Casino Technology Conference

I had the pleasure of attending the Casino Technology show last week at the Green Valley Ranch in Las Vegas. I never miss anything casino direct mail or casino technology.

In one of the casino marketing sessions we got into the topic of new emerging technologies that could be used in direct mail marketing. Needless to say, questions were flying and many people don’t immediately understand exactly how they would even apply these technologies.

I can break this down real easy for you, I’m from the future.

As a direct mail and technology nerd I thought I should share with you two cool emerging technologies for casino direct mail in case you missed the conference.  We have already been working with these so feel free afterwards to reach out with questions.

Near Field Communication

I really dig Near Field Communication (NFC) and your customers will too!  Instead of scanning a barcode with your phone you wave your phone in front of NFC printed tags or stickers.  People will be looking for these just like they do QR codes today, only much more fun.

NFC tags and stickers are programmable like a flash drive is. They are also reprogrammable or lockable.  With NFC tags, stickers and paper you can do things like:NFC Sticker

  • Change the phone settings
    Ringer volume
    Turn Bluetooth on/off
    Turn Wi-Fi on/off
    Set an alarm
  • Join a Wi-Fi network
  • Launch an application
  • Display a message
  • Send a text
  • Open a web-page
  • Show an address or location
  • Social Media, foursquare, facebook, twitter and more

Imagine if your guests waved their phone at your front door when they entered and it automatically signed them onto your Wi-Fi, displayed a welcome message and then logged their trip on foursquare.

You could also provide them with a sticker in their direct mail that displayed their Freeplay offer in a message and set a date on their personal calendar if they let you.  These can be highly personalized but like a USB flash drive it would take time to personalize a bunch of them.

Today NFC is most popular with transferring pictures and business cards between 2 phones.  People are told to ‘bump’ their phones to transfer videos, pictures and contact information.

Tomorrow they might be used everywhere to set entire experiences by turning off peoples ringers as they enter a conference, set alarms, calendars upload course literature, pictures and much more.
As Casino Marketers we can make them more useful than most people.

Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) is a new image recognition protocol that can launch a mobile device to your website, social site, search tool or shopping system.  Think of the QR Code and how you use it now.  Well that ugly black QR Barcode square is replaced by your logo or any picture you so desire.

Because it can be ANY picture, you usually have to tell people to scan the picture in some way. Where the QR barcode was obvious, augmented reality is not obvious unless you make it that way.

Augmented Reality is very cool and it will be trendy in the future so don’t be afraid to play with it!  Creative marketers always find a fun way to use these special interactive ideas with their guests. You can do anything with augmented reality that you could with a QR barcode and the future is bright in image recognition with cell phones.

In Conclusion

Near Field Communication (NFC) is a programmable sticker or paper to wave with your phone. Augmented Reality (AR) is a programmable image that works much like a Quick Response (QR) barcode.

Both of these are geared around your customers with smartphones. Smartphone user adoption rates are booming so there are lots of ways to have fun with these without spending a fortune.

Casino Triggered Automated Marketing

Everyone in the casino industry has struggled with new player signup bounceback mailers.

  • Can we send them something to bring them back?
  • How soon do we send them something?
  • How many man-hours can we spend on this each week?

Everyone wants to mail them daily but doing so is a distraction for your marketing department when you are short-staffed and have 1000 other things to get done.  So most casinos try and make sure they send them every 2 weeks or monthly.

Sadly, many casinos don’t mail them at all and lose the “Welcome to our Party” opportunity.

This is where Marketing Automation comes in

You can call it “Triggered Mail” or “Timed Mailings” but what were talking about is putting your new player welcome mailings on cruise control while still offering the same level of personalization and more.

We setup a small data transfer every morning from your player database to our data center and your personalized direct mail art merges with your data and prints automatically on one of our 9 Digital Presses.  We then cut, fold, insert and apply postage and your new member mailers go out every single day.

You also receive an email summary each morning via email of how many pieces were mailed with an opportunity to review the variables used in your mailer.  Records are cleaned and compared to the US Postal Service for accuracy as well as to make them look better in your mailer.

