HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON DIRECT MAIL

HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON DIRECT MAIL…   BUT DON’T JUST LOOK THERE!Tami Jones

As someone who has spent the better part of the last 20 years working in, around and with casinos regarding direct mail, I am often asked about the best way to cut costs from the direct marketing budget.  So…here’s my top 5 places to check costs.

1.    Re-investment – What percentage of theoretical win are you re-investing in your players?  You must look at your entire re-investment budget to answer this one.  What about special events?  Promotions?  Merchandise awards?  Direct Mail?  Others?  Are you considering all of these?  What are you getting back from your players in tracked play? If you don’t have the tracked play to justify your entire re-investment level, it’s time to make some changes.

2.    Target Audience – Are you mailing to the correct people?  There is a large portion of your database, on the high and low ends of play, that just shouldn’t be included in your regular direct mail loyalty programs.  Need to know who they are?  Call Amy at Raving and she’ll send Nicole Barker out to help you find them.

3.    Inactive Players – Are you going back too far in your database to find “active” players?  You know your property better than anyone else.  Are you a locals casino?  A regional drive-up destination?  A national stop-over?  Define an active player and include only those people in your monthly loyalty program.  Move inactive players into a recovery program and mail to them accordingly.  If you don’t get them back from there, they now become your best prospects.

4.    Mail Piece Type – Are you sending a 12 x 18 self-mailer with 16 coupons, scored, perfed and folded 6 times?  Is that the most cost-effective mail piece for your purpose?  Do you require your players to bring in coupons?  If not, why are you spending the money to print and perf coupons?  Is there a lot of fluff copy and graphic content in your mailers?  If you cut that down, could you accomplish the same outcome with a smaller, easier and less expensive to produce mailer?  If you want to know the answers to these questions, ask your guests.  They’ll tell you, trust me.  Also, ask the opinion of co-workers outside the marketing department, they’ll tell you too!

5.    Liabilities – Do your players earn points? Comps? Freeplay? All of the above?  Cut yourself some slack.  Don’t keep your liabilities hanging out there without an expiration date.  Liabilities affect your budgets.  Keep it manageable.  If they don’t use it, they lose it, but you have to tell them…no secrets!

6.  Bonus Savings –  We are now in the information age, in case you missed it.  We’ve been here a while now.  Hopefully, you are gathering email addresses?  Start using them for people who want you to (sshhh, don’t tell my boss).  You may not be able to eliminate the physical direct mailer altogether, and I don’t believe you should, but you might be able to reduce the quantity somewhat if you have permission from the player.  Whatever the method of delivery, keep the data up-to-date and you will save money by not sending out offers that won’t ever get there.

Near Field Communication in Marketing

Near Field Communication

I really dig Near Field Communication (NFC) and your customers will too!  Instead of scanning a barcode with your phone you wave your phone in front of NFC printed tags or stickers.  People will be looking for these just like they do QR codes today, only much more fun.

NFC tags and stickers are programmable like a flash drive is. They are also reprogrammable or lockable.  With NFC tags, stickers and paper you can do things like:

  • Change the phone settings
    Ringer volume
    Turn Bluetooth on/off
    Turn Wi-Fi on/off
    Set an alarm
  • Join a Wi-Fi network
  • Launch an application
  • Display a message
  • Send a text
  • Open a web-page
  • Show an address or location
  • Social Media, foursquare, facebook, twitter and more

Imagine if your guests waved their phone at your front door when they entered and it automatically signed them onto your Wi-Fi, displayed a welcome message and then logged their trip on foursquare.

You could also provide them with a sticker in their direct mail that displayed their Freeplay offer in a message and set a date on their personal calendar if they let you.  These can be highly personalized but like a USB flash drive it would take time to personalize a bunch of them.

Today NFC is most popular with transferring pictures and business cards between 2 phones.  People are told to ‘bump’ their phones to transfer videos, pictures and contact information.

Tomorrow they might be used everywhere to set entire experiences by turning off peoples ringers as they enter a conference, set alarms, calendars upload course literature, pictures and much more.
As Casino Marketers we can make them more useful than most people.

Casino Technology Conference

I had the pleasure of attending the Casino Technology show last week at the Green Valley Ranch in Las Vegas. I never miss anything casino direct mail or casino technology.

In one of the casino marketing sessions we got into the topic of new emerging technologies that could be used in direct mail marketing. Needless to say, questions were flying and many people don’t immediately understand exactly how they would even apply these technologies.

I can break this down real easy for you, I’m from the future.

As a direct mail and technology nerd I thought I should share with you two cool emerging technologies for casino direct mail in case you missed the conference.  We have already been working with these so feel free afterwards to reach out with questions.

Near Field Communication

I really dig Near Field Communication (NFC) and your customers will too!  Instead of scanning a barcode with your phone you wave your phone in front of NFC printed tags or stickers.  People will be looking for these just like they do QR codes today, only much more fun.

