Why Your Rural Mail Isn’t Getting to Your Customers

Why Your Rural Mail Might Be In Someone's Truck (Still)

By Lorrie Hellekson, Strategic Raving Partner, Direct Mail and Digital Printing and CEO, CSG Direct 

The United States Post Office delivered 154.2 billion pieces of mail in 2015. That is over 47% of the entire world’s mail volume. Yet, each of us can talk about the mailers we don’t get every day and your players let you know when their offer mailers are late or missing, don’t they?

Recently, we were talking to a representative of a tribal property in New Mexico, when she commented that mail service to some of their very rural customers was often slow and the delay affected the player’s ability to participate in promotions or redeem offers. Given the timetables they operated within, it seemed reasonable that those players should be receiving their mail with plenty of time to react to the offers. So, what’s the deal? Why do some areas deliver so much slower than others?

Well, with 154.2 billion pieces of mail flying around each year, there are likely just as many reasons why a single piece of mail may be slow in reaching its delivery point. I am certain that there are many rural properties out there, both tribal and commercial, that are affected in the same way. So, let’s talk about what we can do as mailers to help ourselves out in the face of such issues.

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Register NOW for Raving’s 20th Marketing and Analytics Conference & Raving NEXT

Registration Open for Raving’s 20th National Indian Gaming Analytics and Marketing Conference & Raving NEXT

January 29 – 31, 2018
Choctaw Casino Resort, Durant, OK

Raving's 20th National Indian Gaming Analytics & Marketing Conference Raving NEXT Conference


Dear Ravers,

If there was ever a year to register for our conference, this would be the one. Even if you attended last year. I know, I know, we say that every year, don’t we? (And we do work hard at making every year fresh as well as an incredible learning and growing experience for you). However, for 2018, we’re pulling out all the stops with a new groundbreaking one-day program, vital topics and new speakers, and a whole lot more to get you and your team motivated and primed with skills for the new year.

One location, two events

First, if you are new to this event, we have two programs that complement each other. Most folks attend both. We start on Monday morning, January 29, with our new one-day pre-program Raving NEXT. That evening we kick off Raving’s 20th National Indian Gaming Analytics and Marketing Conference with a top-notch reception, followed by two more days of learning, with the grand finale on Wednesday night, January 31. Continue reading

Why Data-Driven Decisions are Crucial to Your Performance

Data-Driven Decisions - Why They Are Crucial to Your Performance and Credibility - Part I

By Sarah Procopio Raving Partner, Database Analytics
"You want me to what?" Team members may not say that out loud, but we often think it when asked to make a data-driven decision. With all the talk about analytics software, metrics, and data-driven decision-making, knowing how to sift through all the noise to make the best decisions for your casino and your tribe’s holdings is difficult. The good news is you don’t have to be some sort of mathematical genius to figure it out. In fact, you can even be one of those people who has always been a little scared of numbers (gasp!) and still make better data-driven decisions than even some of the most seasoned casino execs. Those of you who already take this approach, pass this article along to an employee or colleague that could benefit from this information.

First things first … What is data-driven decision making anyway? At the core, it is making a decision that can be backed up with verifiable data. A data-driven decision sounds like this:

“We have 67% fewer covers on Monday in the buffet than our next-slowest day. We lose an average of $32,000 from that outlet every Monday, compared to the other days when we lock in an average profit of $3,700. We also only have 45 people coming to the buffet on Mondays, compared to an average of 300 on the other days—let’s close the buffet on Mondays.”

In contrast, a non-data-driven decision to close the buffet on Mondays would sound like this:

“The buffet doesn’t look very busy on Mondays, and it seems like we have too much staff and not enough guests—let’s close it on Mondays.”

Big difference, right? If your approach to making business recommendations sounds more like the non-data driven decision approach, read on. If you start using data to back the reasons that you think the team should do what you say, you will receive the following benefits:

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Solving the Top 10 Host Issues

The Top 10 Issues Hosts Tell US They Have and What You Can Do About Them

By Raving Partner, Player Development and MarketingJanet Hawk

The funny thing about a casino host’s job … their top complaints haven’t changed much in the last 30 years. See, hosting will always be about relationships. Relationships with our guests, with our fellow teammates and with management. So no matter what technology and communication tools come along, 90% of building a 21st-century host team and resolving those long-term complaints comes from a change to a more targeted and organized approach. 

