Mobile Commerce and Personalization Promotion Update

Additional Information on the Mobile Commerce and Personalization Summer 2012 Promotion: A Notice of Price Adjustment was filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) on February 21, 2012, and the promotion is still pending PRC approval.

Building upon last summers mobile barcode promotions success, the USPS is offering it again from July 1, 2012, through August 31, 2012. In the final rule Federal Register posted today on Postal Explorer, they describe the conditions for eligibility for the promotion and the revised mailing standards to implement it.

Here is information to help you take advantage of this revised special offering:

· Qualifying mailings are Presorted and automation mailings of First-Class Mail cards, letters, and flats and Standard Mail (including Nonprofit Standard Mail) letters and flats with a mobile barcode inside or on the mailpiece.

· The mobile barcode must lead the recipient of the mailpiece either to a webpage that allows the recipient to purchase a product or service on a mobile device, or to a personalized URL, which leads to a web page that is unique to an individual recipient.

· Qualifying mailings may receive an upfront price reduction of 2 percent of the eligible postage.

· Participation requires electronic documentation.

· Commingled, combined and co-mail mailings are allowed, but a separate postage statement is required for pieces with mobile barcodes.

Using mobile barcodes is a great way to integrate direct mail with mobile technology.

For more information visit our previous blog on This Summer’s 2012 Barcode Promotion or visit the RIBBS website. You can also email mobilebarcode@usps.gov

Direct mail marketing with CSG direct mail

Direct Mailing Innovations and the best Variable Data Printing from CSG Direct Mail get you Better Results Fast. Find out how our newest innovations and decades of proven results make us the direct mailing services partner and variable data specialists you are looking for.

We live and breathe direct mail strategy, digital printing and results!

• America’s 1st Live Direct Mailing Job Tracking Systems in Direct Mail – 1999

• America’s 1st public bulk US Mail Tracking Systems – 2008

• iTunes 1st iPhone Direct Mail app in the iTunes app store – 2010

• 25 USPS MQC Certified Employees working in all aspects of your projects

• Over 2 decades in personalized Variable-Data-Digital-Printing

Casino direct mail campaign design and database artistry


Wouldn’t it be nice if your vendor knew your lingo, knew your challenges and also knew ways to increase your response or tweak a promotion? If you were to choose between two direct mail shops wouldn’t you select the one who could do that?

At CSG Direct Mail many of us have worked in casinos, primarily in database marketing and player rewards club positions. We also have a large team of affiliates out in the field promoting our services with their consulting packages.

With all this in mind we’d like to ask: Do you need more weekday guests? Would you like to get more return trips? How about some trip and player analysis? At CSG Direct Mail we are on your side of the equation. We have the tools, staff and experience to help you find the results you need.

In essence, you’ve found the heart of the casino direct mail industry. We specialize in bounce-backs, inactive farming, tracked redemptions, barcoding, birthdays, data appending of consumer file information, uploading NCOA files and so much more.

Casino direct mail marketing is a combination of visual art and database design. In order for this to be done effectively there are seven direct mail tasks we need to accomplish with your visual art and players club data.

1) Grab
2) Interest
3) Appeal
4) Convey
5) Compel
6) Track
7) Change

These are the 7 steps of the pros, which ones are you missing?

Grab your player’s attention at the mailbox. They get piles and piles of mail. If it doesn’t grab their attention they will surely throw it out.

Interest them enough to read your offers. Your artwork needs to pop and have catchy headlines. Make them want to open your offer!

Appeal to their personal wants and desires. With our digital variable data services we can easily rotate graphics to match the interests and personalities of your players.

Convey many details in a simple easy to follow format. People don’t like to read heavy paragraphs of text. Headlines with simple bullet points and easy descriptions are what you’re shooting for here.

Compel them to respond with physical action. Have them call to reserve their spot at that very moment! Adding personalized variable maps from their home to your casino will ease the complexity of the trip.

Track how the campaign affected response. We get stuck in the mentality that we need the best mailer quick and cheap. Don’t send out 1000 mailers to guests who aren’t interested in concerts, they won’t come. Think about cost per response as apposed to cost per piece.

