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!

Our Direct Mail Story

From humble beginnings to one of the nation’s foremost innovators in direct mail tracking and data-driven direct mail, CSG Direct Mail has a unique story to tell.

Michael and Lorrie Hemphill

Michael and Lorrie Hemphill

In 1988 Michael Hemphill was working at TRW in the laser print department in Sacramento, California printing variable statements. The laser printing department was coupled with the microfiche re-imaging and direct mail departments. Michael’s experience got noticed by International Mailing Equipment in Sacramento and Michael was hired to be an equipment installer and trainer. International Mailing Equipment grew from 1,000 clients to 4,000 clients during Michael’s time there.

This was intensive training, I was factory trained on all kinds of equipment, became service manager and led our high tech initiatives in direct addressing, barcoding and database management” Michael says. This was the same time the U.S. Postal Service introduced the postnet barcode and Michael was one of the leaders on the West Coast in training his technicians and those 3000 new customers on using postnet barcodes to get postal 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.

EXPERIENCE LEADS TO INNOVATIONS

Michael moved to Nevada to work with the State of Nevada Mailroom among others and help Nevada casinos take advantage of some of the leading edge database management software available for direct mail. He also became a partner in a local direct mail company. Casinos took notice right away of Michael’s experience and leadership. Several casinos reported response increases up to 30% over traditional responses rates after implementing Michael’s suggestions. “Eventually pallets of materials started showing up in my driveway at my house and they persuaded us to start our own mailshop“.

CSG Direct Mail was born in 1996 and has expanded 10 times since 2005 to the 50,000 square foot Reno-Tahoe facility we are in today. We are fortunate to have worked with thousands of new clients since then. Companies like Raleys, Scolari’s, Silver Legacy, MGM, Facebook, Wells Fargo, Harrah’s Entertainment, Tropicana Entertainment, Atlantis Hotel Casino, Peppermill, Eldorado Hotel Casino, Terribles, Stations Casinos and many others have found success with CSG Direct Mail.

CSG Direct Mail is a Service Company,” Michael proclaims, “It’s ALL about service“. This super-service ideology led CSG Direct Mail to expand and open a Las Vegas plant in 2011 to offer greater service to all our clients in Vegas, Los Angeles and Arizona.

Michael’s knowledge of the “tip of the spear” applications and needs in the direct mail industry has helped CSG Direct Mail create many of the industry’s newest services. His experience with postal barcodes also led to the creation of our revolutionary direct mail tracking systems.

  • America’s 1st LIVE direct mail job tracking portal – 1999
  • gonnahappen.com – an event marketing site – 2003
  • CSG Bonus Bucks automated direct mail rewards program – 2006
  • America’s 1st LIVE U.S. Mail piece tracking systems – 2008
  • iTunes 1st iPhone/iPad Direct Mail tracking application – 2010
  • Variable Mapping for Direct Mail with QR Codes and CSGurls – 2011

With over 2 decades in personalized variable data and one of the largest digital print teams in Nevada, CSG Direct Mail will continue to provide leading edge services that bring greater results to our clients. With over 25 team members having attained certification by the U.S. Postal Service, CSG Direct Mail is one of the friendliest, yet most experienced direct marketing teams in the industry.

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: Top 10 Reasons to Use Snail Mail

Direct MailGrowing up I remember waiting with anticipation for birthday cards and other sentiments to arrive in my mailbox from family and friends across the country.  It was and to this day remains a great feeling to know that someone cared enough to send me a personal note via the United States Postal Service.  Nowadays with email being so fast and free some of that personal touch is gone and it really is a shame.  Given the speed of email versus the slower delivery times of USPS mail, sending a letter or card via the USPS has now commonly been referred to as sending “Snail” mail (slow to deliver).  Well for some of us it still has a special meaning so I prepared this short list of 10 reasons to still use snail mail:

1. It’s exciting to receive a personal letter or note.  Whether it’s a love note passed in class under your desk or a carefully written letter from a loved one, reading a personal letter or note has always been exciting and feels special in direct proportion to the effort the sender went through to get it to you.
2. You can add confetti or creative designs to your letter or card.  This again points out the time and effort that can be relayed by snail mail much more easily.  For birthdays and other special events I like to fill the envelope with stars or confetti so if you get a letter from me be prepared for a surprise inside!
3. There’s more privacy to snail mail. Unlike with email it is much less likely that a letter or communication sent via postal mail will get intercepted and read by another party.  It’s possible but unlikely and the recipient can generally tell of the letter has been opened.
4. Emails can get lost in junk mail filters.  While it’s possible that a letter sent via snail mail can get lost in shipping it happens far less than emails getting lost in the abyss that is the modern day junk mail filter.
5. Emails are prone to quicker judgments and rash decisions.  It’s so easy to send an email that we can write something in haste and send it before we actually take enough time to think it through.  That is generally not the case with postal mail unless you work in a post office and have direct access.
6. You can send more variety of items via snail mail. Sort of like my confetti trick above you can also add pictures or other personal touches to a snail mail all the way up to complete packages, boxes, etc.  So far we haven’t found a way to transport something like that through our computers.
7. People tend to elaborate more with snail mail.  In general, people drop the abbreviations when they are handwriting a letter so instead of (LOL, ROFL, OMG, etc.) people tend to actually write out their words and thoughts.  If nothing else, sometimes it’s just good to know that you can still do that.
8. There’s no virus attached. Generally speaking there are no viruses attached to a snail mail that you can catch on accident by previewing the snail mail before opening it.  I’m not saying that someone couldn’t send a virus via snail mail it’s just far, far less likely.
9. It’s too easy to forward your email content to thousands of people worldwide (on accident). With a few clicks of the button, you can send it to everyone on your list, which is dangerous if the content is important.  Unfortunately there is no undo button for sending email in most cases so you are stuck with the consequences of your actions.
10. The check is in the mail… yes it still works.  One of the most important reasons to use snail mail is for cash management purposes if you need to pay a bill but have a couple of days until you are going to get paid or have the money, then snail mail is much more effective for you that online bill payment.  You can simply call the provider/vendor and let them know “the check is in the mail”.

So these aren’t the only reasons but they are some good one’s.  An honorable mention that didn’t make the list is the excuse that you can always use for a greeting being late (birthday card, graduation card, etc.).  You can say you had trouble getting to the post office or that your letter was lost in the mail, but be careful with that one though as most people are smart enough to look at the postmark date.

shared by our friends at changeofaddress.org

Hi Michael,

We would love to share with you an article that we just posted on our own blog! “Top 10 Reasons to Use Snail Mail” (http://www.changeofaddress.org/blog/2010/top-10-reasons-to-use-snail-mail/) would be an interesting story for your readers to check out and discuss on your blog, so we hope you will consider sharing it!

Thanks so much for your time, and have a wonderful day!

Sheryl Owen

US Mail Postage Rates Summer Sale

The US Postal Service is having it’s first ‘Sale’ that I have seen in my lifetime of 20 postal years. They are going to give you 30% off of your postage rates for every dollar you spent ‘above your average’.

The details are best to come directly from the US Postal Service so here is the quote from the Post Office customer Relations:

“The Postal Service will offer qualifying Standard Mail customers a 30 percent discount on eligible mailings this summer. This will provide those mailers with an incentive to prospect for new customers and reconnect with existing customers.

We think Direct Mail has tremendous value in growing your business. With Direct Mail accounting for 22 percent of the $250 billion spent nationwide on advertising each year, it’s big business. Direct mail is targeted and measurable to an extent other advertising media can’t match.

The summer sale is currently under review by the Postal Regulatory Commission. We plan to begin the discounted pricing July 1. The sale will run until September 30.

Obviously, this is a new initiative for us and we’re anxious to see how well it will work. Are any of you going to take advantage of the summer sale?”

– Steve Kearney, senior vice president, Customer Relations

The catch is, to be eligable you must mail over 1 million pieces of mail from October 1st 2007 through March 31st 2008. From those dates a ‘threshold’ is being established to compare your current summer mailings to.

You will pay your full postage rates through this season and then after October 31st the US Postal Service will determine your rebate and put that back on your permit by December 31st.

So there is a Sale, but only a handful of our direct mail customers will even apply for it as the discount is 30% of the postage spent above your average amount. Of course you still have to mail at least a million pieces in the 4 months as well.

I estimate that this will affect the ‘publishers clearinghouses’ and ‘Capital Ones’ of the world the most.  I just wouldn’t be doing my duty if I didn’t tell you about it. If you would like us to help you calculate, monitor and apply for your savings with you we will.

Direct Marketing Headlines

I received a direct mail headline question and thought I would talk about it here too.

You are relying on someone giving you their quality time. If your headline is weak, you are assuming they will care long enough to read your whole copy. They probably won’t.

Your instinct may be to use a headline like “The best service in our industry”. But this is more like a followup to a real headline that grabs their attention and then makes them read more. People process information in bits and you can either lead them along or you can confuse them at the start.

I would rather entice readership with something like “Your Customers Don’t Like You”. which makes everyone say to themselves “WHAT? Our customers love us! Who is saying this?” and then you drop into your secondary line “How do you know you have the best service in your industry?”.

At this point the person reading will at least ask themselves that secondary question and see if they can answer it. If they cannot – you can take them to the next line… leading them forward into your offer.

You have engaged them! Bravo!  Step 1 complete. Remember not to think too much about step 4, 5 & 6 until you conquer step 1.  Engage them and make them talk to your mailpiece and question it.

