Picking up the pieces from the DM Program

Nick Ippolito initiated a conversation on Linked In about the Direct Mail program and how a Host can get stuck with a guest that is unhappy with their offers.

It is not easy to craft a direct marketing strategy that meets the goal of driving more trips without having bad side effects on some guests. Have you heard of the Law of Unintended Consequences?

In our imaginary world, the Sandy Palace Casino has a simplistic approach and bases offers on ADT (average daily theo) over the last 3 months.

The Consistent Player. Colleen plays every Friday night because that is how she relaxes at the end of her stressful week. She has a budget in mind and plays consistently. Each Friday, her Theo is around 300 so her ADT = 300. The Direct Mail team sends her an offer in hope that she will add an additional trip at 300+. In reality, she takes that free play and uses it next Friday. She won’t ever add a trip.

As a Host, you are unlikely to hear from Colleen about her offers because they are consistent.

The Penalized Player. Robin plays on Fridays and Saturdays with her best friends. She also has a budget in mind and her Theo varies from 300 to 350, so her ADT would be 325, similar to Colleen. However, Robin decides to take her free play offers and her F&B coupons and make an extra trip on Monday and Wednesday evenings on her way home from work. She eats for free, doesn’t play for long because she has to get home and maybe puts an additional $25 into the slots after she has burned through her free play. Robin is now penalized by her behavior because she has dragged down her ADT from 325 to (300+350+25+25) / 4 = 175. In January, she just plays weekends and receives February offers for 300+ ADT. In February, she adds her small trips on Monday and Wednesdays, and her March offers drop because they are based on 175+ ADT.

As a Host, you will hear complaints from Robin because her offers will vary based on her behavior from month to month. As an ethical Host, keeping the casino’s business objectives in mind, should you really coach Robin on how to play ‘to beat the system’?

The Disappointed New Player. Bill is unhappy with the competition and he comes over to try the Sandy Palace. You are assigned to groom Bill because he is a 300+ player. Bill plays for a few weekends and he is pretty happy with his offers based on 300+ ADT. You keep working on building a relationship with Bill and he decides to move his play from the competition to the Sandy Palace. Overall, Bill now brings a lot more total Theo. But, unfortunately, like Robin, this means he is also bringing some smaller trips to your Property and suddenly his offers drop in value and he is mad and threatens to go back to the competition. Especially as the competition now considers Bill to be a ‘fader’ and they will bump their offers up to lure him back.

I believe your role is to share what you hear about specific players so the strategy can be improved but do not present your feedback in a critical way. The relationship between Direct Marketing and Player Development needs to be a constructive give and take.

That said, you can talk to your manager about what you see as the adverse side effects of the program and empower them to speak to the Marketing manager with detailed examples. We are all in this together!

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