How Do You Tap Into Your Players’ Passions?


By Nicole Barker, Senior Raving Partner, Database & Loyalty Marketing 


When you tap into passion, technology becomes a vehicle, not an impediment. People of all ages, demographics, and socio-economic backgrounds will find a way to connect, to engage, and to further their exploration if passion is at play. Before you think your patrons aren’t ready to jump online or go mobile, get your knitting cap on.
Let me introduce you to Karen Cross. She’s a knitter and a friend in both quilt guilds that I belong to. She’s in trouble with me. Big trouble. She introduced me to something. It’s all her fault. She was trying to help, but instead, she was my enabler.
Here’s the situation:
I have three tubs of yarn…and I don’t know how to knit. This is a common problem for knitters and quilters. We are like squirrels with nuts – we live to create a stash of materials. We live in a world of abundance of creative intent, but not necessarily the follow-through to gain credibility as artists within our own families.
Karen introduced me to Ravelry. It’s a website. I signed up for an account, built a personal profile, and now spend hours immersed in searching, finding, and chatting with people of like minds. It’s a community of hobbyists with common interests. My personal dilemma: I have yarn that I love, but lack the skills to complete a project. Within this site, I can search for patterns that feature the yarn in my stash. Then, I can narrow the search by style. Behind each post is a person who has completed a project with a link to the pattern she used. I have created a folder of patterns using my yarn. Oddly enough, I narrowed my search by featuring patterns of scarves that have been worn in the Starz drama series Outlander.

Read More

How to Deliver a Winning Experience Through Kiosk Promotions

THE DOS AND DONTS OF KIOSKS - Beware the booby prize

By Nicole Barker, Senior Raving Partner, Database & Loyalty Marketing

I know what you’re thinking. Our customers may very well appreciate a booby prize.

I know you have inventory that you would love to get rid of. Too many keychains? Put it on the prize list. Extra boxes of baseball hats? Add it to the wheel. $5 Free Play? No sweat.

Having kiosks on the floor presents an amazing opportunity to set the odds to “You Win” based upon a real-time set of business rules that categorizes customers in ways we have yet to recognize.

The problem? We focus on weighting winning based upon slot math, not marketing math. We are giving away the booby prize without cringing in horror. In kiosk-based promotions, we get to derive the odds based upon how much we value the customer. Using slot math, we subject the player to odds far beyond the range of their experience. Which do you think the player would prefer?

Read More

Raving Flash! Tidying Up Player Communications

Cleaning Up the Business of Connecting Players To What They Like To Do

 By Nicole Barker, Senior Raving Partner, Database & Loyalty Marketing 

Marie Kondo has taken talk shows, Kindle, and YouTube by storm. From her toddler years through to her adult life, she has been obsessive about the art of tidying. My father’s form of tidying was to align magazines on the coffee table to achieve a look of order. Extraneous items would be "processed": meaning unceremoniously thrown out. As a teenager, I knew I'd lose an item if it were left unattended. Conversely, Kondo’s tidying ethic reaches further. It outlines a means to evaluate what is kept, provides a method of discarding items, introduces a science to folding and putting away, and reveals a refreshing approach to how we acquire and face the results of our excess.

Learning to discard

The first step using the KonMari method is to take everything from the entire house in a given category and spread it out on the floor. Picture pulling all of your coats, jackets, and sweaters from every closet and storage box and spreading them out in one place. Kondo directs her reader to hold each item. If it brings the owner joy, keep it. If there is a hesitation, discard it. Even if there are issues of guilt or potential utility, the item must go if it doesn’t spark an immediate positive reaction.

Think about how this could affect your Direct Marketing program. There is undoubtedly utility in every piece of mail, email, or other entreaty that you prepare and send. However, each piece was most likely created with siloed thinking. You send an offer in the mail. You expect to drive a response. But have you ever evaluated each piece as part of a continuum of customer satisfaction? Does each piece follow a thread of communication and engagement that makes sense? Or, was the item an impulse communication for a short-term result? Per the KonMari method, does each piece give your player joy? 

Practicing respect for your collection of items

Unbeknownst to me, there is a science to folding clothes. Marie Kondo has countless videos online that demonstrate how she insists on putting each shirt, each sock, each pant on end so that she can see all her available choices when she opens a drawer. She takes great pride in the touch and feel of each item. She cherishes everything she has painstakingly decided to keep. It sounds crazy, but she thanks each item as she stows it away at the end of the day. And when the utility of a book or a pair of jeans has come to an end, she thanks it and lets it go.