At Raving’s recent Host Development Conference, fellow Raving Partner, Steve Browne and I tackled those top issues. Here’s a brief list to get you thinking about your own organization (and of course you can call us at any time to discuss these solutions in detail and how they may apply to your unique property):

1. “Call a host-itis”
Complaint: Calling a host for every problem under the sun.
Solution: Develop player problem “chains-of-command” to handle property-wide service issues. Make sure your frontline in each department has the proper training and clear guidelines to handle problems head on. 

2. The free buffet for two
Complaint: Hassling with low-value player comp issues.

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Lessons From The Road: What We Can Learn From Northwest Casinos

Lessons From The Road: What We Can Learn From Northwest Casinos

By Deana Scott, CEO, Raving Consulting Company

As the summer season peaks, according to AAA, more people are on the road than ever before, traveling to their favorite summertime destination. Many of these stops now include Indian gaming resorts.

In June I did a Raving road trip throughout the Northwest, visiting tribal casinos near Seattle, then heading south, through Oregon to Northern California. The impetus was our participation at the Northwest Indian Gaming Conference & Expo, organized by the Washington Indian Gaming Association (WIGA).

Nothing can replace seeing first-hand the challenges and opportunities in Indian country. Many exciting new projects and innovations are happening in the NW, including the Ilani Casino Resort (the photo to the right was taken by my Mom on opening day) operated by the Cowlitz Tribe and servicing the Portland-Vancouver area. It was great to have a chance to catch up with the leaders who now, after 17 years of work and much controversy, have realized their dream of operating a gaming facility.

One of my stops, Muckleshoot Casino, introduced me to the first wireless virtual reality gaming in North America. Raving Strategic Partner Daniel Wood and I teamed up to kill zombies. What a blast – see our video here – and yes, that is me screaming and jumping for my life. You can ask Daniel, the former cop, who won. This is a great example of a property innovating for the future. I also managed to sample beer at the Feather Falls Casino Brewing Company (read our original article here) – what a great story this is.

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How to Effectively Engage in a Crowded Digital Landscape


By Jerry Epstein, Raving Partner and CEO, Engaged Nation

In 2004, the Yankelovich Center for Social Science Research at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) conducted a breakthrough study which showed that 65% of respondents felt that they were being “…bombarded with too much marketing and advertising.” The report went on to state that the average consumer was inundated with between 5,000 and 10,000 marketing messages daily, but could only effectively process 10 to 12.

Thirteen years later, the digital communications landscape has become supersaturated. As consumers tweet, chat, blog, pin, post, snap, tumbl and flick about every imaginable topic, casinos aren’t just competing against other casinos for people’s minds, hearts, and wallets – they’re competing with other forms of digital entertainment.

So, how do modern-day marketers effectively engage and motivate their audience in a crowded digital landscape? It turns out the answer might be a powerful, simple communication strategy that’s been around for centuries. This communication method may have changed names over the years, but “gamification” (the application of typical elements of game playing to other areas of activity) has proven itself to be a highly adaptable and effective motivational tool.

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Can Slot Players Tell If a Machine is “Loose” or “Tight?”


By Dennis Conrad, Dennis Conrad, President and Chief Strategist , Raving Consulting Company

I am not a market researcher, although I think I have a basic understanding of how to ask good questions of the right people and use the information to gain some reasonably valuable insights. But as far as understanding “research jargon” (you know, such terms as “causal relationship,” “confidence level,” “sampling error,”) or even keeping straight the difference between “mean” and “median,” well that’s just not me. I leave that to the Mike Meczka’s and Deb Hilgeman’s of the gaming research world.

Over the past few years, there have been a couple of academic research projects pretending  to shed light on a particularly thorny issue – whether slot players can tell the difference between two otherwise identical slot machines, but where one machine was significantly “looser” than the other. The studies were conducted in two different ways, one was a “simulation” (not real gambling) and the other was a live “casino floor trial,” where two sets of two slot machines were set up side by side for six months to see if players would notice the looser game and begin to gravitate towards it and spend more money on it, since, I guess, it was “better” for them and they could “perceive” it.

I’ll leave it to the professional casino researchers to comment on the validity of these studies, the quality of their “findings,” and the overall research methodology that was used in the study (although I do believe that they were both flawed studies). But I do take great exception to the “implied results” of these “player perception studies,” namely that SLOT PLAYERS COULD NOT TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEEN TWO SLOT MACHINE EXPERIENCES WHERE ONE MACHINE WAS 25% MORE GENEROUS THAN THE OTHER. And the implied corollary was YOU CAN TIGHTEN YOUR SLOTS, MAKE MORE MONEY, AND YOUR PLAYERS WON’T KNOW IT!!!