Change the campaign based on the data from tracking. If the campaign didn’t work, try something new and innovative. Also keep changing it even though it worked. Your guests are constantly looking for new reasons to keep coming back to you.

The brutal reality about all this is that you probably need to accomplish everything in two days timeframe with five people critiquing your work and resubmitting changes to things they already changed. Take a breath! We’re here to help!

We become part of that process with you. We are postal Mailpiece Quality Control certified and have decades of experience on proofing copy and managing tiers. We know the data that drives the whole process. We optimize casino direct mail programs daily!

At your request we can also do the entire process for you. We do everything from creating in-house data pulling tools, customer ranking and tiers, direct mail campaigns, designs and offers as well as tracking and post-forma reporting.

We want you to relax because we’re the most qualified and affordable casino direct mail team you may ever meet. We are the people that really do the work behind the scenes. Our decades of unique casino direct mail experience bring greater value to the table every day.

Digital Presses are Coming – Part 2

Digital Press PicThe saga continues at CSG Direct Mail as we have unwrapped our new digital presses and started preliminary configuration of all the components. The shipping materials are removed, all the sections mate correctly, and monitors and internal components have been installed. It is very exciting to see all the pieces come together as the machine begins to take shape!

Electricians are hard at work pulling wire, setting plugs and configuring the power necessary to feed this magnificent piece of print engineering. Our Facility Contractor is assisting us in reconfiguring the floor to accommodate our new 23 foot behemoths and new workflow it will involve.

Once power and facility upgrades are complete it will be time to slide the pieces into place, bolt it together and begin power-up and testing procedures. After this, training of operator personnel will start with full production to follow quickly.

Growth and expansion can be stressful at times pulling all the elements together, but it also gives one a sense of destiny as we see the future of our enhanced printing services forming before our eyes. Increased production capability, faster turn times and new services for our customers is that future at CSG Direct.

Check back for more updates as we move forward!

2012 Mobile Barcode Summer promotion

This year’s big summer promotion from the US Postal Service will offer a 2% discount for mail that sports a mobile barcode that sends consumers to e-commerce or personalized websites.

For the second year in a row, the USPS will be “giving money away” in July and August to demonstrate the value of physical mail in an increasingly digital world, and encourage its customers to try out technology linking physical mail to online content via mobile phone scanning codes.

BACKGROUND AND PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
The 2011 Mobile Barcode Promotion was successful in generating increased interest in the use of mobile technologies in direct mail. Mobile technologies continue to be one of the fastest growing marketing sectors, and mailer resources will be increasingly diverted to this medium. As technology changes the marketing landscape, the Postal Service must ensure that direct mail continues to be a relevant part of the marketing mix.

The 2012 Mobile Commerce and Personalization Promotion provides mailers with an upfront postage discount on qualifying Standard Mail® and First-Class Mail® letters, flats, and cards that contain a mobile barcode or similar print technology that can be read or scanned by a mobile device. The technology must lead the recipient to either:

1. A webpage that allows the recipient to purchase a product or service on a mobile device.
OR
2. A personalized URL, which leads to a web page that is unique to an individual recipient.

Registration Begins: May 1, 2012
Program Period: July 1 through August 31, 2012
Discount Amount: 2% of eligible postage. The mobile barcode discount is calculated in
PostalOne!® and applied to the mailing statement at the time of mailing.
Normal postage prices as listed in the published price schedule apply to
the mailing, and the discount is applied to those prices.
Eligible Mail Classes: Standard Mail® letters and flats
Nonprofit Standard Mail letters and flats
First-Class Mail® presort and automation letters, cards and flats

Program Registration: Participants and/or mail service providers must register on the Business Customer Gateway. Mailers agree to participate in a survey about the promotion. Registration opens May 1, 2012 and will continue throughout the promotion period.

MAILING SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS
Documentation/Postage Statement: Mailings must be submitted electronically via mail.dat, mail.xml or Postal Wizard.

