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.