Read More

Acknowledging Customer Discontent Due to “Shrinkflation”

February 20, 2017

Chocolate and the gaming experience
Acknowledging customer discontent due to “shrinkflation”

Nicole Barker, Raving Partner, Database & Loyalty Marketing

Something happened in early November of last year that really pissed me off …

Toblerone changed its format.
Same box.
Same price.
Less chocolate.

The Brits blamed Brexit.
The chocolatier blamed cocoa prices.
The customers made mutinous remarks.

Mondelez is based in the US and has owned Toblerone since 1990. Mondelez also owns Cadbury, a brand that has made its mark on Easter candy. Toblerone has been around since 1908, so if you haven’t tried the triangle shaped chocolate, you’re missing something. There are little flecks of nougat inside. Commercially speaking, it’s a mass marketed version of its finer Swiss counterparts. In my family, chocolate is worth fighting for. Without a triangular tube of Toblerone in each Christmas stocking, hopes for the next year would crumble. Continue reading

Just Released! January 2017 Solutions Magazine

Your New Raving Solutions Magazine has arrived!

Download/Print the PDF

Check out what’s inside!

From your favorite columnists:

The Five Data Decisions That Can Improve Your Casino ROI – Driving revenue with your data   
Ensure That Your Media Dollars Are Working OvertimeProviding key information about your database to your agency
Why We Should Embrace the New Multi-Generational WorkforceIt’s good business and good for our soul!
How To Create Better TV SpotsTrends, tips and tricks from behind the lens
My Little Wiki List Of Marketing ResearchWhich of these surveys should you be doing, and why?
What Casino Marketers Can Learn From the 2016 ElectionDon’t get caught off guard with inaccurate or ambiguous data
What We Can Learn From the Leading Slot Supplier in Europe – Part II – Q&A with Mike Robinson, International Communications Manager, NOVOMATIC Gaming Industries
Why You Need Both Education and Training for Hosts Combining both skills will get you a host who is a guest service expert and skilled at driving revenue
How To Make Your Casino Resort Top Of Mind A girl’s night out, couples weekend getaways, and just for the fun of it
Ten Myths About Casino Entertainment – Part II – Clearing up misconceptions about your talent program
Championing $100 ADT CustomersSuperhero strategies for Clark Kent customers
Building Better PromotionsPre and post-steps to build into your process
The Best Business Advice I’ve Ever ReceivedWhat I learned from my 9-year-old
How to Progress and Be More Successful in 2017Work resolutions to kick off the New Year
Continue reading

Conference Spotlight – Advanced Marketing Data Sessions This January

October 27, 2016

Taking your expertise to the next level …
Advanced sessions on how to pull, analyze and utlize your data

Earlier this month, we shared 100 reasons (give or take) why you should attend Raving’s 19th Indian Gaming National Marketing Conference and Dennis Conrad’s Casino Promotions Learning & Sharing Event For Highly Motivated Indian Gaming Casino Executives this January 30 – February 1, 2017 at Choctaw Casino Resort, Durant, OK.

You’ll have the opportunity to attend 19 critical sessions (workshops and presentations), as well as our many networking events. Today, we’re focusing on those sessions addressing DATA — how to pull it, how to analyze it and how to utilize it. We know that data is the key to driving marketing decisions.

Check out the following BIG DATA sessions:

Advanced Workshop: How to Pull the Data You Want with Microsoft Technologies – Wanna bet that your casino has an effective BI tool that you’re not using?

Az Husain, Raving Partner, Microsoft and BI Software Training

Today’s modern casino produces an enormous amount of data for marketers to leverage. But like many busy casino marketers, finding the time to build the reports to do the analysis is time-consuming. And many marketers may think they lack the technical skills needed to make sense of all that data. All too often … Continue reading

Just Released! October 2016 Solutions Magazine

raving-solutions-oct2016Your New Raving Solutions Magazine has arrived!

Download/Print the PDF

Check out what’s inside!