Participating mailers will be required to affirmatively claim this promotion on electronic postage statement submissions. All mailpieces in a mailing statement must be eligible for the promotion. Note, the discount must be claimed at the time of mailing and cannot be rebated at a later date.

Mailing Date: Mail must be tendered for acceptance during the promotion period, July 1, 2012, through August 31, 2012. Qualified PVDS mailings that are verified and paid for by August 31, 2012, will be accepted at destination entry postal facilities through September 15, 2012.

IMB Requirements: Automation mailpieces must contain an Intelligent Mail barcode.

Postage Payment Method: Postage must be paid using a Permit Imprint, or Precancelled Stamp permit. Some Meter Permit mailings may qualify. OMAS and “Official Government Mail” mailings are not eligible for the promotion.

The two-dimensional barcode or similar print technology which takes a consumer to a mobile optimized site that either enables mobile commerce or is personalized for the recipient. All qualifying mail must contain a mobile barcode or equivalent technology that can read or scanned by a mobile device (this includes two-dimensional barcodes, tags, and watermarks). The mailpiece must also contain text near the barcode or image providing guidance to the consumer to scan the barcode or image. Additional requirements are listed below.

Mobile Commerce
If the barcode is used to facilitate mobile commerce:
• The destination web page(s) must contain information relevant to content of the
mailpiece, and some or all of the service(s) and/or product(s) advertised in the mailpiece
must be available for purchase on a mobile device.
• The destination web pages must reside on a web site platform that contains (or is deeply
integrated with) a checkout functionality so that consumers can complete the purchase of
the good or service referenced in the mailpiece through a complete mobile optimized
experience.
• Websites used for e-bill payment of prior purchases, or regularly scheduled payments
(weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, etc.) for goods and services are not eligible.

Mobile Personalization
If the barcode leads to a personalized website:
• For each mailpiece recipient, the web address is unique to the recipient, as is the content
of the web page.
• Unique web page content is based on relevant customer data such as prior behavior, life
stage, segmentation, and demographics.

REQUIREMENTS AT THE TIME OF MAIL ACCEPTANCE AND POST- MAILING
At Mail Acceptance: The mailer must provide a hard copy, unaddressed sample of the mailpiece showing the placement of the mobile barcode to the acceptance clerk. If a mailing contains mobile barcode mail from multiple mailers, a hard copy sample of each mailer’s
mailpiece must be presented. If mobile personalization is used, at least two samples must be submitted in order to demonstrate that the web addresses are unique to each recipient.

Post Mailing Requirements: All mailers who receive the discount must retain an electronic or hard copy sample of the mailpiece until October 31, 2012, and if requested by the Postal Service must forward such sample to the promotion program office.

The great thing about all this is that it WORKS! Our personalized Christmas card program got a 21% response rate. That was easy and fun! This program was creative, inexpensive and easy to execute. In the past this kind of campaign was intimidating for most people. But now you can enjoy the giant response rates and stay within your budget too.

We’re known for The Greatest Value in Direct Mail – Better Results Fast, Bonus Bucks, Free Online Advertising, and comprehensive Direct Mail programs. We live and breathe direct mail strategy, digital printing and results! You will get your greatest results right here! We have the testimonials, the skills and experience, you have a project. So Let’s do your next Direct Mailing Together!

Information provided by the United States Postal Service. Download the 2012 Mobile Commerce and Personalization Promotion Guide.

Raving Consulting tells its fans about 21% response rate from QR code direct mail campagin

Raving Flash. Late Breaking News, Compelling Ideas, Just Plain Good Stuff for the Gaming Industry!

We never think of marketing as a 1-touch experience so we did our Christmas mailing as a 5-Touch Campaign. 5 easy touches created better results fast! This program was creative, inexpensive and easy to execute. In the past this kind of campaign was intimidating for most people. But now you can enjoy the giant response rates and stay within your budget too.

Read the original article here.

CSG Direct Mail has over two decades in variable data printing, casino direct mail, variable direct mail maps, US Mail Tracking, randomization, personalized emails, personalized websites, QR codes and much more.

For more information about Raving Consulting call 775-329-7864.
To learn more about CSG Direct Mail visit the CSG direct mail website.