This is an easy service to setup and you can focus your time and energy on your more complex promotions where you need to be focused.

Once you have New Members automated, think of all the other “holes” in a marketing program we can automate.  Our automation works great for:

  • New Members
  • Birthdays
  • Inactives breaking trip frequency
  • Increased or declining play offers
  • Much Much More…

Letters, Postcards and Emails

We offer 4 different automation mailer sizes:

  • 6×9 Full Color Variable 4/4 Postcards
  • 6×11 Full Color Variable 4/4 Postcards
  • 8.5×11 Full Color Variable 4/0 Letters and Envelopes
  • 8.5×14 Full Color Variable 4/0 Letters and Envelopes

We offer email triggered marketing as an add-on to any one of these too.

Variable Print, Variable Offers, Variable Images, Variable Envelopes

Nobody out-variables CSG Direct so we make this VERY EASY to be VERY Personalized.  If you have 4 letters for 4 tiers or different offers for non-locals vs locals… We build that in.

If you want Blackjack players to receive blackjack images and Keno people to get pictures of Keno, slots, etc..  We build that in.  At only $485 1-time setup this is maybe the biggest no-brainer in casino marketing.

Personalized Envelopes???  That’s impossible!  Right?

Something truly unique that our programs offer is full-color variable envelopes. This means we print your letterhead and envelopes on the fly with your offers and you can do variable tag lines and variable images, return addresses and more in the same program.

Do you want a picture of your players club card with their names on it on the front of an envelope in daily mailings of 1 piece to 500?  That’s what people come to CSG Direct Mail for…  The Good Stuff, Cheap.

All kinds of great casino services and innovations are coming out of Nevada from CSG Direct Mail. We are the Largest Digital Printer in Nevada with a reputation for better results.

Reach out to us and tell us about your new member mailers.  We’ll automate them!

Southern Nevada Postal Customer Council Luncheon Meeting

Southern Nevada Postal Customer Council Luncheon Meeting
Wednesday January 16 – 11:30 am – 1 pm
Main Post Office, 1001 E Sunset Rd Room 1021

Join us to learn about the US Postal Service Price Changes on all mailing services and new services that will be available on January 27, 2013

 

FIRST-CLASS MAIL HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Letters (1 oz.) – 1-cent increase to 46 cents.
  • Single-piece letters additional ounce rate – unchanged at 20 cents
  • Postcards – 1 cent increase to 33 cents
  • Letters to Canada or Mexico (1 oz.) – increase to $1.10
  • Letters to other international destinations–5-cent increase to $1.10
  • The second ounce will be free for First-Class Mail Presort pieces weighting between one and two ounces

New prices for domestic Priority Mail Flat Rate retail products include:

  • · Small box: $5.80
  • · Medium box: $12.35
  • · Large box: $16.85
  • · Large APO/FPO box: $14.85
  • · Regular envelope: $5.60
  • · Legal envelope: $5.75
  • · Padded envelope: $5.95

Several new Shipping Services products also will be available in January.

LUNCH INCLUDED
Cost – $10.00 per person ($15 at the door)
(non-refundable without 48 hr cancellation notice)
RSVP required by January 14
Reserve with a credit card at our website:
southernnevadapcc.org
Or Email marilyn.m.fenimore@usps.gov
Phone (702) 361-9544—Fax (702) 361-9417

New Direct Mail Folding and Tabbing Requirements

New rules for Folded Self-Mailers (FSMs) and Tabbing become effective January 5, 2013.  Are you ready?

Yes, you read it right.  More changes from the post office.  This time they say the changes will reduce damaged mail pieces and keep the high-speed postal machinery from jamming and slowing processing.  Well, that sounds good!  There will be no grace period, so get with your graphic designers and pass on the new requirements.

What is a Folded Self-Mailer?  It is a mail piece comprised of panels created when a single sheet or multiple sheets of paper are folded together and sealed to form a letter-size mailer.  It does not go in an envelope and is not bound in any way.  Any mailer that is bound in any way is a booklet and the new tabbing rules do not apply.  Mailers with discs have been reclassified and have different rules.

