Casino Direct Mail Romero Awards Deadline April 30th

Direct Mail Romero AwardsGuest Blog from Dennis Conrad at Raving Consulting. The Casino Marketing Conference at Paris Las Vegas and the highly coveted Romero Direct Mail Awards are fast approaching.

From our friend Dennis Conrad…

There is only ONE competition in the gaming industry that truly acknowledges the very best casino marketing teams. Those teams that planned BIG. Those teams that drove additional visits, incremental revenue, and gained qualified players.

Is this your team? Share your success with your peers — the international gaming industry. What could be a better benchmark or motivator?

April 30th is the due date for your submissions for the 2012 Romero Awards Competition. We’ve made it even easier this year; the process is all online.

So, here’s the deal. Most of you are familiar with the process of submitting for the Romero Awards. However, if you have never entered this prestigious competition before, and you know you have done impressive work around your casino marketing this past year, then I want to challenge you to take the time to share your marketing success with your peers.

Why?

Our eight years of award winners tell us that taking home a Romero Award is about pride and dreams coming true — this is the climax for casino marketers at properties large and small across the world. It is about competing with the very best, the most dedicated casino marketers. Previous award winners stand tall among their peers.

Pick your best promotion(s) or event(s). Bring them to life on the online entry form . Comply with every word of instruction.

Please note, for 2012, we’ve also updated a few of the categories to better reflect current casino marketing vehicles:
•    Direct Mail Marketing (single or campaign)
•    Community Relations (charity, cooperative business programs)
•    Casino Floor Promotion
•    VIP Promotion (for top-rated players)
•    Online Marketing (website and social media)
•    Electronic Marketing (Email and Mobile)
Here are the key points you need to know:

•    Your submissions are due no later than April 30, 2012. Enter as many categories as you wish. No more than three nominations per category, please.

•    The awards ceremony takes place during the 2012 Casino Marketing Conference at Paris Las Vegas. Specifically, competitors will be honored at a VIP breakfast on the morning of Thursday, July 26. You will be notified if you have won a Romero about a month before. All casinos who submit can send a representative as our guest to the awards breakfast.

The 2012 Casino Marketing Conference, home of the Romero Awards, returns July 24-26 to Paris Las Vegas, and will again be produced by Raving Consulting Company for BNP Media.

Will I see you there? Are you ready to go shoulder to shoulder with some of the best casino marketing pros in the world? I hope so.
Sincerely,

Dennis Conrad
President and Chief Strategist
Raving Consulting Company
775-329-7864

Personalized Digital Variable Book Printing

We’re printing our first digital booklets! Digital variable data printing at CSG Direct Mail has never been more alive! The idea of a press that prints multiple paged personalized booklets, gathers the pages, folds, stitches together, and finally does the 3 sided trim is an incredible dream come true.

Before this investment we had to print separate pages and then offline stitch and trim. That was not a great way to do personalized mail by a long shot. Too many pieces got destroyed in the process and the offline process increased costs and timelines. We’re highly focused on quality and speed!

Direct mail is a details business. Demand quality if you want success. We’ll help you find ways to balance cost and speed from there. Knowing what you’re dealing with is half the battle.

If you are printing booklets for your organization and would like to see samples printed on our new presses get in touch with us or get a quote.

Increase Direct Mail Response Rates By Learning To Fish With The Right Bait

I was invited to a charity fishing derby and was excited to go. It was a local fundraiser where every fish we caught and released earned a bonus for the charity. I wanted to catch lots of fish, so I grabbed my father’s tackle box, rod, and reel and headed to the event. I didn’t bring any special bait, so I just reached into the tackle box and pulled out the fanciest lure I could find.

This particular lure was large and full of beautiful colors. It was almost as large and colorful as a casino event postcard (hint). It caught my eye and appealed to me, so I was confident it would catch lots of fish that day. I cast my fancy lure into the pond and waited for my first response … uh, I mean fish. While waiting for my first fish to bite, I watched another guy do something very interesting. He started digging around near the edge of the water and caught a couple of small bugs. He pulled out some string and tied a lure that looked just like those bugs the fish were already eating.

To my amazement, he pulled fish after fish out of the water that day. I caught a few fish too, but I was intrigued to watch this great fisherman get such a high response to his bait that day.

It was a simple strategy: he used bait that would appeal to who he was trying to attract – I used bait that was attractive to me. He used information that was literally right in front of him.

