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.

Casino Share Intelligence Wins Top Innovation

CASINO JOURNAL: WINNER OF THE TOP 20 MOST INNOVATIVE GAMING PRODUCTS OF 2012!

CASINO JOURNAL: WINNER OF THE TOP 20 MOST INNOVATIVE GAMING PRODUCTS OF 2012!

GCA’s Casino Share Intelligence:  CASINO JOURNAL:  WINNER OF THE TOP 20 MOST INNOVATIVE GAMING PRODUCTS OF 2012!

GCA & their database analytics partner, Diamond Stream, is happy and proud to announce that their newest product, Casino Share Intelligence, is the Winner of the Top 20 Most Innovative Gaming Products in 2011 by the Casino Journal.

Is There Any Treasure Left?

The goal of data mining is to extract knowledge from a database and use it to support loyalty marketing by identifying customer trends and value. While the method in which we reach our customers has changed dramatically, the way we decide which customers to reach has not changed. Now, solutions exist that can find new patterns and opportunities in customer databases with the potential to yield additional revenue. Yet, it seems that even with the countless solutions available, most casinos still use very basic mining techniques and solutions.
Award Winning Screen shot

Quality Control, Your life depends on it!

quality control paperwork at CSG direct mailQuality Control, or “QC”, is the process in which the details and consistency of a job are reviewed before the job is advanced to the next stage of protocol. QC includes the job’s artwork and its data. Both steps are crucial when preparing a print job. For instance, you may have the correct amounts in the data, but it may be mapped to the wrong version of artwork. The job could be going presorted first class mailing, but the barcode reads standard mailing. These are two of many possible examples of errors that can lead to costly mistakes. One mistake is all a job needs to go horribly awry! That one mistake could cost you thousands of dollars or even your client altogether. This guide is here to help you prevent such mistakes from happening.

Preemptive Measures
Q: What is the first step in preventing a mistake from happening?

A: Having all the proper details written where everyone who handles the job can read them. This means writing up the proper instructions for everything: art, data, postage, assembly, etc. By gathering all the job details at once before the job begins, it will help insure the customer has full knowledge of the outcome of their project and what it requires; therefore lessening the likeliness that there will be changes. Remember, every time you go back and change something in a job that’s already begun, the odds of errors greatly increase! After being in this business for 7 years, I can’t stress that enough.

Proofing
Due to its very nature, variable printing can contain many details to keep an eye on. For example, one mailer alone can have variable dates, freeplay amounts, hotel offers, account numbers, addresses, disclaimers, and varying graphic fields. I think you get the picture. That’s a lot of fields to keep in line.

Steps to proofing a job before sending it out for customer sign-off:

1. Know the variables and all aspects involved in that particular job.
a. Dates, amounts, disclaimers, address fields, snipes, graphic fields, etc.

2. How many versions are there? Are there multiple versions being run as one? Proof each and every version!

3. Mailing Class? Presorted standard, Full rate first class? What is your mailer being run as? Are there multiple versions being run as different postal rates?

4. Check the proofs against the original start data. For example, on the proofs it says John Smith Account# 40456 is getting $5,000 in freeplay. Wait! That’s a lot of money to just be giving away. Now going back to the start data you may find out that John Smith Account# 40456 is only supposed to get $500 in freeplay. Try explaining that mistake to your customer. So, when comparing the proofs to the start data look for these things:

a. Name and address. Is John Smith at 123 Liberty Lane on the proof as well as in the start data?
b. Any type of offers that may be included in the start data, such as: Amounts, dates, hotels offers, disclaimers, locality (This is where knowing all the variables in data really comes in handy).
c. Version: The proof says John Smith is getting “version A” does the start data reflect that?
d. Double check if there are “bi-weekly” or “semi-monthly” type offers. It would be a shame if John Smith got $100 every day when he was supposed to get $100 every other week!

5. Is the mailer size the proper dimensions? Does it go in an envelope or is it folded down to proper size? Ultimately, does the final product reflect the instructions given by the customer AND what is written up in the instructions for the job?

6. Color. Do the colors match those of the original artwork? (You may have to consult with a graphic designer on this.)

7. Spelling and grammar mistakes! Proofread every single word and sentence!

Comparing the final product to the start files is one of the most efficient ways to ensure you will be providing your customer with proper proofs. Many times customers will not fully understand the magnitude of the seemingly miniscule details involved in digital variable printing, thus overlooking small (but huge!) mistakes. This is why it is crucial that we catch these errors before we send proofs to our clients.

Address Block Sign-offThis is it. This is your last chance to change or fix the job before all five thousand, ten thousand, one hundred thousand (!) pieces are printed and money is thrown away because nobody checked a silly little thing like class, barcode, quantity, etc.