Here is a summary of the most important new rules for Folded Self-Mailers:

  1. Height maximum is now 6 inches (Minimum height is still 3 ½ inches).
  2. Length maximum is now 10 ½ inches (Minimum length is still 5 inches).
  3. Maximum Weight: 3 ounces.
  4. Final fold must be at the bottom of the mailer or on the leading edge (right side) of the mailer for oblong pieces.
  5. Limited to 12 total panels.
  6. Final folded panel creates the non-address side of the mailer as folded bottom to top or leading to trailing edge.  Address panel can no longer be on the very top panel.
  7. Mailers with 4 panels must be printed on 28 # bond stock (70 # book) minimum.

Here is a summary of the most important new rules for Tabbing:

  1. Perforated tabs are no longer accepted.
  2. Minimum size of tab is one inch in diameter.
  3. Minimum number of tabs is two.
  4. Placement of tabs is dependent upon the design of the mail piece.
  5. Tabs can no longer be placed on the bottom edge of the mail piece.
  6. 2 one-inch tabs may be used for mail pieces weighing one ounce or less.
  7. Mail pieces weighing over one ounce must use two 1 ½ inch tabs.

Have questions or concerns or need help with a tricky mail piece?  Give us a call and send us a copy of your artwork before you go to print and we’ll help make sure you have it right!

Call us at 800-881-2150… We’re here to Help!

Or here is our online request form

NEW “Intelligent Mail Barcodes” mandatory in January

The US Postal Service brings new innovations to YOUR programs

When I first started in the direct mail business I was a mailing equipment installer and trainer.  I remember clearly the day ‘Zippy the postal carrier’ was retired and the first Postnet Barcode was put into use.  It was a corner-stone of my career at that time.  It seems goofy now.

Of course this was a long time ago and at the time Zippy (derived from ZIP-codes) was a big move for the Postal Service.  It was an even bigger step for mankind to move past him and start using barcodes and optical character recognition, which we did in the early 90’s.

NEW “Intelligent Mail Barcodes” mandatory in January

Starting in January 2013, postage rates climb dramatically if you are not using new intelligent barcodes. Well, ‘mandatory’ is the negative part, but this is a new dynamic service and there is no turning back. Honestly, it’s about time.  These barcodes are an upgrade to your direct mail program that is costing you absolutely nothing.

What ‘mandatory’ really means is that in 2013 The US Postal Service is eliminating older technology permanently and implementing the new barcodes going forward. You will be getting all kinds of free new options you would have normally paid good money for.  I can’t wait for you to see what these new barcodes can do.

The New Intelligent Barcode and older Postnet barcode being retired in 2013:

Intelligent Mail Barcodes
How does this apply to you?

An average of 80% of all casino room nights and gaming revenue is achieved through response to your direct mail.  Your team can win big if they keep up with the changes and advances from the US Postal Service.  There is a lot of strategy, profits and savings in the nooks and crannies of direct mail that you might not notice at first glance.  Let’s talk about the opportunities ‘required’ in January of 2013

The added “intelligence” in the new postal barcodes has many cool features built in that you normally had to pay for.  Services you wanted in the past are now included free.  US Mail tracking, deeper postage discounts & address correction services are all very powerful free add-ons that you will want to leverage.  Starting in January those are all free if you know how to tap into them .

The New Barcodes include popular USPS Confirm Services, USPS Address Correction Services free as well as room for custom extra tools we can build for you to meet special needs as well.

REMEMBER, starting in January 2013, if you do not use these your postage rates will go through the roof.  Don’t leave this one in your vendors’ hands.  Many large and small printers all over the country are still struggling to utilize these and it will cost YOU big if they can’t.

OK, Cool.  New Features, Mandatory in January, Got it!

You see, ‘the Check’ really is in the mail. Keep your eyes on the finer details of your mailing programs so you can make big money and save big money too.