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How to Realign Your Teams to Drive Incremental Revenue


By Daniel Wood, Strategic Raving Partner, Phone Based Marketing Solutions and VP of Business Development at Engagex 

During a recent project with my five boys (yes, I did say five boys), I quickly learned how making a few tweaks to my youthful team made a huge improvement to something that started off looking like a really bad and inefficient idea.

I was asked by a family member to help reconstruct the deck on the back of her home. The teardown was just like you would expect, hammers and nails flying everywhere, boards being tossed to and fro, and several boys fighting over who is going to do what. After about an hour or two of this, I quickly realized that this project was going to take forever if I didn’t come up with a better solution, and fast.

I rallied the troops and began my “dad speech” of teamwork, helping each other and getting the job done in a timely manner. I noticed that three of the boys worked great with each other but the 5-year-old thought he was bigger and stronger than he really was. The team assignments were made, the 5-year-old was assigned as Dad’s personal helper, along with the 2-year-old. The older of the two held the hammer and the younger held the nails or whatever else he found along the way. My 13-year-old could manage the weight of most of the boards while the 10 and 7-year-old teamed-up to carry the heavy pieces. What started as construction chaos quickly turned to an efficient little construction crew. We had most of the 8’ x 32’ deck removed and loaded on the trailer the first day. That was a proud Dad moment for me; each boy took turns doing their part and ultimately contributed to the greater good of the project.

This family project got me to think about how we were able to untap efficient resources within our small construction crew. Left alone, they were like a group of beavers fighting over a pile of wood, which can be entertaining but not productive. The minor adjustments that were made to our team improved not only our efficiencies but also the attitude of our team.

When I’m not managing this young group of carpenters, my other job is helping casinos drive revenue and results through phone-based marketing.

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Marketing: A Foreign Language to Finance Folks


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

The gap between CFOs and marketing departments is often much wider than it needs to be. The CFO is trying to make sure the operation is making money, and the marketing department just wants to spend it, right? Here are five suggestions to begin to bridge this gap in philosophies!

Marketing as a second language

Marketing is a foreign language to many finance people. The thought of spending money on things that aren’t always tangible is hard for us to handle. We acknowledge the need for marketers and the black magic they use to attract customers. Finance folks just want to make sure the show doesn’t cost more than the revenue it generates. Casinos need good marketing people AND good finance people. Preferably, good people who can work together for the good of the organization rather than being at odds constantly.

Marketing reports; the good, the bad, and …

Good reporting includes more than just revenues and expenses for promotions. Marketing and Finance should discuss in advance the elements to be captured to help paint a complete picture of marketing activities. New or creative methods may be necessary to accumulate the ideal data.

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New Webinar – Solve Key Marketing Problems with Software You Already Own


Solve Key Marketing Problems with Software You Already Own:
Learn How to Calculate Overall Player Value, ROI on Promotions, and More!

Presented by Azam Husain, Strategic Raving Partner, Analytics and Systems Integration Specialist and CEO, Casino Science
Thursday, September 21, 2017
1 p.m. Eastern Time (10 a.m. Pacific Time)
Register By September 19



Webinar Information:

There’s a huge amount of data available for marketers, but when you’ve got a marketing challenge, how do you identify and pull together the data you need for that problem?

And then, how do you put the relevant data in a format that makes it easy to analyze and use to make the right decisions?

Ultimately, many believe investing in a new tool or technology is the answer. And while this may be a reasonable solution in certain situations, most casinos already have what they need to analyze and solve their marketing problems successfully.

In this webinar, we’ll show you how to use Microsoft software to solve common casino marketing problems like these: 

  • How do I get player data from our database and sort it in a way that makes it easy to identify targets for promotions and special events?
  • How do I plot our players on a geographic map so we can target our marketing efforts more effectively?
  • How do I incorporate hotel and F&B revenue with gaming revenue to get a full picture of a player’s value?
  • How do I calculate the ROI on our promotion?
  • How do I create a dashboard so reports don’t have to be run over and over again, and current data can be easily available to others in the organization?

All of these problems can be solved using Microsoft software that you already own (or is free to add) and that’s easy to learn and use.    Continue reading