfair to you and it gives the more advanced mail shops a bad name. You deserve a shop whose #1 focus is handling the many details of your job like true trained career professionals.

I promise you that after we get through just 2-3 mailings together (to get each others’ flow down), that you will never go back to a regular mailshop again.

You know we’re qualified.

I humbly ask you to try us out.
We’ll work hard to make you shine!

You deserve it and it doesn’t cost any more than you are already paying so there is no real reason to say no.

Database Marketing Versus Personalized Mail

At first glance database marketing could be seen as either a very vague expression or a very specific one.  Obviously in direct mail we are always using databases in our marketing, but that does not really identify which of the above we provide in specific mailings.

We define the difference simply based on volume and functions used due to the volume. For example, even thought it is rudimentary at best; in order for a mailpiece to be considered personalized there is at least one area where you refer to the person you are addressing by name. With database marketing we may not specifically call the person by name, but we will make sure the offer presented will likely appeal to the recipient based on mining, tiers and historical data.

So in many ways both of these can be considered “personalization”. However, when the audience gets large enough, we may have to resort to non-personalized printing in order to meet a large scale budget. This eliminates marketing directly to the person, and replaces it with marketing to a segment of people or interests. A quick example would be 20,000 pieces vs. 250,000 pieces. We can easily digital variable print (aka Variable Data Printing) anything from 500 to 35,000 pieces or more and keep costs reasonable and response rates elevated. But at 100,000 pieces it becomes much easier to reduce costs dramatically by breaking down the project into tiers and eliminating variables like “Hello, John” from the copy.

At 250,000 pieces we will have strategically separated the data into many tiers, some of which stay digital to maximize personalization and postage. The other versions are printed on a traditional press to maximize price efficiency and avoid paying the per-click charges that digital presses require. This is database marketing – the management of a campaign to optimize costs and response as well as postage cost and delivery balancing.  This is one of the specialized services we are known for, as well as the actual segmenting and variable coding of the project.  Much of this is accomplished with our proprietary programs to maximize flexibility.

You don’t get this done at a printer, this is direct mail and database marketing at its core and belongs with database marketing professionals so you get real results, real savings and a 360 degree understanding of the balance of all the above.  This is where CSG Direct has earned much of our reputation!

Problem with PURLS in Variable Data Printing

I don’t think there is a compelling enough reason to do personalized URLS. We are a variable data printing company and database marketers ourselves. We find PURLS are pushed by the digital press manufacturers as something expensive to sell that the buyer can use to generate business. It’s expensive to buy!

There tend to be a few quick uses for it and then PURLS lose their glamour. The primary use is to get data from a client. Wow, it’s got my name in it! But the fantasy wears off after the first time; especially when they find out that it’s a fact-gathering expedition or survey only.

(Which is great once, but you cannot do monthly surveys without a reason.)

There are just so few reasons to use PURLS.
We focus more on personalization for increased appeal and response. There are many (much more secure) ways to get a client to interact online without PURLS.

In short, expensive gimmick, few uses for the same customer, cool only on the first day it rolled out.

I (We) have been building variable data websites since 1995 to work with direct mail campaigns. It doesn’t have to be fancy to be effective and you can do it quickly with simple landing pages.

By the way, did I mention that we invented a way to track direct mail through the normally hidden mailstream? When we do a mailing you can track the production of your piece online (since 1999) and also track when it is delivered to the US Postal Service.  We also let you track each piece on its journey to its end delivery post office.

There are so many more things you can do on the cheap than to rely on PURLS.

Just my take, but then again I have been doing variable data printing and database programming for over 20 years in direct mail. Not meant as plug – just a reference of experience.

If you need a variable data printing quote just let me know. It’s one of the things we are famous for.