CSG Direct Mail at Casino Marketing Conference

The Casino Marketing Conference is just around the corner.  Are you going?CasinoMarketingConference

CSG Direct Mail has been asked to present our Triggered, Automated Casino Direct Mail Programs in the Casino Direct Mail session.

These programs drive casino mailers hands-free directly from your player database to our 9 digital presses for Same-Day mailings with full personalization, variable free-play, variable graphics and more.

These CSG programs are one of the Casino Direct Mail Industries “Holy Grails”!

The casino direct mail session takes place on Wednesday the 24th at 1:30 pm.
We’ll also be giving away some free automated direct mail at our booth so stop by.

The Sessions taking place during this 3 day conference include:

  • Stop Thinking of Social media as The Be-All End-All
  • The Future of Casino Marketing: The Operators’ Roundtable
  • What’s Going On With… Direct Mail?
  • What’s Going On With… Casino Advertising?
  • Managing Point Reinvestment
  • How to Gather Player Feedback
  • Developing Effective Merchandising and Incentive Programs
  • Marketing Strategy that Makes Sense
  • Secrets of Award-Winning Casino Promotions
  • Social Gaming, Who’s Playing it and what does it mean

In addition to the great lineup of casino industry sessions there will be Keynote Speakers, Lifetime Achievement Awards, The Romero Awards and tons of networking.  If you are serious about gaming you will want to be at this conference.

As a special note I am personally excited to hear from John Acres on his Casino Marketing 10th Anniversary Special Keynote Session:  Where Will Our Next Generation Of Players Come From? The Answer May Be “In The Box” Instead Of Out Of It!

This should be required continuing education for career empowerment.

I hope you can make it!!

Marketing Automation Database Driven Solutions for everyday problems

Marketing Automation Database Driven Solutions for everyday problems

How many times have you heard someone say “If I could clone you we could get so much more done”?  It’s been said many ways but the question always revolves around cloning someone because they are already so busy and their skills are needed somewhere else as well.

A dream we all have is to take our most motivated and driven staff and clone them instead of hiring and training other people that may or may not be as driven or as capable.

What if there was a way to free-up your most valuable personnel?  What if you could set them free to work in other areas?  You COULD get so much more accomplished each day!

This is where Marketing Automation comes in

What if every report, every direct mail campaign, every post-forma and every possible daily task was automated to happen wither someone came in to work or not?  Think about it.

What if you could put all your daily struggles on cruise control and your entire team got to focus on new guest experiences, contests, expansions and community outreach?

I’m not saying it’s 100% possible… But What If it was?

It would be like you just cloned your entire staff and the they all got to focus 100% of their time on those new pressing issues on the top of your internal bucket lists.  Think of how much more you could do if they were not stuck on mundane daily paper pushing, database queries, reports and spreadsheets.

The Big Bonus is that you only pay 1 set of wages even though you are getting the work done of an entire extra cloned department by automating as many tasks as possible. Then, if you have staff turnover all those items are still being completed as planned without any skipping a single beat.

Where do we start?

The best way to get started is to let everyone know that you are forming an automation task force to audit all the redundant, mundane but critical tasks that keep us at our desks and not in front of guests or directly working on refining and building promotions.

Have your IT department create a full audit of every report that is created by every person in every department. Document the time spent on building post-formas, mailing lists, email blasts, data entry, creating redemption codes and every other daily, weekly monthly task that involves your staff’s time.

Have an ongoing contest across your entire property to identify redundant tasks that could be automated even if they all seem like they could not be done at first. Offer rewards and incentives for the people that find the largest blocks of time that could be saved.

Don’t forget to automate this incentives program as well.

Many ideas will see unreachable at first but with all these ideas on the table at once it will be very easy to identify large blocks of time and energy that could be spared by programing them to be automated.

Low Hanging Fruit

The reason we start with an audit of all tasks is that we can quickly identify the largest savings of time and energy. For example, many reports can be combined into 1 report and generated on a timed basis in SQL and emailed daily/weekly to everyone that needs it.

Many decisions you would make based on that report could be automated as well so that the logic doesn’t change from day to day.

Imagine that every day a list of inactive guests is queried and an excel spreadsheet is generated.  You then forward that list to your hosts for them to call on.  They in return call those guests and offer them a special room rate.  The next step would be to mail those guests a special offer to get them back in.

Automate it!

Instead of the last scenario you program SQL to generate that exact same call list and forward it as an excel spreadsheet directly to the hosts themselves on a timed basis.  That same data is automatically transferred to our automated direct mail facility where those direct mail pieces go out daily. The host says “I’m sending you a special offer” and those personalized offers are already in the mail.  Hosts spend more time on the phone with guests and you just freed up expensive talented staff to do something else important.

