Las Vegas Casino Marketing Conference Update

Casino 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.

Posted in Casino Marketing | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Making USPS Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) work for you

Guest Post from Pam Bush from CSG Direct Mail. Pam has been certified by the USPS for mailpiece quality control and she is our in-house Every Door Direct Mail EDDM expert.

How we can make USPS Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) Program work for you!  

EDDM Every Door Direct Mail

Pam Bush EDDM Support

Are you frustrated because you’re trying to use the USPS EDDM Simplified mailing program but find that it really isn’t that simple?  What could be better than a mailing program that costs you less to print and even less to mail?  According to the USPS website, you can even do it yourself.

However, many businesses have tried this approach of doing it themselves and then end up bringing us their mail pieces that have not been printed the right size or on the right paper stock and have been rejected by their local post office when they tried to mail their “simplified EDDM mailing”.  Fortunately for them, we have found ways to salvage their print/mail job and still get it mailed for a reasonable cost.

A simple phone call to CSG Direct in the beginning would lead you in the right direction. As a premier Print and Mail Shop, we specialize in knowing what postal requirements are required for EDDM mailings.  We can design your mail piece, obtain the addresses you need, do the postal paperwork, print the facing slips, all the required bundling and then present them to the post office for you.

We have had many successful EDDM mailings.  One of our local clients printed and mailed out over 75,000 pieces. Their overall cost’s including postage was approximately $20,000.  When their six month direct mail campaign ended, the ROI was $207,000.  Due to their success they have chosen to continue using the EDDM program with CSG Direct, expanding their mailing area to reach even more new clients.  We would like the opportunity to help you try to achieve these same amazing results.

*New ways to reach out to potential clients at a significant cost savings for your business.

*Get postage rates as low as 14.5 cents a piece depending on the mail area.
For postal approved Non-Profit companies: postage is only .07-.122 cents a piece.

*No mailing list purchase costs.

*Mail only to the zip codes or carrier routes YOU choose.

*Your mail pieces will go directly to the carriers and not have to go through postal machinery.
This allows for quicker delivery & a cleaner looking mail piece when it reaches its recipient.

This program works well for large corporate companies and as well for the Mom & Pop corner store/business.  We can help make the USPS Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) Program work for you.  We’re here to help!

Call me at 1-800-881-2150 ext 36 and I’ll walk you through the whole program.

Pam Bush
CSG Direct Mail

Posted in Casino Direct Mail, Casino Marketing, Direct Mail Services, Direct Mailing | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Compete with igaming, bring on the nerds

Bring on the nerds
To compete with igaming you need to “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 is 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.

Posted in Casino Direct Mail, Casino Direct Marketing, Casino Marketing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Average Casino Database is only 76.5% deliverable

On a typical monthly casino mailing, that’s up to $3,500 in cash gets flushed down the drain.

Not sure how deliverable your casino database is? Let’s make you the hero with your CFO this month, and save you some money on your next mailing.

First, how did I come up with the number above?

Printing for 30K                  $0.18 each
Postage for 30K                 $0.26 each
Mailing Services                 $0.06 each
Average Cost Per Piece   $0.50 each

Second, where did I get the 76.5% number from?

Direct Mail Deliverability

Third, the ugly truth
Multiply total cost per piece (.50 X 7,050) times the 23.5% that did not get delivered. This is how much money you can then be flushing down the drain that month: $3,525, which totals to $42,300 per year. This is high-value, low-hanging fruit.

Finally, the SOLUTION (and you become the HERO)

How hard is it to clean up your database BEFORE you mail? Not hard at all. As a start, you need to enlist your direct mail provider by cleaning up your database through NCOA quarterly updating. Seventeen percent (17%) of the US moves each year. The real trick is to get that data back into your player tracking system.

How much your direct mail provider will charge you for this always depends on the size of your database and if you want it uploaded back in to your system. It can typically range from $80-$1,800.

While they are scrubbing your list, have them run an off-property “near-duplicate” report to help you find the Mikes, Michaels, and other obvious duplicates.

Bonus ways to save even more

The 76.5% number above just includes errors in your address database. It does not take into consideration internal database maintenance practices you can be doing now:

Return mail
Appropriately code all returned mail in your database so that you don’t continue to mail and waste resources. Make efforts internally to get correct information.

NO MAIL requests
ALWAYS respect your guests’ requests to be removed from your marketing distributions. THEY WILL STILL PLAY!

86’d client lists
You don’t want them in your property. DON’T INVITE THEM! Code your database appropriately. You can always change it if you have made amends with the previously barred guest.

Duplicate accounts
Install procedures at point of intake to make sure duplicate accounts are not added. Ask questions …
~   Ask if they have ever visited before.
~   Ask if they have ever had a club card before.
~   If the same name appears, check the DOB.
~   If the same name and DOB appear, ask if they have recently moved.

Linked accounts
Two people living in the same household may share one disposable income. Do they get separate offers or one offer together? Establish a policy and make it clearly known. Don’t waste resources — make a plan that works for your guests.
Bottom line, be sure you are not flushing money down the drain, when the “fix” is pretty simple.

Posted in Casino Direct Mail, Casino Direct Marketing, Casino Marketing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Quality Control, Your life depends on it!

quality control paperwork at CSG direct mailQuality Control 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

Posted in Direct Mailing, Variable Data Printing | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

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.

Posted in Casino Direct Mail, Casino Direct Marketing, Casino Marketing, Database Marketing | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

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.

Posted in Direct Mail Services, Direct Mailing, Variable Data Printing | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

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.

Posted in Casino Direct Mail, Casino Direct Marketing, Casino Marketing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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! 

Posted in Database Marketing, Variable Data Printing | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Casino Direct Mail, Direct Mail Services, Direct Mailing, US Mail Tracking | Leave a comment