From your favorite columnists:

Continue reading

Register Today for the Only Conference Dedicated to Tribal Gaming

Educating Tribal Gaming Executives Since 2001 …
Raving’s 19th Indian Gaming National Marketing Conference
January 30 – February 1, 2017
Choctaw Casino Resort, Durant, OK


Download Conference Brochure
View Online Conference Agenda

Register Today

Dear Ravers,

There’s so much to tell you about our 2017 event so I’m not sure where to start. How about with our luncheon keynote speaker, Notah Begay III?

Join us for: in-depth learning, advanced hands-on workshops, and valuable, intimate networking, all with a Raving twist. The experience is fun, engaging, and interactive, and will leave you exhausted but thoroughly motivated with tools that you can start applying as soon as you get back to your property.

We’ve been in the West for several years. In January, we’re headed to Choctaw Casino Resort, Durant, OK. Our good friends there have a beautiful new facility and are rolling out the red carpet for our attendees. It will be terrific to see many of our clients in Oklahoma and the Midwest, as well as our Western, Northern and Eastern supporters who come with us for a taste of their hospitality.

(Please click on the links below to hear from our team and presenters in their own words about the event and sessions). 

Our two signature events taking place:

Dennis Conrad’s Casino Promotions Learning and Sharing Event for Highly Motivated Indian Gaming Casino Executives ONE-DAY SEMINAR
January 30, 2017

Raving’s 19th Indian Gaming National Marketing Conference
January 30- February 1, 2017

View both agendas here

Yes, we’ve got two programs. We start off the week with our one-day, intensive Dennis Conrad’s Casino Promotions Learning and Sharing Event for Highly Motivated Indian Gaming Casino Executives. Then we head into our long-running, full spectrum Raving’s 19th Indian Gaming National Marketing Conference. We suggest you attend both (they complement each other), or you can choose a single program. Continue reading

Just How Much Should You Reinvest

So you want to know how much to reinvest.
Let’s benchmark those answers using the Magic 8 Ball

Nicole-CMTC-podiumBy Nicole Barker, Raving Partner, Database and Loyalty Marketing Listen to Nicole Live

So you want to know how much to reinvest.

You want a magic number.

I have a confession to make:
I am not a swami.
I do not have a swami license.
I am not swami certified.

I am more of a diplomat, a politician of the worst kind. If you ask me a certain type of question, I will answer as indirectly as possible.

In order to be helpful, I need to start carrying a Magic 8 Ball. Here are the top four questions that I get asked in hallways, at lunch, or while washing my hands in the restroom.

1.       What is the best Point Reinvestment?

We agonize over our Coin-in to Point and Point to Free Play ratios. All I can say is that the emotion is at the machine. A player can gauge how much she earns during each session of play. From there it gets a little fuzzy. Most players don’t remember the redemption side when comparing casino benefits.

When it comes to Point Reinvestment
It is decidedly so

2.       What percentage of Theo should be used to set our Comp bucket?

The real question is, who do you want to benefit from the program? Are you looking for a tool for the Hosts to use to control and record their comp writing? Or do you plan for the player to comp themselves as they watch their balance grow? Determining the Comp bucket is usually the last reinvestment decision to be made and the first one to be amended when the property realizes it is in too deep. Most percentages will never give the low-end player a hot dog within a reasonable timeframe. Most percentages won’t cover multiple room nights at full retail for upper middle worth players. The answer is to aim low and do your homework. Be certain of who comps were meant to serve and make them work for that customer. Comps are a layered cost, so be sure the tool is used to drive frequency, spend and loyalty, not a trip to buy a case of soda at the gift shop.

When it comes to CompsContinue reading

Just Released! July 2016 Solutions Magazine

Your New Raving Solutions Magazine has arrived!

Download/Print the PDF

Check out what’s inside!


From your favorite columnists:

And so much more (we know everyone says that, but it’s true!)

What you can expect in every issue:

About the magazine:
This magazine comes out once a quarter and is complimentary.

Not a regular subscriber? Don’t miss any issues of Raving’s Strategic Solutions Magazine. Go here to subscribe to all of our publications (click on the “sign up for our e-newsletters” button). Or email us at [email protected]. Thanks for forwarding on to a friend!

Have you missed an issue? Go here to see all of our publications and download archived copies.

Have an article or topic request? Would you like to submit an article? We want to know! Just email our editor, Christine Faria, or call her at 775-329-7864.