The Post Office Ruined a Mailing

Some of our customers direct mail pieces were crushed in the belted mail transport equipment so badly that the foiling inside the folded mailers was shredded off and stuck to the other side of the mailer. Normally this can’t happen unless it’s 260 degrees.  We’re in just as much awe and disbelief as you are.

We believe it is the OCR equipment sorting and re-sorting the pieces down to carrier route level.  We noticed all kinds of  scuffs, wheel skid marks and damage across the pieces. All of this is probably from over-sorting or at least over-abuse of the pieces.

I get it, they have lots of mail to process quickly. On the other hand, they are being paid big dollars to deliver a marketing message to our customers.  They should do what they can to protect those pieces if they want customers to pay for this service.

I have been working with the US Postal Service for 24 years and I have a lot of friends employed there. I just wish they were held accountable to quality as much as we are.

Our customer is extremely upset! Their promotion is ruined and the profits that were to be generated from this promotion to pay wages and create jobs is lost for February. Do you think there is anyone at the postal service that can help them out?  On some occasions it can be like working with the Government and all its levels of bureaucracy. That’s why I am venting.  The USPS hurt one of our clients (inadvertently, I assume) and the client wants me to “fix it” somehow.

In a true capitalist society I would threaten to take our mail to another postal service unless they step up their quality but that’s just not an option with the USPS, is it? When you mail as much as we do you have greater odds of being involved when the USPS does something wrong.  That doesn’t make it hurt any less.

We are working through several options to help our customer turn this around and save the month. The plan we’ve put together should accomplish that.

At the end of the day when something like this happens it just creates a huge loss of confidence in the process for good direct mail clients.

Direct Mail App USPS Confirm Report

113 million Confirm scans in our Direct Mail Smartphone apps

The US Postal Service reports that CSG Direct Mail has mailed 29 million pieces of mail since March 20, 2011 resulting in 113 million scans from USPS Confirm. This has created one of the largest US Postal Service oriented data collections by a private party in US History completed by CSG Direct Mail.

This data is available live in our CSG Direct Mail app and segregated down to individual mailings by individual customers and you can look up each piece by customer account (or player id)#.

A great free service from CSG Direct Mail for our direct mail marketing customers.

Find the CSG Direct Mail app in the iTunes Store.
Also available as a mobile site for Android and other smartphones.

USPS Confirm is a trademark of the US Postal Service.

Direct Mail App USPS Confirm Report

113 million Confirm scans in our Direct Mail Smartphone apps

The US Postal Service reports that CSG Direct Mail has mailed 29 million pieces of mail since March 20, 2011 resulting in 113 million scans from USPS Confirm. This has created one of the largest US Postal Service oriented data collections by a private party in US History completed by CSG Direct Mail.

This data is available live in our CSG Direct Mail app and segregated down to individual mailings by individual customers and you can look up each piece by customer account (or player id)#.

A great free service from CSG Direct Mail for our direct mail marketing customers.

Find the CSG Direct Mail app in the iTunes Store.
Also available as a mobile site for Android and other smartphones.

USPS Confirm is a trademark of the US Postal Service.

Revised Mailing Standards on Folded Self-Mailers and Unenveloped Mailpieces

The Postal Service will revise Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM[supreg]) 201.3.14, to provide new standards for folded self-mailers (FSM) and unenveloped mailpieces that are mailed at automation or machinable prices. To avoid confusion with revised standards for FSM mailpieces having loose enclosures, the Postal Service renames mailpieces that are designed to carry discs, and expands the standards that apply to tabs to include folded self-mailers.

Effective January 5, 2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Craig Vance (202) 268-7595 or Susan
Thomas (202) 268-8069.

On August 15, 2011, the Postal Service published a Federal Register proposed rule (76 FR 50438-50441) for changes to the design and construction of folded self-mailers and unenveloped mailpieces that are mailed at automation or machinable prices. The proposed standards were issued after two years of collaborative work with mailers to analyze and test a wide variety of folded self-mailer letter-size designs. In response to the proposed standards, the Postal Service received 51 comments. Many of those who commented provided input on more than one aspect of the proposal. Each comment was given consideration and modifications were made to the proposed standards when possible. This final rule will be adopted based on our proposed rule with only minor revisions. These standards do not apply to cards, envelopes, booklet style letters, or mailpieces designed to carry discs.

