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.

Variable Maps

Variable Maps for Personalized Direct Mail

old style direct mail map

old style direct mail map

We’ve all placed a static map on a direct mail piece or on a brochure or website to help a prospective client understand where we are and help them find us.  Depending on where we are and how far out we are mailing to we might show great local street detail or just a star on a national map to indicate where we are on the country.

Variable Maps Sample

Variable Maps Sample

 

In this modern age of internet, GPS and live driving directions why not personalize this experience and provide a map for each client that gives very specific turn by turn directions to your facility, branches or event locations?

Direct Mail Maps program

CSG Variable Maps program

At CSG Direct Mail we built our own proprietary programs licensed with MapQuest. We built these systems here at CSG so we can customize these maps in many ways.

DRIVING DIRECTIONS

We produce “licensed for print” MapQuest personalized map images and personalized driving directions for each mail piece.

Personalized driving directions and a physical map on your direct mail makes your offer more actionable and keeps your brand in your clients hand for the entire trip.  These maps add value to the direct mail piece beyond the easy driving directions.

You engage on a personal level that few marketing mediums can reach.

Variable-Maps-Sample

Variable Maps Art Sample

We can also beautify this variable map graphically by sizing them to match other graphics and layering them into other art elements. This sample map art is layered into a dashboard GPS.

Variable Direct Mail maps are rare, leading edge and licensed for print.

 


CSGurl

Our variable mapping is also supported by our url conversion and tracking systems. CSGurl converts lengthy url strings like:  http://www.csgdirectmail.com/blog/index.php/2011/07/personalized-printing/ to a string like: http://csgurl.com/print

This is the easiest way to pass digital driving directions on a direct mail piece.  Direct mail recipients can use smartphones, tablets and desktop computers to see full detailed driving directions and a live map online.

You can also embed the variable CSGurl string into a Quick Response barcode.

Personalized Printing

Personalized Printing

Personalized Printing Sample

To the average person in the direct marketing industry, personalized printing is how many times you can use a persons name in the direct mail piece or email you may be sending. They seem to never get tired of inserting [First Name] into every line of text in the piece.

“Poppycock” we say!  We’re pros at how to make a direct mail piece feel personal and get better results fast.

True personalized printing is what us pros do to make a direct marketing offer much more attractive, appealing and relevant to the recipient. You need to use not only every bit of data you have about your customer or prospect, you need to dig in to find more, append and analyze what type of people you are dealing with.

The reason most people don’t do this right is “time”.  You need an offer in the mail by Friday and you have your mailing list pull ready so just mail it you say.  We get that, and we do that every day for you too.  However, when the question comes up about what we can do to get a better response, the answer always lies in relevant personalization.

Some colors work better with women than men. Certain food pictures are going to be effective with different people. Beer pictures versus wine pictures for certain clients.  Every single piece of a mailing can look different when you personalize them correctly. You provide the picture assets and we’ll code the data to drive the variable content.

The only thing that excites us more than seeing every piece coming off the press looking unique and relevant to the end recipient, is the results of such a campaign.

CSG Direct Mail lives and breathes to create personalized direct mail for you.

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.

Direct Mail Printing: Our 5th Digital Printing Press

Direct Mail Printing: Our 5th Digital Printing Press is here, installed and running.
Here is our new Kodak 2500 VP. (Variable Printing)

Direct Mail Printing

We are a large direct mail printing company and one of Nevadas largest direct marketing companies.

It’s very interesting to have Canon, Xerox and now Kodak presses running side by side. Each digital press has it’s strengths and weaknesses.  We bought the Kodak because it can print in 5 colors and the others cannot.  Not that anyone is asking for the 5th color but we like to add unique services that other people cannot offer.

“Dimensional Printing” is the process of printing the 5th color without blending it in with the other colors. With Dimensional printing the 5th color is CLEAR. The idea is to lay down very precise spot coloring of clear to make for a raised feel.  The raised feel is the dimensional (as in 3D) feel.  It is pretty cool.

The growth of our digital printing department has been nothing short of historical.  I think we owe it all to printers that decided to get into mail (because they thought it was easy) and then lost customers due to screwing up major projects.

With so much print being direct mail oriented our customers find great comfort in have us (being in direct mail since birth) handling the print too.  In the age of print being commoditized, this makes a lot of sense.

Anyway, you really should get a print quote from us, digital is the bomb on price, efficiency and speed; and we have 5 presses. The direct line is 800-881-2150 x12 or you can get a direct mail or print quote online.

Update: We have grown to 9 Digital Presses

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.