Asking the Right Questions About Variable Printing


By Tami Jones, Strategic Raving Partner, Direct Mail and Director of Sales and Marketing, CSG Direct 

As a savvy marketing director, your goal is to get your variable mailers printed for a competitive price and with a provider that gives you excellent service, right? And the more you know about your printing options, the more you can compare apples to apples on pricing, print time and flexibility from different vendors.

That’s right, you may use a fully digital product (dry toner applied with heat) that takes a blank piece of paper and prints all your variable data and full color graphics in one print pass or you can print a static mailer on an offset press (wet ink on paper) and then come back in a second digital pass to apply your variable offers in specified locations on the mailer.

Which is better, full color digital print or variable laser print on an offset shell? The answer is YES! Both methods create an opportunity for personalization and that is always better in direct mail. Let’s take a look at both options and compare.

Print Quality

Digital Print – Excellent photo-like quality on every piece.

Offset Print – Excellent photo-like quality on every piece.

Cost Comparison

Digital Print – Typically lower in cost at low and mid-range quantities due to fixed cost of clicks at all quantities. The reduction in cost per piece at high quantities may be lost.

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Raving’s Table Games Audit and Review

We know you are losing money in the pit … let’s fix it

We’ve all heard it, “table games are coming back!” Yet, reinvestment has been slow – if not reluctant in most jurisdictions – as most casinos are still LOSING money in the pit. And that resurgence? Not exactly as hoped for. If there’s such interest, then what’s the deal?

To find the answer takes an incredible amount of time. We understand that most table games directors don’t have the extra hours to dedicate to the type of analysis needed, so we’re here to take this burden off of you.

Just how do we grow our table games product, attract new players, integrate new technology and market to new and existing players more effectively while we’re still struggling to increase revenue and decrease costs?
There is a solution – a seriously deep dive into the “guts” of your table games operation.

This is what we can achieve together:

  • Increase revenue up to 10% of table games performance
  • Achieve up to a 20% savings on the cost of running a pit
  • Create a sustainable, operational, training and marketing model

How does it work? It starts with a Table Games Audit and Review headed by Raving Partner, Kevin Parker. Kevin has transformed pits from as small as four tables to over 90, and managed a team of over 300 dealers. He’s one of those rare table games guys that has extensive operational experience (he’s been in your shoes), and has wide-ranging experience in optimization, technology, training and development. (Yup, he dreams about this stuff at night.) Experience plus 21st century knowhow.

Kevin will perform a detailed review and answer these questions about your pit:

  • Are your games underperforming and why?
  • How do you optimize payroll in the pit? What is impeding your staffing needs?
  • Are you managing your inventory with enough layouts and are you changing the layouts enough?
  • What side bets work best for your property and how can you use them to market your table games and drive additional revenue?
  • Are your team members providing the best guest service?
  • How does your pit compare to your competitors?
  • How do you protect against advantage play? Are your security and surveillance procedures aligned with your game protection?

Kevin will come up with a list of recommendations to get you to your goal or help you solve your problem.

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Seven Tips to Ensure Your Technology Investment Will Pay Off


By Deana Scott, Raving CEO

Keeping up with technology is a time consuming and expensive proposition for most businesses. We are inundated with new software programs, hardware and applications touted as the next big “must have” to improve our operations.

From accounting and human resources systems to security, slots and not to mention the gaming commission, casino organizations are spending a significant portion of their capital budget annually on technology.

Raving recently released the 2nd Annual Indian Gaming National Marketing Survey (request your free copy here), a nationwide study that collected data from more than 60 tribal casinos across the country. The annual study is designed to assess what casino marketers are doing and address the challenges that they face.

According to Dr. Deb Hilgeman, Raving's senior research partner who conducted the survey, technology and data are still priorities with casino marketers. "A significant finding in this year's study is what casinos tell us they are doing with Big Data," she said. "In last year's study, 54% of survey respondents said they weren't sure what they were doing with Big Data, and only 6% reported actively working with it. Those numbers reversed this year, which is a huge leap," reported Dr. Hilgeman. "In our 2017 study, 50% of respondents said they were actively working with Big Data, and only 6% of respondents didn't know what they were doing with it."