The main problem is that too many corporations wont allow you to use headlines like that. They’ll say it’s too unprofessional or too “small company”.  They want to lead with giant brand statements like “Great service for over 50 years”.

So what?
Why should I give you 15 more seconds of my time, let alone some kind of response or business order?

Your headline must engage them.

Oh yeah, don’t forget to track and test multiple headlines to see what works best with your audience.

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.

Mailing Services, Direct Mail Partnership

As a mailing services provider and someone who has helped set up many mailshops over the years, I regularly find a lack of honest communication. Too often I find clients want to hold back from revealing the full details of a project for fear of putting too much on the table.

For example, a client may need to sell 500 hotel rooms in the next two weeks for fear of losing their job (random example), but instead of sharing that, they just say “I need a bid on a postcard mailing”.

Pull us into your battle! Get us involved in your mission. We have decades of experience at making things happen. Engage us!

The big crime in the scenario I just described is when they end up going with the lowest bidder because that is what they are trained to do. Then the event fails. No 500 rooms, no success – no job.

The proper bid-request should be “How can I use direct mail to fill 500 rooms in two weeks?” and then let the games begin. Now you will have idea after idea flowing your way and the good vendors quickly rise to the top. You can then make an informed decision based on your ACTUAL goals.

When you build a true relationship with a direct marketing mailing services shop as opposed to a average direct mail is an add-on vendor, you will find the direct mail success you seek.

Feel free to email me if you want to talk about it more.

The 7 Deadly Sins of Direct Mail – Sin #7

…and how our clients avoid them and save thousands

Finally we can confront Sin #7:

Direct Mail Sin #7

Proof sign-offs taken too casually

Every job that we receive with electronic files requires some kind of manipulation or adjustment prior to mailing. RGB to CMYK, resizing, recropping, data merging, font replacement etc…

When your project requires a final signoff we hope that you take this opportunity seriously!

By the time it gets to this stage you have seen it many many times. Take a moment and read every line of your offer and confirm that everything is exactly the way it should be. This is your final opportunity to adjust dates, copy or data before your clients or prospects see the piece.

This is also the moment in time when the mistakes slide though and become major issues when the customers start calling.

We know that you are probably tired of reading at this point but you need to try to read the piece like it was your very first time looking at it. Study the text, confirm the data, dates, phone numbers, call-to-actions and all other components.

Common errors found at this point:

* Right date/wrong day (is it really a Thursday on that date?)

* Brand colors off

* Wrong or missing telephone numbers

* Newest art changes not sent (were we sent the most recent version of artwork?)

* Wrong offers, or error in disclaimers

* Spelling errors/typos

We know this is cumbersome but it also one of the unavoidable steps. We highly recommend you let someone else look at it and sign off with you. This identifies more errors and changes the dynamic if something is missed.

On a personal note, it doesn’t leave you standing alone as responsible for errors if more people on the team miss the same detail. If many people missed it than it must not have been obvious.  If only one person signs off it is easy for everyone to just point at you and steer clear of responsibility.  This is human nature.

Either way, the signoff process and authorization for us to proceed is your decision only.  We will not proceed without it and we are responsible to print and mail it exactly as the proof you signed off on.

Added Note about all 7 Deadly Sins of Direct Mail:
Allow the time needed for the quality and price you desire. This time gives you the breathing room needed to be flexible if  things you plan go wrong. No human process or timing is perfect, however much you try!

You cannot be consistently successful when you are expecting everyone involved to “jump from miracle to miracle”! You’ll save money in the end by not paying for rushed and fixed jobs. Being rushed always creates additional errors as you skip details to meet timeframes.

Our most successful customers have learned to work backwards from deadlines, successfully creating a smooth process from start to finish.

The 7 Deadly Sins of Direct Mail – Sin #6

…and how our clients avoid them and save thousands

We continue along with Sin #6:

Direct Mail Sin #6

Don’t use MS Excel for databases

Excel sucks for databases. I don’t know how else to put it. Sure, everybody has it and it is one of the easiest ways to display your database visually, but it doesn’t hold record integrity and it plays with the numbers in your database. The worst horror stories ever in our business have Excel in them. We like MS Excel for spreadsheets and mathematics, not for databases.

There is no describing the feeling that comes over you when you find out (after the mailing) that your customer had sorted the [Last Name] field of an Excel spreadsheet before sending it to you.  It’s like a bomb goes off and everyone involved gets hit with the collateral damage.

These “bombs” are always from excel. Every single time over the decades I have been doing database marketing, Excel is the culprit. Yes there are ways to use it properly to avoid these mistakes. But, the fact that sortation is possible in this manner means excel is NOT a database program.

You’ve been warned.  This is a Direct Mail Sin.