What drives Michael Hemphill: casino direct mail

Direct Mail Man MichaelI have been in direct mail for over 20 years. If direct mail were a hotel room with 300 rooms… I’ve been in every one of them. I have been certified by the US Postal service multiple times over the years as a Mail piece Quality Control Specialist. CSG Direct also backs me with at least 25 other people certified at the same level. Together we optimize print, data and mail projects every business day.

I get a unique excitement when I walk into a casino. Standing on that casino floor, I have the most experience, qualifications, training, and innovations of any direct mail person to ever walk in those golden doors. I am born for this and it is what drives me every day.

Ironically, my biggest competitors are printers that have been dabbling in mail for 3 to 7 years. They are by no means current on direct mail marketing but their company decided to sell direct mail to get more print. The sales representative that represents that vendor is not in the same ballpark as me when it comes to experience or training. I have been innovating in the direct mail industry for over 20 years, they have started ‘selling it’ as an add-on because they were told to.

What drives me so intensely now is that this representative is my actual person-to-person competitor. “Is that all you’ve got?” I yell to the world. Casinos deserve better than that! Our tourism economy requires more than that.

To further break down my competitor: he is not a programmer, he is not a database person, he is not my direct mail equal by any measure, he is an ink person trying to compete in my data world.

CSG Direct invents and evolves direct mail. Our competitors can only follow.
• We Created the 1st direct mail portal.
• We invented “to our friends at” and it grew across the country from my use.
• We invented direct mail tracking and we are unmatched
• We are early adopters of NCOA and were the only vendors in NV for years
• We provided direct mail software to casinos for years
• We are the only vendor uploading data into player tracking systems
• We have worked with Casinos all over the country
• Innovated variable printing with Variable Direct Mail Maps
• Direct mail SEO leads champs
• Landing pages, Salesforce.com
• Early adopters of IMB barcodes
• QR codes and so much more

We Are Casino Direct Mail, Nobody makes variable data printing dance like we do.

That Casino deserves us and we deserve them.
They deserve the best. We are the Best.

That’s what drives me.

CSG Direct Mail tours the National Postal Forum

Sometimes when you have your head buried in your own innovations you forget to look up and see what everyone else is doing. This year we decided to go to NPF (National Postal Forum) and get inspired. We want to be ready for our next series of innovations. NPF is the fundamental basis for the entire industry and it’s a great place to see if anyone’s catching up to us. Unfortunately NPF has yet to amaze us, but it is always interesting to see what if can offer to the direct mail marketing bunch.

You can have lots of great marketing ideas but at the end of the day you still need to fold the letter and insert it into an envelope. That is where NPF plays its roll. The National Postal Forum is a national event that brings mailing equipment manufacturers. It allows them to show off their goods to the mail processing industry. I have been ‘the manufacturer’ at many of these over the years but this year we come as the mail processor.

Michael at National Postal Forum My interest this year in NPF was new US Mail Tracking solutions that have popped up with the new IMB Barcodes. There were a few, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

The show was held in sunny San Diego California right on the oceanfront. It was beautiful!

 

San Diego Convention CenterSunny San DiegoSan Diego Convention Center

 

 

 

 

National Postal ForumUS Postal Service

 

 

 

 

We’ll, like I said I am here for tracking mostly. However we thought it would be a great chance to peek at some of the newest inkjets and other technologies too. For those who haven’t followed me until now I have been talking about direct mail tracking since about 1990 when I was an early trainer of the original postnet barcodes introduced by the US Postal Service. Even then I was fascinated by the idea that we could track pieces of mail in “the near future”, however it has taken almost 20 years for that technology to get here.

The real breakthrough was the introduction of the newer barcodes including planet codes and the new Intelligent Mail Barcodes (IMB). The 1st company to create tracking was originally a mail shop that built track-my-mail and then got bought by Pitney Bowes. They were the originals, however their systems (imho) are not based on the right angles of consumer need ( I’m here Pitney, come by and see us ☺ ).

Vendors at the show talked about their particular angle on US Mail Tracking. As I watched and listened to each company explain in detail how their systems worked, I could easily see they were missing the point. Yes, there are tons and tons of data being stored and tons of pieces being tracked, but what does that mean to the consumer? Not once did they answer this question, lol. Anyway, I don’t like to kiss and tell too much. We see the entire US Mail Tracking system in a different spectrum of light.

The new vendors have some roadblocks ahead of them. For example, one of the vendors is putting your entire mailing list online for you to do a lookup by address or name. Is mailing data not private? Hackers are everywhere and even data in the cloud isn’t safe. Why would you put a customer’s private database online when they wont even do that for themselves? There are other ways to go about these procedures gentlemen.

Other vendors we saw struggled with the naming of their new products. Where we own TrackDirectMail.COM others have had to dabble in .NET addresses. Take for example findmymail.NET where the .COM is owned by Pitney Bowes. That is going to cause you some legal expenses if you ask me. Perhaps they should buy one of the extra tracking URL domains that we own.

Only one vendor was talking about a future mobile app and everyone knows we currently own that space. We have the only direct mail app in iTunes and we have been there for over a year now. I found their business models lacking in reality too. For example, the average tracking cost per mailing is now about $25. The end game is free people, might as well get a grip on reality now.

At $25 they need to sell/track 40,000 mailings per year to earn just $1 million dollars. With trade show expenses, sales people, phones, R&D, computers, servers, marketing and other expenses this is a losing deal. Just think of the sales staff expense and the idea that they are selling $25 items. If they sell 10 per day they sell $250 and they cost you probably $125 of that or more. Good Luck my fellow tracking brothers. I think you will need it, we offer our tracking FREE already.

US Mail Tracking for Smartphones