NFC tags and stickers are programmable like a flash drive is. They are also reprogrammable or lockable.  With NFC tags, stickers and paper you can do things like:NFC Sticker

  • Change the phone settings
    Ringer volume
    Turn Bluetooth on/off
    Turn Wi-Fi on/off
    Set an alarm
  • Join a Wi-Fi network
  • Launch an application
  • Display a message
  • Send a text
  • Open a web-page
  • Show an address or location
  • Social Media, foursquare, facebook, twitter and more

Imagine if your guests waved their phone at your front door when they entered and it automatically signed them onto your Wi-Fi, displayed a welcome message and then logged their trip on foursquare.

You could also provide them with a sticker in their direct mail that displayed their Freeplay offer in a message and set a date on their personal calendar if they let you.  These can be highly personalized but like a USB flash drive it would take time to personalize a bunch of them.

Today NFC is most popular with transferring pictures and business cards between 2 phones.  People are told to ‘bump’ their phones to transfer videos, pictures and contact information.

Tomorrow they might be used everywhere to set entire experiences by turning off peoples ringers as they enter a conference, set alarms, calendars upload course literature, pictures and much more.
As Casino Marketers we can make them more useful than most people.

Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) is a new image recognition protocol that can launch a mobile device to your website, social site, search tool or shopping system.  Think of the QR Code and how you use it now.  Well that ugly black QR Barcode square is replaced by your logo or any picture you so desire.

Because it can be ANY picture, you usually have to tell people to scan the picture in some way. Where the QR barcode was obvious, augmented reality is not obvious unless you make it that way.

Augmented Reality is very cool and it will be trendy in the future so don’t be afraid to play with it!  Creative marketers always find a fun way to use these special interactive ideas with their guests. You can do anything with augmented reality that you could with a QR barcode and the future is bright in image recognition with cell phones.

In Conclusion

Near Field Communication (NFC) is a programmable sticker or paper to wave with your phone. Augmented Reality (AR) is a programmable image that works much like a Quick Response (QR) barcode.

Both of these are geared around your customers with smartphones. Smartphone user adoption rates are booming so there are lots of ways to have fun with these without spending a fortune.

Casino Triggered Automated Marketing

Everyone in the casino industry has struggled with new player signup bounceback mailers.

  • Can we send them something to bring them back?
  • How soon do we send them something?
  • How many man-hours can we spend on this each week?

Everyone wants to mail them daily but doing so is a distraction for your marketing department when you are short-staffed and have 1000 other things to get done.  So most casinos try and make sure they send them every 2 weeks or monthly.

Sadly, many casinos don’t mail them at all and lose the “Welcome to our Party” opportunity.

This is where Marketing Automation comes in

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

We setup a small data transfer every morning from your player database to our data center and your personalized direct mail art merges with your data and prints automatically on one of our 9 Digital Presses.  We then cut, fold, insert and apply postage and your new member mailers go out every single day.

You also receive an email summary each morning via email of how many pieces were mailed with an opportunity to review the variables used in your mailer.  Records are cleaned and compared to the US Postal Service for accuracy as well as to make them look better in your mailer.

This is an easy service to setup and you can focus your time and energy on your more complex promotions where you need to be focused.

Once you have New Members automated, think of all the other “holes” in a marketing program we can automate.  Our automation works great for:

  • New Members
  • Birthdays
  • Inactives breaking trip frequency
  • Increased or declining play offers
  • Much Much More…

Letters, Postcards and Emails

We offer 4 different automation mailer sizes:

  • 6×9 Full Color Variable 4/4 Postcards
  • 6×11 Full Color Variable 4/4 Postcards
  • 8.5×11 Full Color Variable 4/0 Letters and Envelopes
  • 8.5×14 Full Color Variable 4/0 Letters and Envelopes

We offer email triggered marketing as an add-on to any one of these too.

Variable Print, Variable Offers, Variable Images, Variable Envelopes

Nobody out-variables CSG Direct so we make this VERY EASY to be VERY Personalized.  If you have 4 letters for 4 tiers or different offers for non-locals vs locals… We build that in.

If you want Blackjack players to receive blackjack images and Keno people to get pictures of Keno, slots, etc..  We build that in.  At only $485 1-time setup this is maybe the biggest no-brainer in casino marketing.

Personalized Envelopes???  That’s impossible!  Right?

Something truly unique that our programs offer is full-color variable envelopes. This means we print your letterhead and envelopes on the fly with your offers and you can do variable tag lines and variable images, return addresses and more in the same program.

Do you want a picture of your players club card with their names on it on the front of an envelope in daily mailings of 1 piece to 500?  That’s what people come to CSG Direct Mail for…  The Good Stuff, Cheap.

All kinds of great casino services and innovations are coming out of Nevada from CSG Direct Mail. We are the Largest Digital Printer in Nevada with a reputation for better results.

Reach out to us and tell us about your new member mailers.  We’ll automate them!