The final rule includes DMM recommendations for design elements and sealing methods for FSMs. To avoid confusion about the types of mailpieces included in this change, the Postal Service renames mailpieces that are designed to carry discs in 201.3.4. To simplify the requirements that apply to tabs that can be used to seal unenveloped letter-sized mailpieces, DMM 201.3.11 is modified to include folded self-mailers. The final rule also includes recommended revisions to the proposed requirements based on observations of a wide variety of FSMs tested over the past several years.

Although the effective date of these revisions is not until January 5, 2013, we encourage all customers who prepare FSMs mailed at automation or machinable prices to begin conversion to these design concepts as soon as possible.

A folded self-mailer is formed of panels that are created when one or more unbound sheets of paper are folded together and sealed to make a letter-size mailpiece. The number of sheets in the mailpiece and the number of the times the sheets are folded determine the number of panels. Sheets that are bound by one or more staples are not considered folded self-mailers even when all other preparation recommendations are met.

The maximum height for all automation and machinable FSMs is 6 inches and the maximum length is 101/2 inches, with a maximum thickness of 1/4 inch. The maximum weight of three ounces is applicable to all mailpieces prepared without envelopes.The paper basis weight for folded self-mailers is based on book-grade paper unless otherwise specified and varies depending on the total weight of the mailpiece and/or optional elements that are incorporated in the design. The final fold must be at the bottom for all designs except oblong style pieces. For oblong-style FSMs the final fold is on the leading edge. Tabs cannot be placed on the bottom open edge of an oblong-style FSM. A minimum of two tabs will be required to seal all FSMs when tabs are used as the sealing method. Tabs used as seals may not have perforations. Glue may be used as an alternate sealing method when applied according to the standards for FSMs.

After January 5, 2013, folded self-mailers that do not meet these requirements will be assessed postage as follows: First-Class
Mail[supreg] and Standard Mail[supreg] customers will pay nonmachinable prices; Periodicals mailers will pay nonbarcoded prices.

Overview of Comments

Eleven commenters
recommended that the proposed standards be abandoned and asked that no changes to the existing mailpiece format be made at this time. The commenters cited the economy and the lack of equipment capable of producing the types of designs expressed in the proposed standards. Commenters were also concerned about time and cost incurred for mailpieces that may already be designed and produced, but not mailed. Many new formats and sealing requirements not defined in current standards for FSM are added. To accommodate the mailing industry, the Postal Service will delay adoption of the new standards until January 5, 2013. This postponement will provide enough time for mailers to complete outstanding contracts for mailpieces that do not meet the new standards and will allow those pieces to be entered as automation compatible folded self-mailers prior to the effective date. Mailers entering FSMs before the effective date are encouraged to design and prepare their mailpieces using these standards. Four commenters expressed concern regarding the Postal Service’s proposal to require an additional tab on mailpieces weighing more than one ounce. As pieces get thicker and heavier it becomes more difficult
for those pieces to pass through processing equipment. The mailpieces do not retain their integrity and cause jams and damage to the mail and processing equipment. Heavier weight FSMs experience more stress on the leading edge, especially when it is not a folded edge. An additional tab placed on the lower leading edge improves efficient feed capability
and serves as added protection for the mailpiece during processing. The additional tab also maintains closure as pieces are handled and processed multiple times. Until January 5, 2013, three tabs are recommended to maintain sufficient sealing and to provide additional protection for heavier mailpieces and specific design formats.

Three commenters asked why it is necessary to limit the number of panels within an FSM. The number of panels affects the shape, thickness, and ability to create crisp folds required to maintain a streamlined shape. It also reduces the amount of stress placed on closures, and maintains the integrity of a mailpiece from acceptance to delivery. However, in order to provide increased options and ability to qualify for automation letter prices, the Postal Service will increase the allowed panel count to 12 for FSMs constructed of non-newsprint paper. Additionally, to accommodate the common practice of including half-pages in quarter-fold pieces made with newsprint paper, we increase the panel count for quarter-fold FSMs to a maximum of 24 panels.