Things to check before signing off on the address block:

1. Class. For each version that you sign off on.

2. Barcode. Does it scan? If so, make sure the barcode reflects the class and work order.

3. Address. Make sure all the proper fields are there, such as: First Name, Last Name, Company, Address 1, Address 2, City, State, Zip Code, Country, etc.

4. Once again I recommend going back and comparing the given record(s) with the start data.

5. Check the postal paperwork. Does the postal paperwork and tray tags reflect the information in the job instructions?

6. Color, size, paper – make sure all of these are correct.

In closing, I must stress that communication between the sales rep and the customer is the most essential part to ensuring a smooth process that will lead to a successful marketing campaign. Furthermore, this communication must be transcribed orderly and properly into the job’s instructions. There is no reason for an error to happen if the proofing process is properly utilized and every small detail is checked. Look at it this way: would you rather spend 10 minutes proofing your job or 10 hours and double the cost reprinting it because you were too busy to proof? I know, that’s a no-brainer!

Okay, you’ve proofed it, the customer signed off, and now it’s in your lap for address block sign-off? I know you’re probably asking yourself, “What the heck! I thought this job was good to go?” But who knows, maybe something was accidentally changed in the time that the customer signed-off to the time it took a press operator to get the job ready, this is your last chance to catch any mistakes, take advantage of it!

By Chris Ohm -Data and Design Department

Attention Marketers: Facebook is Not Your Friend

Why would you spend considerable resources marketing another companies website instead of your own? Facebook is mostly an unproductive diversion of time, talent and resources. You could get 10x more value by spending 1/2 that time adding search engine content to your own website.

Sure, Feeling popular and ‘liked’ makes us smile and feel like we matter each day. There is nothing wrong with positive affirmations from random guests and strangers to start your marketing teams day.
However, you should move your team in another direction as quickly as possible.

The goal is to bring warm, paying, profitable, fun-loving guests into your property where they buy your food, stay in your rooms and enjoy your gaming experience. There is very little to be gained by getting ‘likes’ on some other companies website that is a temporary site compared to your own.

Reason #1, When people are ready to travel, they go to Google, Yahoo or Bing, not facebook:
Marketing Statistics for facebook and Google

This website visitor report shows that search engines brought 723 guests to your website and facebook and twitter only brought in 14 combined.  So don’t double your facebook and twitter time!  It’s much easier to spend 1/2 hour per day adding content to your website for much bigger gains.

Reason#2, All efforts in facebook vanish almost immediately since Facebook hides your messages.

Facebook wants to sell advertising to companies like yours so when you post something on Facebook they filter it in the timeline so a user has to seek you out on purpose which they rarely do.  People go to Facebook to share pictures, talk with friends and play games.  They quickly move past company messages and Facebook makes it easy to skip your messages altogether.

Reason #3, Facebook hides your content from search engines and uses it for their benefit.

Remember, facebook is free for a reason.  If it sounds to good to be true it probably is.
Look at this nofollow screen capture where we show you the secret in their program.facebook nofollows all your links

See everything highlighted in Pink by our nofollow finding tools…
Facebook has told all the search engines to ignore all outbound links and not follow them.

When you invest marketing staff and resources into producing content and promotions, you don’t want it to be completely invisible or useless 24 hours later (no longer seen by guests or found online). Your efforts in your own website will bring you 50x more guests for a lot less time invested.

Your Top Priority for online marketing should be: go to your favorite search engine and type the words your guests would type when looking for a property like yours.  Type “Southern California Casino” or “North Dakota Hotels” or “Places to Stay” and see if you even show up in the results.  This is when a new customer is actually planning the details of their coming trip.  This is when you want to interact with them and book that reservation.  This is where you want to win in the online world.

The Solution is to add new content to your website daily in an event or community blog in your site. Search engines see this as new content and come back daily with new guests.  Your content remains active in your site and a magnet for guests on the internet ~ forever.

Once you get your blog up and running in your own website where guests can post, reply and interact with you directly (cutting out the middleman), we’ll show you the next steps to automate your social media campaigns and really move up in the search engine rankings which is what matters most online.

Paul Erickson joins CSG Direct Mail

When I look back through my career it is divided into “Phases”. Those phases are always centered around our largest milestones and the progress that follows. I know 2012 is one of those milestones and 2012 is the beginning of “The Era of Paul“.

We are very excited to share with you that Paul Erickson has joined our team (your team) as General Manager of our CSG Direct digital-printing plant in Reno, Nevada.  Paul brings with him over 34 years of print plant management, team development and print manufacturing experience.

