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.

How to Get Your Direct Mail Opened

Direct-mail is one of the most powerful marketing tools a casino has!   Getting the highest direct mail response should be the goal but there is usually a lot of pressure to keep the costs down. These can be conflicting goals. If we don’t get our mailer opened and read we will get a poor response rate so let’s focus on getting customers to open our direct mail today.Get Direct Mail Opened

Here are a few tricks to get your mail opened.

  • Use a shocking or awe inspired headline

There is a reason why every band does their “last tour” every few years. It creates shock to their fans and creates deep interest in the event. Find something spectacular about your event worth creating some drama about like “biggest jackpot ever” or this is a very rare event or last of it’s kind.

  • Use mystery to make them curious about your mailer

Curiosity is a powerful tool.  If you use some lead-in text on the address side of your mailer (the primary side they see), you can tap into their curiosity and get your mailer opened.  Try a snipe like “You’ll never guess who is coming” but make them open the mailer to find out. Your mailer open rate will increase incredibly.  They could guess, but its more natural to open the mailer and see the answer.  It is a similar technique as a scratch-off for getting your piece opened.

  • Use a scratch-off on the outside to compare on the inside

If you design your scratch off with a compelling offer and easy to understand design they work very well.  You can create a nice scratch-off on the outside and have them check the inside of the piece to see what they have won.  You can create scratch-offs with variable numbers too so make a game of your mailer and it will have a much higher open and interaction rate than the rest of the mail that day.

  • A box-mailer always gets opened

Any box place inside your customers mailbox is the most important thing in the mailbox. If we are talking strictly open-rates than there is no higher interaction rate than a box mailing.  Higher open rates translate into higher response rates. You should definitely do some box mailings throughout the year and compare the post forma math to your other mailers.  You will be very pleasantly surprised by the increased response which can more than justify the additional expense.

  • Send relevant offers about things they like

The difference between direct marketing and junk mail is if you’re sending relevant offers to someone about what they like or want. If you send a country and western invitation to a rock ‘n roll person you are pushing that client away with things they don’t want (aka junk mail).

You want to be a property that has the things they like so you are their favorite place to go.  Code your database well so you can personalize relevant offers to the right person and you’ll always get your mailers opened and higher response rate too.

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.

Records Break at NIGA Tradeshow Ribbon Cutting

San Diego, CA (April 3, 2012) – Although the convention has been underway since Sunday with a Chairman’s Welcome Reception hosted at the USS Midway, the 27th Annual National Indian Gaming Association 2012 Tradeshow really kicks off at the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on Tuesday, April 3rd.

During the meeting at the San Diego Convention Center, Tribal government gaming commissioners will get certified, and industry officials will discuss internet gaming, gain knowledge on the latest gaming technology, see gaming forecasts, and meet and surpass casino compliance.

With the organization’s Chairman Ernie Stevens Jr. presiding the ribbon cutting, he shared that over 5,500 people have registered for the convention, a record-breaking number.

“Today, we have filled the 90,000 square foot floor with over 450 world-class exhibits, who are our friends in the gaming industry and Native-owned businesses who are eager to build their brands. There is a $26 billion industry behind these doors, and we welcome you,” Stevens said.

The purpose of the tradeshow and convention is to build a positive venue for Indian gaming industry professionals and foster a dialog to help reinvent and reposition their facilities to better serve their communities, better serve their customers and stay competitive at a higher level. They will discuss economic development beyond gaming.

Facing the challenging years of the recent recession, characterized in the industry by overconfident growth, and internet gaming, have taken its toll on the spirits of Tribal leaders, gaming facility managers and employees alike. Today, these challenges are facing a turnaround and the NIGA Tradeshow & Convention is the place to discuss them openly and honestly.

Joining the Chairman on the stage was Law & Order SVU Actor Adam Beach, retired U.S. Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell and Olympic Gold Medal winner, Billy Mills.

Michael Woestehoff
Indian Gaming Weekly
Your Membership News Source for Indian Gaming
An Online Publication Created by The National Indian Gaming Association

US Mail Tracking systems at CSG Direct Mail

Our proprietary US Mail Tracking systems have successfully tracked over 45 million pieces of direct mail advertising through the US mailstream online, in real time. That’s 45 million pieces followed across the country individually, like you do packages.

Using our new proprietary system, coupled with the USPS’s new Intelligent Mail Barcodes, a business can finally track the progress of its mail campaign using its own customer ID or account number.

Some of the system’s more popular features are the interactive reports as each piece crosses the country. Bulk mail can now be tracked just like more expensive alternatives such as UPS and FedEx.

Additional tools and applications are being built around this new system to make this new innovation accessible for every direct mail customer in America. Track Direct Mail’s uses seem endless. The technology allows database-marketing companies another level of strategy to reduce postage, find lost mail and help customers that may experience problems with the nation’s mail stream.

With all of these innovations it was only a matter of time until we put all of our CSG Direct Mail Tracking tools on the iPhone and iPad. CSG Direct Mail for iPhone was released into the iTunes App Store May 7th 2010. Track every aspect of your direct mail projects with Live Project Tracking from the CSG DIRECT MAIL Processing plant and Live US Mail Tracking as your pieces travel through the US Postal Service.

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. We continue to redefine the Direct Mailing industry! CSG Direct Mail brings you Better Results Fast!

Need a Casino Job?

If you are looking for a Casino Job or you have an employment opportunity you need posted and filled, there is a website we’d like to share with you. We found it because some of our friends were looking for new employment and they showed it to us. We liked it and thought we would share it.

find a casino jobThe site is CasinoCareers.com

Casino Careers, LLC was established in 1998 as a Job Board dba Casino Careers Online by a management team with experience in the casino-gaming/hospitality industry, human resources and marketing.

Since its inception, Casino Careers has provided talent acquisition services to over 700 gaming/hospitality and technology companies, tribal enterprises, regulatory agencies and vendors/suppliers worldwide. We have placed thousands of employees, from entry-level to executive management in every discipline associated with our industry.

Casino Careers, LLC is a privately held Company, whose management team and staff believes that the success of the organization is based upon a commitment to personal customer service and results.

We provide Employers with cost-effective Job Posting, a custom Resume Database search/communiqué program, as well as an Executive Search Division, which provides full service executive placement, as well as an alternative executive sourcing strategy, which offers a more streamlined cost-effective approach.

Job Seekers post a resume for free in Confidential or Open Access format. Those who wish to distinguish their expertise from other candidates may purchase Resume Rewrite services, or an Enhanced Resume, which provides a contemporary layout, with color, a cover letter, and a photo.

Whether you are seeking employees, career opportunities, professional advancement, organizational assessment/training & development consulting services, or information about talent acquisition & management strategies–we are your resource…  2327 Ridgewood Plaza, Suite 205, New Road, Northfield, NJ 08225  Contact Us at 609-813-2333

Raving Insider Party

Fellow ravers and NIGA attendees, you’re invited to the Raving Insider Party! Tuesday, April 3 from 9pm to midnight. At the Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery, San Diego, in the Gaslamp.

401 G Street, 4th Street Entrance

Enjoy a night infused with Cocktails, Cigars & cool conversation!

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.