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How Big Data Shaped Today’s Casino and Why You Should Care


By Azam Husain, Strategic Raving Partner, Analytics and Systems Integration Specialist and CEO, Casino Science

Recently I spoke at the National Indian Gaming Association’s annual conference. I was a speaker and a moderator on several panel discussions related to analytics and Big Data along with other Ravers, including Raving CEO, Deana Scott. At these events, I'm often asked the question, "Why now? Why is gaming analytics more relevant today than ever before?" We are at the precipice of some of the biggest changes occurring in gaming. So, it’s worthwhile to recount the history of gaming analytics and why casino marketers need to pay attention now.

If you go back into the annals of gaming history, the idea of "Big Data" in casinos may have originated with the measurement of slot play in the late 1960s and early 1970s. As the lore is told, Harrah’s in Reno ran a “Premium Points” promotion as one of the industry’s first player loyalty programs. Harrah’s employees watched players wager on slot machines and issued a paper coupon for every $20 played. Tickets could be exchanged for prizes such as toasters, transistor radios, and televisions.

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What Research Is Your Casino Doing?


By Deb Hilgeman, Ph.D., Senior Raving Partner, Market Research

Raving recently completed the 2nd Annual Indian Gaming National Marketing Survey. One of the objectives of this annual study is to help marketing practitioners understand current practices and to see where their property falls on the spectrum.

For example, a key finding of this year’s study is that 50% of casinos are now actively working with Big Data, compared to only 6% last year; this is a huge shift. Are you in the half that is now using Big Data or are you in the half that hasn’t embraced this yet? If so, you are probably going to be in the minority next year.

One of the questions we asked casinos is to determine what types of research they’re conducting. Overall, more than half of all casinos are doing at least five key types of research: Database Analysis, Competitive Analysis, Guest Satisfaction Surveys, Employee Engagement Surveys and Feedback Surveys. The most often used type of research is Database Analysis, and the least often used is Branding & Awareness.

There were no huge shifts in research patterns year-to-year but there were some changes as noted below:

  • Database analysis: 91% last year to 90% this year so basically unchanged
  • Competitive reviews: Increased from 61% last year to 69% this year
  • Guest satisfaction surveys: Decreased from 79% last year to 69% this year
  • Employee engagement: Increased from 41% last year to 53% this year
  • Branding & awareness: Decreased from 45% last year to 32% this year
  • Focus groups: 41% last year to 44% this year so basically unchanged

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Supporting Indian Gaming – the Raving NIGA Wrap-Up


A star-studded guest list including Notah Begay III, Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr., A.C. Green and tribal leaders and casino executives throughout the country came together for a night of laughter benefiting the NB3 Foundation.

The Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention (NIGA), the largest gathering of tribal leaders and casino executives in the country, was held for the first time in Las Vegas. This provided an opportunity for Raving to hold their 4th Annual Native Strong Comedy Slam at a spectacular venue: The Smith Center.

Myron’s Cabaret Jazz was loud with laughter with over 140 guests. The night kicked off with a heartfelt welcome and message from Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr. of NIGA and Notah Begay III and was followed by Native American comics, Ernie Tsosie, headliner Howie Miller and our long-time event host Larry Omaha. Each year Raving Entertainment Partner, Kell Houston, is tasked with the lineup instructions: must be Native American, incredibly funny, and oh yeah, work for peanuts as this is for a charity event. Once again, he nailed it!

The event benefits the Notah Begay III Foundation and its critical work addressing obesity and type 2 diabetes amongst Native American youth. Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr. announced “The message is clear. We have to have a healthier Native American community. It’s more than just getting away from alcohol, drugs and violence. We have to spread the message that we can do better.”
Raving CEO Deana Scott shared, “The Comedy Slam is where it always comes together for me – there’s nothing like shared laughter. I leave more determined and more connected to why we’re in this business. This event brings together Tribal leaders and gaming executives that are so passionate and dedicated to the success of Indian gaming and to a better future for generations to come. I can’t thank our supporters enough.”