Paul is a Six Sigma Champion and is experienced in Business Management Strategy.

For anyone in our region that is aware, Paul is known for his tenure at RR Donnelley where for 9 years he was the Vice President of Manufacturing at the Reno plant.  However, Paul has many other accomplishments that demonstrate his deep level of experience.

Paul began his career after he earned his BS in Printing Management from South Dakota State University.  More recently Paul was the managing director of Polestar Sheffield, the largest gravure printing facility in the U.K with a very demanding customer base and a high level of customer satisfaction.

Paul came back to the US to run the very prestigious US Government Printing Office for 3 years as the Deputy Public Printer and Chief Operating Officer.  In this very demanding position Paul still adopted and implemented the ISO 9001 standard for quality assurance and management in GPOs production facilities and led the effort to adopt 5S, a world recognized continuous improvement process in both manufacturing and office environments.

I cannot say enough about how excited we are to have Paul leading our team.

Paul recently shared his insight with us “The future of Printing is digital and CSG Direct has positioned itself well in this market segment. The CSG niche is strong and our unique services offer us unlimited growth and opportunity.”

We’ll if anyone should know… it’s Paul.

Welcome aboard Paul!
We look forward to the new era.

2012 Casino Marketing Conference Returns to Paris Las Vegas


July 24-26, 2012!
Marketing insiders know that Casino Marketing is a hard-hitting, straight-talking, no-holds-barred senior-level conference that addresses marketing challenges across all facets of the gaming industry, including commercial casinos, tribal casinos and racetrack casinos – virtually any gaming venue around the world.

More than 100 different gaming operators and other companies involved in the gaming industry attended the 2011 event, and they came from throughout North America – and beyond. Many companies sent their entire marketing and promotions teams, so they know the value of this unique event!


July 23-24, 2012!
In 2012 the Casino Marketing Conference is offering the popular program Drive Revenue and Grow Business: An Advanced Sales Model for Your Host Department. This one and a half-day program will run on July 23rd and 24th; separate registration is required.

If you are a senior host and player development specialist, General Manager, Player Development Senior Executive, or Marketing Director, you want to attend this program that will focus on:

• Developing and segmenting qualified sales leads from your database
• Creating compensation and specialization in a new player development model
• Managing reinvestment properly and measuring the sale
• Understanding the true value of a player through mathematics
• Acquiring the skills to complete the sales cycle

This is the advanced training you have been looking for! The program delves deep into sales skills, database management, analytics and the math of player value. This isn’t theory and a whole lotta talk — these are takeaway tools you can apply as soon as you return to your property. This is the 21st century groundwork you need to create an advanced host department.

To learn more about this conference or to register click Here.

FREE Personalized Mobile Sites for USPS QR Barcode Summer Sale

FREE Mobile Sites for Summer Sale

FREE Mobile Sites

The most remarkable direct mail offer ever presented.

So the USPS is having another QR Barcode Summer Sale.  This time they have added a twist. The QR Barcode must take the user to a Personalized website or mobile shopping cart.

This is a major hurdle for most vendors but the Post Office wants to prove what a dynamic media they can be and we are here to help.

CSG Direct is giving away 40 Personalized Mobile sites that capture email addresses and cell phones (double opt-in). 

These simple mobiles sites use the QR Code on the mail piece. This drives customers to a personalized mobile site with their customer number and looks up their name on the fly.
(Try the barcode to see a demonstration).

Scan this Barcode. Every barcode is unique, this one is for Michael

This program qualifies you for all the Postal Service Summer Postage Discounts and collects new contact options from your client on their favorite personal handheld device.

We’ve seen response rate increases from 2.5% to 21% with these sites.
(on top of your normal response)

<<== SERIOUSLY, Just scan the barcode on the left and enter your cell phone number for a quick data capture and email opt-in demonstration.

Here are the program Details:

  • 40 Free Sites will be built for the first 40 customers that qualify.
  • Your company logo, Colors and Special Offer Text
  • Capture both text and email
  • Double Opt-in via text
  • Final Data returned with PlayerID or Account#
  • Earn full USPS Discounts + Summer QR Discounts
  • Includes US Mail Tracking by PlayerID in mailstream

Your customers give you their email addresses and text/cell numbers in this program. Cannot be combined with other discounts. A commitment of 3 or more mailings is required.

Making it fun is easy and gets the highest results

Use this program in a drawing or contest for everyone that enters their email address and cell phone. Run it all summer, the longer the contest the better.  At the end of the program we send you the accounts with updated emails and phone numbers and you can invite them in to make an event out of it.

This is a “Better Results Fast” programs that helps you save postage, get marketable data from your customers and get a much higher response rate on your campaign at no additional cost.
This is the most remarkable direct mail offer ever presented to you.