So, how do you get a better response rate as a casino
marketer? I’ll break it down into two steps:

  1. Focus group testing
  2. Utilizing what you have learned from the focus group
  3. Testing with variable data printing

Step 1: Focus Group Testing
Just like fishing, direct mail marketing is a science of proven techniques. The one direct mail marketing science that has been proven time and time again to have huge payoffs is focus group testing (like the fisherman used to build his bait). In focus group testing, you survey your clients with different styles of images, messages, taglines, and calls-to-action to find out what is most appealing to them.

In the past, we would do this to determine the most commonly chosen items so we could design a single mailer that would suit the largest cross section of customers. That is still a solid idea, but with the advent of personalized printing, we can easily take this to a whole new level of success.

In a survey process, your guests tell you exactly what brand messages and images they want. Once we have that information, why would we send them anything else? Your clients tell you exactly how to get the best results from them and now you just have to make that happen. You can get better results fast!

The right casino initiatives can easily improve response rates for years.
The closest most casinos get to a focus group is the new guest signup survey. Let’s leverage this survey for the highest results by making some simple changes to it. Don’t be concerned about what type of gambling they will be doing because you can get that from the tracking system later. What you want to know is information to affect the visual bait that they will respond to most. Perhaps you tell them that you are considering a new tagline for your property, like “Every Player’s Best Odds” or “Stay Here, Play Here.” Give them a list of options and ask them to choose the one they like best. Then, give them a series of themed graphics, like spa services, sports, concerts, blackjack, dance club shots, and others that relate to your individual amenities so they can choose their favorite.

For the final question, maybe present 4-5 different color themes and ask which they find most appealing. For the call-to-action, you want them to tell you what message they will respond to most. This can be done many ways and could be an entire article by itself. Let’s use an example of asking guests if they like things like “last minute deals,” “monthly getaways,” “girls’ night out,” “pizza and beer,” “sportsbook parties,” “VIP parties,” or other themes.

With this simple survey your guest has designed their own mailer by choosing their own images and describing in detail your best brand and bait for them. So instead of printing one piece that you hope will please everyone, use digital variable printing to send mailers with the best bait. With rotating graphics, taglines, branding, and calls-to-action your guests chose, you can create a highly personalized appeal for each of your guests. When you communicate with guests in this manner, your results go way up.

Create an ongoing contest for your active guests as well and let them update their own style preferences as often as they want so you always send the best bait. If you do this as an ongoing game and make it fun, your marketing messages can get peak response rates.

Step 2: Utilizing the information gathered with Variable Data Printing
What is it? Well, it is not your grandpa’s mail merge! We were doing mail merges in the 1980s with word processing programs. In the late ‘90s, we started using fancy seashell and cloud fonts for fun. That was cool, but it is not relevant to modern casino marketing. Modern, advanced variable direct marketing is a graphics and database programmer’s dream. The options are truly endless and can be set up to be very simple, yet still highly effective. Everything can be different on every mailer! You can now send every single guest a direct mailer with all the bait choices they personally picked out with you. Everyone gets their favorite colors, brand messages, themes, images, and variable art. This same data can be used for variable themes, images, and calls-to-action in all of your emails and every other direct marketing effort as well.


Let your customers design your messages

Did you know that banks now let you choose what image you would like printed on your credit cards because they know you will favor it more if you design it yourself? They let me upload a picture of my dogs and now that credit card is my pride and joy. The riskiest thing you can do is to send your guests an untested, broad appeal, single branded message. Letting your guests design their own brand experience with your property individualizes the experience for each guest and maximizes your property’s direct marketing results and profits.

That is how you fish with the right bait in casino marketing!

This Article was featured in Raving’s Strategic Solutions Magazine.
Download a copy of it here.

9 Digital Presses and Personalized Digital Books

Well the final 3 new digital presses are almost completely installed.  Special thanks goes out to our electrical teams and contractors for the building modifications and the massive grid of wires, power and network cabling. digital printing

We have been waiting with Christmas Eve enthusiasm to print our first booklets on these new digital presses. The idea of printing multiple paged booklets that gather pages, fold and stitch together and finally do the 3 sided trim is an incredible dream come true for us.

Before this investment we had to print separate pages and then offline stitch and trim.  That was not a great way to do personalized mail by a long shot.  Too many pieces got destroyed in the process and the offline process increased costs and timelines.

Once our facility is cleaned up from the construction we look forward to giving some fresh tours.  We have a few surprises in store for our favorite clients.  We are going to pee ourselves if we have to wait too long to share those surprises.

CSG Direct Mail and Mailing Lists

One of the most effective innovations provided by the USPS has been access to all National Change of Address (NCOA) records to update your mailing list. Unfortunately you have to twist some companies arms to do this service for you. That is why the US Postal Service has decided to make it mandatory.