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Mid-Year Alert! Six Ways to Stay Ahead of Your Year-End Audit


By Kevin Huddleston, CPA, CGMA, CFF, Strategic Raving Partner, Accounting and Auditing, and Partner, Finley & Cook

Trees are budding. Grass is turning green again. Spring is in the air. It’s time to start our spring cleaning and yard work to mend things from the effects of winter. This can also be a good time to do the same thing in our financial and operational “house” at the casino. If you have a September 30 fiscal year-end, you’re half way through another year. Now is a good time to do a little catch-up and clean-up before another year-end and audit are upon us. Here are a few things that your team should be doing now to make sure the next year-end and audit go smoothly:

  1. One of the most important things you should do between audits is address the internal control findings from your last audit.Unresolved findings from the MICS Agreed Upon Procedures report and any other internal control deficiencies and material weaknesses noted by the auditors send red flags to gaming commission internal audit staff, the external auditors, and, if unresolved for several years, the NIGC. Make the effort now to clean up the processes and policy documents that gave rise to the findings. You may not be able to resolve all issues before the next audit, but better to be doing something to address them than ignoring them.
  1. Your accounting and finance staff should be reviewing any new standards coming into effect in the current year and determining how they will be addressed from a transaction recording and financial reporting perspective. Why? The accounting standard setting bodies, FASB and GASB, have been fairly active in the past few years. They may require changes to some processes or procedures. They can also change report formats and, in some cases, may necessitate a change in the way some things are done or how contracts are executed. Your team may want to consult with the auditors on how they expect the new standards to be handled.

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Will we see you at NIGA?

We look forward to seeing you next week at NIGA!

Please stop by the Raving booth #927!
Say "hi" to our team and our Raving Partners that will be hanging out with us. Need an exhibit floor pass? Get your free tradeshow floor badge here.

Also visit with our Partners:

Finley & Cook - booth #929
Engaged Nation - booth #250

Mark your calendars for these Raving sessions:

Big Data & Marketing: How The Information Revolution Changed Marketing Forever
Tuesday, April 17, 2:15 PM - 3:00 PM
Presenters: Doug Parker, Raving Partner, Compliance Supervisor, Finley & Cook, Heidi Hamers, Corporate Vice President of Marketing, Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures, Robert Bohn, Director of CRM | Marketing, Chumash Casino Resort, Stuart Kerr, Senior Data Scientist, Pechanga Resort and Casino, Deana Scott, Raving CEO View Session →

Regulating the Relationship: Gaming Commissions and Casino Operation 
Wednesday, April 18, 10:15 AM - 11:15 AM
Presenters: Raving Partners Pam Reynolds, Senior Manager, Finley & Cook, PLLC and Rachel Loudon, Compliance Manager, Finley & Cook, PLLC View Session →

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What Is the Middle Man Costing You?


By Mark Astone, Strategic Raving Partner, Branding, Advertising and Media Services and CEO, Catalyst Marketing Company

It is safe to say you are running some sort of digital advertising as part of your overall advertising plan (if not, maybe we should talk). What I love about digital is it can be highly targeted to your gamers and a gaming audience. The challenge is having someone implement your targeting. Despite the growing prevalence of digital targeted advertising, there are few digital marketers or agencies that do the actual digital media buy.

Across all the different digital advertising facets (SEM, Display, Pre-roll, etc.) many companies source the targeting and ad placement to a third party, including the added-value from your traditional media buys your media agency/team has secured for you. There is always a cost associated with this. I have seen casinos pay $1-3 per click on SEM when utilizing a third-party buyer. Often these casinos aren’t even aware their buy is being routed through a third party. Buying direct can bring the price per click down as low as $0.65. That is a big difference!

This “convenience fee” of having someone else buy your digital media is most certainly going to be taken out of your media (or added-value) budget. As stewards of our clients’ budgets, we are always looking for effective ways to gain market share for our clients while effectively stretching their budgets. Rather than pass and expense through to our clients’ budgets, we want to pass on savings. This is why Catalyst made the conscious decision to work with Demand-Side Platforms (DSP) to buy digital media directly from online advertising exchanges rather than outsource to other vendors.

Besides the obvious issue of the added expense of your digital media buy being outsourced, is the access and reliability of the data. Recently, we were asked to do a data analysis for a casino’s media buy. When we asked them how their website was performing they were quick to boast about how incredible the numbers were; their site visits were significantly higher than they had ever seen. The challenge was, they didn’t know where the site visits were coming from. Once we were able to pull the data from the third-party vendor their agency was using we learned the largest percentage of their new site visits were coming from a state that represented only 1% of their revenue/player database.

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Raving’s Solutions Magazine April 2018 Issue

Your New Raving Strategic Solutions Magazine has arrived!

Check out what's inside!


Will you be attending NIGA? Pick up your free copy of the magazine at our booth (#927) and join us at the fourth annual Native Strong Comedy Slam on April 19 - learn more about this fundraising event on page 20.

From your favorite columnists:

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