To qualify for a free mobile site request one here.

You deserve a direct mail partner that cares and does everything possible to help you win.
We are driven to Help you win! 

the 21st Century Postal Service Act of 2012

The US Senate voted 62-37 yesterday to pass S. 1789 (as amended), the 21st Century Postal Service Act of 2012, as amended. Sixty votes were needed to pass the bill.

About S. 1789
S. 1789, as amended, works to refund the USPS billions of dollars in overpayments to the Federal Employees Retirement System, streamline its structure and operations, adjust an onerous retiree pre-funding requirement, and seeks compromise solutions on controversial issues like facility closures and Saturday mail delivery. The bill does not include legislated rate increases on first class/standard mail above the current rate cap tied to the Consumer Price Index. While S. 1789 is not a perfect solution to the USPS crisis, Printing Industries of America supports this bipartisan bill as the legislation best suited to reform the USPS.

Action on postal reform now moves to the House The House version of postal reform (H.R. 2309), sponsored by Reps. Issa (R-CA) and Ross (R-AL), has been heard, amended and approved out of committee, but no floor vote has yet been scheduled. The House GOP leadership and bill sponsors said that the House had been waiting for the Senate product and will likely move postal reform legislation this spring/summer. There are a few procedural avenues this could take, but the current expectation is that the House bill will go to a full floor debate/vote. It would then need to be merged with the now-passed Senate bill in a conference committee in order to receive final approval and be sent to President Obama for his signature. Keep in mind that the House legislation takes a dramatically different approach to postal reform than does its Senate counterpart. Printing & Mailing Industries and its allies will continue our work in the House and put pressure in that chamber to achieve legislative success as soon as possible.

– Printing Industry of America

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

Boost Creative Services from CSG Direct Mail

Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to one of our dynamic creative design vendor-partners.

CSG Direct Mail has more Boost than ever.

Boost is a creative partner for everything over-the-top, effective and impressive.

Boost Creative is a top tier agency with clients like Porsche, Harrahs, KOA and Wells Fargo.

Here is the Boost Creative story:

Acceleration. Power. Ascent. To lend a hand, to enhance, to make better. All visions of Boost, and the inspiration behind a new type of company. A little giant capable of big league work. Where did we come up with such an idea? We’ve dreamt it all our lives.

You know those Friday happy hour conversations you have when you’re first out of college and mixing up in the “real world”? Well, ours pretty much went like this: “Wouldn’t it be great to have a collaborative of creatives who worked together, yet independently, with nothing getting in the way, taking up space and cluttering up communication with our clients? And wouldn’t it be a miracle to choose with whom we wanted to work – from clients to vendors to the UPS driver -so that our relationships were a good fit, serving an even nurturing the spirits of everyone involved? And wouldn’t it be perfect to do awesome work, the kind that not only puts our clients head and shoulders above the crowd, but also gives us a gut feeling of satisfaction.

This is who we are: innovative, resourceful, efficient, and honest.

We are a creative collaborative and culmination of tequila doused musings and professional dreams. We know the difference between advertising and “badvertising” and we won’t sell our for the latter. We understand technology, but we are not the “techies”. We work in a world-class space, which we designed and built with our own hands. We are students of design, art, communication and live. We love what we do and we do what we love. We are not a group of head nodders. We are not an advertising agency. We are an idea company.

Founded in January 2002, we strongly, honestly, absolutely believe that the best work comes when a client communicates directly with the individuals who will be producing the campaign or project. This saves clients a lot of money and us a lot of headache. We have seen the waste in advertising agencies. Hey, we’ve even been a part of it, but we have seen the light.

Strategy is at the core of how we run our business and how we work with our clients. Being able to say big words like Brand Positioning, and Core Competencies, are the easy part. Knowing how to do the work, that’s different. We can work to understand you, your business, your market, and your customers. Then, we make the recommendations, and we execute. Our strategy will always help clients communicate with sincerity and honesty, and create an emotional response. When it’s all done, we’re not off to Tahiti, we’re accountable. We analyze what went right or wrong, adjust, rebuild if necessary, move to the next steps, whatever is needed to truly accomplish goals. One step, one project, one magnificent moment at a time.

We love to brainstorm. We want to be your off site think tank. Whether brought in at the front of a large campaign, or simply called on to be one small part of it, we’ll help solve problems. When we mix it up with your people, there’s going to be some kind of wonderful going on. No doubt.

We approach every job, large or small, with the same level of energy and attention; your business, your budget, our reputation…all on the line. Yes we love to laugh, we always have fun, but we take this seriously.

Learn more about Boost Creative Services.