Seven commenters expressed concern about the 101/2 inch-maximum length requirement. They expressed concern because smaller sizes will decrease the amount of space available to print advertising in a single mailpiece, and in some cases stock mailpieces will need to be redesigned to conform to the new size requirements. The FSM study revealed that, similar to booklets, mailpieces that exceeded 9 inches in length experienced a decline in machinability with significantly higher rates of damage and jams. The Postal Service maintains the proposed maximum length of 101/2 inches to balance the need for machinability with the customer’s need for the maximum amount of usable space.

Eight commenters questioned the thickness standards of .05 and .09 inches. USPS[supreg] revises the language to clarify that these thickness standards apply only to interior loose enclosures (single sheets that are not captured by the folds) and attachments. The standard for maximum thickness of a finished FSM letter is 1/4 inch, the same maximum thickness for all letter-size mail. Additionally, we allow the insertion of remittance envelopes, meeting all requirements for enclosed envelopes within automation letters, as enclosures when the envelopes are incorporated into the first (manufacturing) fold of the quarter-fold mailpiece format.

Two commenters asked that tabs made of material other than paper and tabs with perforations be used as seals for FSMs. To accommodate this request, the current standards that describe the types of materials used to manufacture tabs are expanded to permit their use for both booklets and FSMs. Tabs with perforations may not be used as a seals.

Nine commenters asked for clarification of tab placement and the number of tabs required. Section 201.3.14.4 is revised to clarify sealing mailpieces using tabs. Studies showed that sealing FSMs with one tab did not provide sufficient closure to withstand the rigors of automation processing for letter-size mail. The requirement to seal with a minimum of two tabs is retained.

Two commenters asked to use glue to seal the lead and trail edge instead of gluing along the top edge when the final fold is the bottom edge. We have revised and clarified the language to allow this as an additional sealing option.

One commenter suggested that the paper basis weight is unreasonably high. The basis weight of paper is one of the major factors that affect the machinability of a mailpiece. Pieces prepared with lower paper weight were unable to withstand the rigors of automation processing, resulting in higher rates of damage and jams and a diversion to more costly flat sorter and manual processing methods. We retain the paper basis weights as proposed.

One commenter asked about the perforation cut-tie ratio. The necessary cut to tie ratio is based on many correlative factors. A ratio that provides enough strength to prevent premature breaking of the perforation tie is needed. This need is balanced by the necessity of preparing a perforated line that can be opened by the recipient without causing unintended damage to the mailpiece. Due to the significant variation in cut-to-tie ratios of mailpieces currently in the mailstream, we modified the proposed standard and will allow a 1 to 1 cut-tie ratio for all perforated lines. The Postal Service will monitor the performance of mailpieces prepared with perforations and if the 1 to 1 ratio does not prove sufficient for machine processing, we will modify the standards to require a higher cut to tie ratio. Customers who have mailpieces that do not meet this reduced standard may ask that the FSMs be sent to the Pricing and Classification Service Center for review.

Three commenters asked for clarification regarding the need to print address information in a mid-to-left position. Section 201.3.14.10 is introduced as a recommendation for folded self-mailers produced on uncoated paper. Testing revealed higher rates of delamination and peel-back (cosmetic damage) to the lead edge of uncoated (raw) paper. This type of damage often exceeded 1/2 inch in length and impeded the ability of letter sorting machines to read address elements.

With this final rule, the Postal Service implements requirements and options that describe the construction of folded self-mailers and other unenveloped mailpieces. These standards allow significant design flexibility while maintaining mailpiece automation compatibility and address most current and proposed designs. Mailers designing and mailing FSMs before the effective date are encouraged to prepare mailpieces using these standards.

The Postal Service adopts the following changes to Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM), incorporated by reference in the Code of Federal Regulations.