MARKETING: The Best (and Worst) Raving Promotions
I tried to get out of highlighting and honoring this year’s Best (And Worst) Casino Promotions. I really did. But public demand for my annual list was so strong, that I went to the “well of casino promotions past” and my selections grace/pollute the esteemed pages of Casino Journal once again this year.
But one thing I’ve never done, until now, is share the Best (And Worst) Promotions of my very own company, Raving Consulting. I do it now, with some trepidation, realizing you may think less of Raving for some of the incredibly stupid stuff that we have attempted over the years. But hey, it seemed pretty smart at the time. I should also tell you that “The Worst” Raving endeavors were usually brainstorms of its president-me.
THE BEST• The $1 Apology Letter-early on at Raving, when we did direct mail marketing promoting our services or events, we typically included a “FAXBACK” response form as our “call to action.” But one time, we forgot to include the prominently mentioned FAXBACK sheet with the sales letter. We immediately sent out an apology letter, with the missing form and a crisp one dollar bill as our apology for screwing up. Response rates.
• The Cruise Bonus-after one particularly successful year at Raving, we decided to share the wealth with a bonus that included all of us going on a three-day, two-night Carnival Cruise to the Mexican Riviera. We invited spouses, significant others, Raving business partners, and one very surprised new Raving hire, our VP of business development, whose first week on the job included a pretty cool cruise vacation. We’re all still talking about that one.
• The Raving Insider Party-at the very first international gaming conference that Raving attended (some 13 years ago), we saw the need for a real business building networking event, and not the standard posh “food and drink fests” of that time, that were too crowded, too noisy and ill suited for business discussions. So we held our very first “Raving Insider Party.” Now, some 13 years and dozens of such events later, the Raving Insider Party brand-small, intimate, invitation only, drinks and cigars, and networking with just enough fun-are trade show and conference staples.
• Pick Your Own Title-every team member at Raving has picked their own title for whatever their role is. While we may be heavy on vice presidents and a few titles may sometimes change, I’ve got to feel that somehow this has engendered buy-in and loyalty.
• Answer The Phone On The First Ring-funny, this was never mandated or even discussed, but everyone here just tries to do it. Maybe it’s just a result of hiring people who care.
THE WORST• The Exotic Dancer Photo Fundraiser-right after 9/11, the World Gaming Congress & Expo was still held. Wanting to raise some funds for the International Red Cross, Raving enlisted some exotic dancers (OK, they were strippers, but they were both male and female) to have pictures taken with conference goers willing to make a $5 donation to the Red Cross. The Raving team still gives me grief over that one, not to mention the “charity bumper stickers” we sold as well.
• The “Flea-T” -as a fundraiser for a problem gambling organization, I had an artist create a character called the “Slot Flea,” a real flea image made into a person who played slots. We put the Slot Flea on T-shirts, with the intention of donating the proceeds. We sold none.
• The Employee Weight Loss Benefit-we offered a generous employee wellness bonus, carefully calculated to be fair to all, for certain weight loss goals reached by Raving employees. One Raving exec lost four pounds. I gained weight. Not sure where we screwed that one up.
• The Raving Blinky Buttons-while I loved them (you know, those pulsating, red light lapel buttons with your company’s name and logo on them), the Raving team likes to remind me that I didn’t need to buy 10,000 of them. Plus, the time dozens of them landed at the bottom of the pool at a Raving Insider Party. And they kept blinking. Not the worst thing that could happen, but OK, maybe one of them.