Direct Mail Automation

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

Don’t wait until you have time to get to your customers that are going inactive.  Address it immediately, without any required labor; through automated offers triggered by events the database can track.  Don’t wait for a mailing of 1000 when you can reach out to every single declining play or declining trip customer with a mailing as small as 1 piece that goes out daily.

Why are you waiting to reach out to that client?  I know, “you’re too busy”.  Automate it!!

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 digital Presses.  We then cut, fold, insert and apply postage and your new member, birthday or inactive mailers go out every single day.

With automation you also receive an email summary each morning of how many pieces were mailed with an opportunity to review the variables used in your mailer.  Records are also automatically 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.
Think of all the marketing programs you can automate:
•    New Members
•    Birthdays
•    Inactives or trip frequency decline
•    Increased or declining play offers
•    Monthly Mailers

You can easily automate personalized Letters, Postcards and Emails with Variable Print, Variable Offers, Variable Images and variable Envelopes.

If you want Blackjack players to receive blackjack images and Keno people to get pictures of Keno just build that in.  In many ways automated direct mail can be much more personalized than the manual tasks you do now.

Automating your redundant marketing tasks may be the biggest no-brainer in marketing. It can eliminate the response-rate rollercoaster ride of all the manual methods you’re doing now. You truly get something measureable and consistent month after month and year after year since it is automated and not influenced by staff changes along the way.

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

Triggered Direct Mailings in more detail

Continued from Triggered Mailings Part 1

Personalized Triggered Mailings

Personalized Triggered Mailings

Player guest Mary has been playing video poker for 3 days. She has accumulated enough points to move up to the Platinum level. The database notices this (we told it to watch for this) and triggers(1) a text to Mary’s cell phone “Hey Mary, you just made it to the platinum club. We are sending you a free Room offer as your first reward”.

The database also triggers(2) a personalized letter sent that day welcoming Mary to the platinum level with her Free Room night in it. This letter goes out by noon at the completion of her trip because the database triggered the data to merge and print directly on a waiting, automated press; hands-free.

She gets this offer letter 1 or 2 days after she gets home, not a month later when ‘the batch’ goes out.

The database also triggers(3) an email to be sent in 1 week later telling Mary that she earned some freeplay for her next trip (segmented and personalized based on your reinvestment plan). If she makes her reservation this week we can upgrade her to a 2-night stay.

The final scenario the database is looking for is to see if Mary comes back in or redeems our offers. If after 6 weeks Mary has not returned for a trip the database triggers(4) an increased reinvestment mailer where she is offered a free dinner for her and a friend if she books her room this week.

Design many trigger scenarios easily

Marys’ sample story is just that, a sample.
Triggers(1-4) included :

  1. Text on her cell phone (if she provided it)
  2. Personalized Bounceback letter
  3. Personalized Email offer coordinated with her letter
  4. An increased reinvestment mailer

You could have even triggered a text to her host to visit her on the floor if possible.

You can design as many scenarios that you can think of to create an endless array of personalized and automated triggered guest experiences that run all year long instead of bulk batches of mailings done monthly. Guests don’t always think in monthly batches like we do.  They are all on their own individual journeys and when we treat them that way we get our best results.

Triggered Direct Mail Marketing for Daily Success

Triggered direct mailings are mailings that are going out every single day that nobody has to manage. These mailings are known to work better than your other mailings because they are ‘triggered’ when all the ideal details come together for the guests you want most.

When you get stuck in budget meetings and everybody is putting out fires, there are mailings being sent out automatically from your player database to people matching your perfect criteria with your best segmented offer.

Automated Direct Mail Triggers

Automated Direct Mail Triggers

You can build perfectly timed, segmented and personalized mailings and put them on cruise control.

Send these daily offers to 1 person or thousands.

  • Nobody has to pull a mailing list
  • Nobody has to deal with postage
  • Timed and optimized with your favorite tiered offers

This is not a new concept so put those mailing labels down

In every phase of technology people hang onto the past because it becomes engrained.

Do you remember printing labels and giving those labels to the mail shop to apply onto your mailers? From labels we eventually gave the mailshop a diskette.  Then we started using thumb drives, email and ftp. Data moves fairly quickly now, but emailing a mailing list to a printer or a mailshop is the equivalent to printing labels these days.

In comes 2012 and casinos all over the world transfer data automatically outside of the player database to allow players to login to websites and see their points and what offers they have earned. The player database is being used to communicate in Kiosks and personalized offers are displayed directly on the machines too, automatically.

