The State of Direct Mail

Despite increasing costs and new technology, it’s still a casino marketer’s bread and butter

I know I’m a little late, but keeping in the spirit of the State of the Union address, I can confidently say that the State of Direct Mail is STRONG.

According to Raving’s 2nd Annual Indian Gaming National Marketing Survey released this past February, 44% of casinos are increasing Direct Mail this year, and 88% of survey respondents said that Direct Mail is the most effective way to communicate with existing customers.

This may seem like a pretty bold statement to make, given the prolific integration of technology and digital advertising into every single nook and cranny of our lives, but it is true. Many marketing companies have spent a LOT of money trying to find out why. The answer they have found? Direct mail is REAL. You can hold it, touch it, turn it over in your hands, open it, close it, set it down for a day or two and easily find it again, and do the same thing all over again. It is tried and true and has been around forever, like an old friend. You can count on it. Why else would over 80% of us check our postal mailboxes at least twice per week?

While it is true that direct mail is alive and well, we must still be mindful of the times in which we live

Digital technology can no longer be denied, so you need to incorporate the technology into the mix of your overall direct marketing strategies and use all of the communication channels to reinforce your messages and increase your overall ROI. While even millennials like direct mail, they will go to a mobile device to redeem an offer they received in the mail. So, provide them with a personalized landing page (PURL) or QR code on the mailer to use to redeem the offer that you have tailored just for them.

The age-old marketing and advertising principle of making sure that your customers are engaged by multiple touches to reinforce your message is still true today. One direct mailer to a player may not convince them to come to your event, but a direct mailer preceded and/or followed by an email or phone call letting them know that it’s coming or reminding them that there are still available seats, followed by a personal phone call from a host, will do wonders.

Direct mail is a challenging and costly medium within your marketing arsenal, and you have to be aware of the ever-changing costs involved

Postage went up this past January, and there are no indications that it won’t continue to go up every year for the foreseeable future. That having been said, the US Postal Service is still the LEAST expensive postal system on the planet. If you want to know how to keep the costs in check, it is simple. KEEP USING THE POSTAL SYSTEM. As we have migrated to online bill pay, online invoicing and paperless statements, postal costs have continued to rise in order to counter the drops in revenue. Just like every other business in America, the United States Postal Service is a slave to the principle of supply and demand. But it is the only legal monopoly, which means that it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Be mindful, too, that the industry has been made aware that the cost of paper will be going up as the year goes on as well. Trade issues with the markets that supply US with a large amount of the least expensive papers have forced US paper companies to source more expensive markets in order to meet demands. These increases are not huge in the big picture, but we all know that once costs go up, they aren’t likely to come down. Be sure to plan for this in your budgets going forward. The cost increases will be incremental over time.

How do you counter these increasing costs? Take care of your most valuable asset, your database, and be sure that you are targeting the right people with the right offers. Support your direct mail with less expensive digital channel marketing tools, and keep your messaging simple and consistent.

Tami Jones 7 Articles