CSG Direct Receives Official Woman Owned Small Business Certification

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Lorrie Hemphill

Lorrie Hemphill, CEO of CSG Direct, Inc

CSG Direct Receives Official Woman Owned Small Business Certification

RENO, NEV. (October, 2012) — CSG Direct, Inc. celebrates the Small Business Association’s Woman Owned Small Business Month by becoming a Woman Owned Small Business.  CSG Direct Inc. was certified by the association and will be passing the benefits on to partners and customers.

By receiving the certification, CSG can now use this status when bidding on direct mail and print projects where set asides have been established, especially those offered by prime contractors and government agencies. As a result, CSG has been able to lower internal costs, which has allowed for better efficiencies and therefore better prices for current and future customers.

CEO Lorrie Hemphill is proud to accept the certification, and boasts her pride of being a female business owner, particularly in her industry.

“I’m proud of the direction that I have taken the company since becoming CEO,” said Hemphill. “I’m a woman in a male dominated industry, and the culture we are building at CSG is to deliver a quality product with superior service at a low cost.”

Hemphill looks forward to the opportunities this certification will present and the future of CSG as a female owned and recognized company.

Learn more about CSG Direct at www.csgdirect.com
About CSG Direct
Founded in Reno in 1994 by direct mail and finance veterans Michael and Lorrie Hemphill, CSG Direct has grown to service many casinos, banks, retail and non-profit business as well as Dot.com, grocery and furniture businesses.  The company is headquartered in a 50,000-square-foot office in Reno, and reported revenue of  $3.7 million.

Advanced Direct Mail Technology offered by CSG Direct

Apart from the traditional direct mail services CSG Direct offers:

• The only iPhone app with real-time mail piece tracking

• Online Live project tracking and reporting

• Personalized variable QR codes and mobile sites

• Variable Direct Mail Maps for personalized driving direction on each mailpiece

• Personalized Text SMS and Data Capturing tools.

New Postage Rates for January 2013

New Postage RatesThe US Postal Service has released it’s January 2013 postage rates proposal.

The cost of a First-Class stamp is rising to 46 cents, up from 44 cents currently. That is a 4.5% increase starting in 2013.

One of the more common postage rates we all pay as direct marketers is the 3-digit and 5-digit barcode-automation rates.  Those rates are scheduled will increase to 26.6 cents and 24.7 cents respectively. Those rates have only been raised 2.2% for 2013.

If you would like to do some comparisons here are the 2012-Postage-Rates.

It’s a smaller increase then expected

A lot has been said in the news lately about the US Postal Service having trouble with reduced mail volumes and the cost of pension payments. With all that hype you would think that postage would be doubled in the coming year to help make up the shortfall.

That is just not the case.

Interesting new programs proposed for 2013

Some of the other programs being planned for the coming year include:

  • Direct Mail Mobile Coupon/Click-to-Call
  • Earned Value Reply Mail
  • Emerging Technologies
  • Picture Permit
  • Product Samples
  • Mobile Buy-It-Now

These programs will continue on the successes of the QR Promotions offered summer 2011 and 2012 that we helped our customers take advantage of.  Both programs earned customers discounted postage for active QR-based hyperlinks to websites.  The rules have changed along the way so we will have to wait to hear more about these new programs in the months ahead.

Branded Postal PermitsPicture Permits

An interesting development on the branded permit problems we told you about in recent months is the “Picture Permit” promotion planned for 2013.  It looks like they swept us out of our fancier designer permits recently so they could bring it back as an income opportunity.

Intelligent Mail Barcodes Required!

IMB-BarcodeWell the day has finally come that the US Postal Service is requiring everyone to be using the new Intelligent Mail Barcodes (IMB).  CSG was a pioneer in these “Intelligent Mail Barcodes” and have launched some very detailed tracking systems including our CSG direct mail app in the iTunes Store.

These new barcodes allow for twice as much data as the older Postnet Barcodes and replace the double barcoding that was done in years past with Planet-Codes.

Unlike direct-mail-centered digital print shops, many printing companies have struggled to keep up with this new technology.  CSG Direct has led the way in maximizing the opportunities these new barcodes present for you.

If you would like a direct mail quote from a direct mail company on the bleeding front edge of technology, you can get a digital printing and mailing quote here.