This is possible because your player database is updating outside vendor databases directly on a timed schedule.  Your player database has come a long way in how it communicates with your guests.

Why are we sending out mailings every 2-3 weeks when we can send them daily?

We tend to think in monthly cycles. We send out 2-3 mailings each month and we have a 1 week breather before we start working on next months. Usually we use the art from last month, make a few changes then pull new data and send all this to our vendor.  Rinse, Repeat.

Sure, we do analyze results to make changes to next month’s offers but the next mailer will go out before you have results from the last one so…  let’s just get this in the mail, it’s late right?

This monthly rinse and repeat cycle is the ‘labels’ of 2012.

For at least 2 of your 3 mailings you are using the exact same queries each month, applying the same reinvestment curve and just adjusting your event schedule.  I am by no means saying this is ideal but these things can be automated so you can focus more on the recipe and less on the processes.

Your time is best spent designing ideal client-relationship segments and reinvestment curves to match. You should not have to spend so much time pulling and sending lists, dealing with postage, handling return mail, uploading art and proofing content.

Build each player segment, matching art and put each one on cruise control.

Triggered Direct Mailings Continued here

Automated New Guest Bouncebacks and Inactive Recaptures

Personalized Daily Automated MailingsAre you going to the Las Vegas Gaming show in September 23-26 2013?(I am not allowed to mention the name of the event I am told) If so, make sure to meet up with the CSG Direct Mail team to get this exclusive offer available for Raving Fans and friends. (show details on bottom)

So you had 75 new players join your players club today. Awesome!! That is a great start! Do you mail them a bounceback offer that day or do you wait for a few weeks to save up enough for a mailing?

What about Inactives? Do you wait for 18 months to treat them as inactive or do you base it on their personal frequency and send out recapture mailings as soon as someone breaks their frequency?

We automate these campaigns for you so that they run on hands free on cruise control without you having to add staff, time and labor to do it.

You get higher player retention with automated, timed, tiered and triggered campaigns.
We can Help!

The CSG Direct Mail team will be walking the floors of the September Gaming show with special certificates that waive all setup costs and get you on cruise control sooner than you can imagine.

Look for us at the Global Gaming Show in September or reach out to us early @ 800-881-2150 to setup a time and place to meet up. You will find us hanging out with team Raving too, so come on by.

STOP THE PRESSES, BRANDED PERMITS BEING REJECTED

Company Indicias are being rejected without noticeSTOP THE PRESSES, BRANDED PERMITS BEING REJECTED Developing Story 7/27/2012

The USPS has decided to stop accepting any mail with branded permits of any kind – TODAY.

Permit holders all over the country received certified letters today 7/27/2012 (we did too) with a formal cease-and-desist on using anything other than standard font permits. So as of this moment they are rejecting mailings all over the country if you have one of these permits.  These permits have been used for years and we received no advanced warning.  Even mailings with partial drops last night cannot be completed today without covering the permits with generic black and white permits.

STOP THE PRESSES!!  They are forcing us to apply labels by machine and by hand to cover all permits before they can be accepted.

Change the permits on your art before you print..

If you are about to press Print call Paul Erickson at 800-881-2150 ext 17 for up to the minute information.

Story developing, more details to come…

UPDATES:

The Postal Service has a long track record of rolling out changes to their rules and regulations in a very slow and methodical manner. For example, the upcoming requirements in January that eliminate discounts for anyone using the old Postnet barcodes have been discussed since 2010 or earlier.

However, that history aside, the Postal Service surprised us all recently with a rule that rejected mail all over the country without any prior notice at all.  The US Postal Service will no longer accept decorative company indicia permits like this one:

Branded Permits

Marketing departments all over the country have modified their permits to be more decorative to take full advantage of the direct mail customer experience. Wither you put your casino name in your permit with a fancy font or completely colored it like we did (above), they are no longer allowed.

The only correct and acceptable company-indicia permits are built more like this:

Postal Permit

Standard Permit Indicia

Like I said, traditionally they would give a long drawn-out notice. Sometimes it seems that they don’t understand the processes we must all go through. Mailings all over the country were already approved and on the press or being completed when these rejections started happening on August 1st.

If you would like us to take a quick free look at your permit situation, just let us know.
We’d be happy to help!

Las Vegas BNP Casino Marketing Conference Updates

marketing conferenceAs we get closer to the July24-26th Casino Marketing Conference being held at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel Casino there is lots of new information I want to share. This is a unique event and casinos from all over the country are registered to be at this popular event.