17% of your database moves every year on average and when you mail Presorted Standard (old 3rd Class) this mail is thrown out by the Postal Service unless you pay to get it sent back you.

The value of recovering even 5% of your database is huge, let alone 17% for 1 year or 40% if you haven’t done it yet at all. We have been doing this so long (early adopter) that we have some very specific tools and methods to take it to the next level for you. Database Marketers know the value of the cleanest data possible and you will too.

If you want to maintain response rates from 2-7% you must be on top of your game and NCOA Link® is one of the tools we pros use everyday.

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.

Ak us anything or give us a call at 800-881-2150.

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.

Using Direct Mail Maps for Personalized Mailings

So you want variable maps on your mailers to give your customers directions to your business? Great! Let’s learn how to set it all up to make it work!

DESIGN AND SPECS
Your first step is deciding exactly what you want your mailing to look like and getting CSG Direct Mail your information so we can output your maps.

1) Design your mailpiece and decide where your map will be placed

Design your mailpiece

Design your mailpiece

2) Measure your map area and send us the dimensions of the map area in inches or pixels

3) Choose your markers using the pdf provided below and send us the codes for both the START and END makers you would like
DOWNLOAD MapQuestMarkers

4) Provide us with your database and tell us what locations you’d like for START and END

5) We will create your variable maps

 

PULLING IT TOGETHER
If we are doing your mailing, you’re done!
All you need to do at this point is send us your artwork and we’ll take care of everything else!

If we are providing you with maps and you are doing your own mail outputs, follow the instructions below for variable output in InDesign.

1) Set up your file in InDesign, and link to your database using your variable program

2) Define and assign your variable area however your program requires it

3) Place/link your map

4) At this point you will need to make sure that your map is scaled correctly for your variable area

Use the fitting command to do this

 

5) Once you have it looking the way you like, you can do your mail output

 

That’s all there is to it!


Variable Direct Mail Printing

Variable Direct Mail Printing can be one of the most powerful mediums of our times. However, most people who sell this to their clients are not even really doing Variable-Printing. 80% of all Variable-Print is nothing more than mail-merge and fancy fonts.

If I get another direct mail offer with my name spelled in sea shells on a beach I am just going to go insane. “OK, Great, you have a sea shell font – wow – thanks!”. What if I’m scared of the ocean? What if I am allergic to Seafood of any kind? Are you selling me something to do with a beach or shells?

If you don’t really know that much about your customers we can append over 100 fields of additional consumer data about them so you know if they like dogs or cats, drive Fords or Chevy’s, etc.. Ironically, done by real variable data teams in direct mail; we’ll still cost you less than all those printers because we do it every day without the baggage of all that crazy software they got sold.

At CSG Direct, we have over 2 decades in Real Variable Data: Variable Data Printing, Variable Data Coding, Randomization, Variable Data Email, Websites, and more.

New iPads coming with USPS Confirm

Direct Mail iPad AppWell the new iPads are coming.  We’re still not sure if they are the iPad3 or iPad HD but the biggest bragging points are the Retina Display, faster processor and 4G connection speeds with Verizon and AT&T.

One of our favorite out-of-the-box applications on the iPad that we enjoy most at CSG Direct Mail is called Facetime.

Facetime allows us to video conference our offices when we’re on the road. It also allows us to be at company meetings remotely using the 2 built-in iPad cameras. This application alone made the iPad2 worth getting.  It will be even better in the iPad3/HD.

us mail trackingNo mention about the iPad would be complete if we didn’t mention our own iPad app called CSG Direct Mail in the iTunes app Store.

Our US Mail Tracking CSG Direct Mail app includes some very powerful USPS Confirm services built to make single piece lookup easy using your normal customer account ID’s to see how every single piece travels across the US through the mail stream.

Nobody else offers this kind of service!  The app is free in the iTunes store. Every mailing you send with us are tracked live.

CSG DIRECT MAIL includes Live Project Tracking from the CSG DIRECT MAIL Processing plant and Live US Mail Tracking as your pieces travel through the US Postal Service.

You can also track all the direct mail production steps through our multi-plant project tracking features.  Know exactly when your mailings are going out and track every penny you spend.

This app helps your planning, budgets, timing and delivery tracking.

This has been THE DREAM in direct mail for decades and we made it a reality! These newest innovations are built on our proprietary Direct Mail Tracking Systems.

USPS Confirm are registered trademarks of the US Postal Service

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!