If you haven’t yet registered yet, you can do so HERE.

BEFORE THE EVENT:

Raving Consulting is hosting a 3 day educational program:
2012 Host Development / Casino Marketing Conference
Monday, July 23, 2012 – Thursday, July 26, 2012

These Host conferences are powerful and there is no better way to rejuvenate your hosts and help them maximize the guest experience. This should be mandatory training.

DURING THE EVENT:

The CSG Direct Mail Team is giving away free data-capturing mobile websites (email and cell) to the first 50 people that come by the booth. You can collect customer email address and cell phone numbers (with playerIDs) FREE and take advantage of the lower postage rates from the US Postal Service at the same time.

These are popular, powerful and easy to use.
Stop by the CSG Direct Mail Booth for details.

WEDNESDAY NIGHT:

Well this is Las Vegas so there is never a dull moment, this event is no different. There are at least 2 main events after the show on Wednesday night the 25th. There are 2 events you get to choose from because they are held at roughly the same time. These are brought to you by Raving Consulting and the Casino Direct Marketing Association.

Casino DMA Event – The Casino DMA is hosting a party at Napoleon’s Piano Bar at Paris Las Vegas. This is the same casino as the event so it is real easy to find. These events are a great place to meet other casino executives, socialize and make long term friends in the gaming industry. In this industry you can use all the contacts you can get. This is a great event that is planning a few surprises.

Raving Consulting Event – Never to be outdone, Raving Consulting with Dennis Conrad, All Star Incentive Marketing and Raving Contests powered by SportGame.

Leave it to Dennis to create a seriously funky and nothing-else-like-it event for our best clients on Wednesday evening during Casino Marketing.

They’re piling into a 56 person bus at 6:30 pm for Dennis’ Inside Las Vegas Marketing Tour and Scavenger Hunt. We’ll break into teams and explore the “marketing” underbelly of downtown Las Vegas that most folks have never experienced. After the scavenger hunt, the survivors will get back on the Raving bus and head out to another Vegas super-value, and enjoy the Feast Buffet at Boulder Station Casino, our compliments.

This is truly a crazy, fun and bonding experience.

If you have any other questions about the event just let me know.

The internet battle with igaming

Competing with igaming? “bring on the nerds”

Every incumbent gaming operation has had to deal with the expanding gambling landscape and new, large and well-funded competition opening down the street. The barrier to market has always been the huge expenses of buying land, building giant brick-and-mortar properties, staffing and then finally marketing against us. Well a new dawn approaches!

This time though, the battle won’t be on the strip. This battle is on the internet.

So how strong is your internet team and what are they focused on?
(please don’t say Facebook, please. lol)

The real battle will take place on the search engine. If we do our jobs right we can beat them on the internet. What every casino needs now is an expanding army of programmers, bloggers and online search engine experts. The more you understand about search engines the more you will understand the large advantage you have on the internet over the online casinos. You truly can win this fight if all physical casinos massively outperform online casinos at the search engine screen.

Bring on the Nerds!
I’m a nerd so it’s ok.

There was a story in the Las Vegas Review Journal about a current online battle the cosmopolitan is having with an international company trying to get their online business. Article Here.

What you see in the article is a typical online battle that you may all be dealing with in the months and years ahead. These new online casinos will have to create clever brands and spend tens-of-millions marketing those brands. They will try and save those millions by hijacking your brands online. It’s already happening to The Cosmo.

But, The Cosmopolitans website kicks major Search Engine butt over the hijacking site. A search engine strategy report shows newcosmopolitanlasvegas.com (the online hijack) with an SEO score of 44 out of 100 but cosmopolitanlasvegas.com (the real site) has an SEO score of 66 out of 100. The Cosmo is winning but still needs to step up their search engine strategy above that 66.

In their local market, Palms.com has a grade of 88 out of 100. They are really working their online strategy obviously. You can’t just build pretty websites folks. This is an online battle for the modern customer and one of your most valuable marketing dollars you can spend.

You can never learn too much about search engine marketing! Do you know that your own blog is worth 200x more than facebook, but many casinos have staff focused on facebook and don’t even have a blog. What is your H1-tag strategy? How about your meta-tag strategy? You even need an image and alt-text strategy too. What are the actual names of your images anyway?
What does Google think you do?

Google cannot “see” your pretty website like humans do. What is your website SEO score? More importantly, when a customer decides to plan a trip and types “Hotels in [your city]” are you on the top of the results? A successful search engine strategy pays off big! It’s time to take your site to the next level and protect yourselves from igaming too.