by Steve Karoul
Hi-tech tools for the new casino marketing executive
I may be dating myself, but I remember when the most modern technological
tool for a good casino marketing executive was a good Rolodex card file.
Well, times have changed. There is nothing wrong with the Rolodex. In
fact, I still use one as a back-up to all of my new modern PC computers,
Lap-tops, Notebooks, electronic organizers, etc. Over the past few years
I have become addicted to purchasing the newest, fastest, smallest or
most flexible new technology tools as they come onto the market each year.
Some of my friends think I am crazy and others just scratch their heads
and ask if all of my new technology tools are really necessary. My answer
is always the same, "Yes and No."
The real issue is what do you need to work as efficiently as possible.
To me, a good Casino Marketing Executive needs to constantly be in touch
with his players. I am sure that almost every casino marketing executive
has a mobile telephone today. My previous article on Contact Management
Programs generated some good responses from executives that want to maximize
their potential. Contact management programs on a PC allow you to "manage"
information about your players, their families, their likes and dislikes,
and as much other personal information that you think might be helpful
for the future. We all know that it is impossible to memorize all of these
details. Many casino marketing executives work 25 hours per day and often
travel quite frequently to visit their better players as well as meet
new players. Therefore, many of the details in your Contact Management
Program are very important to you and need to be portable. This leads
us to one of the newest technology tools called PDA's (Personal Digital
To me, this little miracle gadget is a must for any truly organized marketing
or sales executive. You can basically carry all of the critical elements
of your office with you in a miniature computer about the size of a wallet.
There are numerous models available to choose from. For my comparison
test, I contacted the following manufactures: Casio, NEC, 3COM, Philips
and Franklin Electronics. It would be difficult for me to test too many
more and I felt that these five brands offered a pretty good comparison
of most of the features available on the market today. My contact letter
to the manufacturer's stated that I would compare each of the units to
enable our readers to make more objective purchase decisions based upon
their individual needs and preferences. However, the only company that
responded to my request with a two week loaner was 3COM. They shipped
me one of their new Palm III Organizers. Therefore, I will use the Palm
III as my example of what a PDA can do and how it can benefit you in your
casino marketing efforts. I also want to tell you that I was extremely
impressed with the Palm III. I have used many other electronic organizers
over the years and this is one of the best. It offered everything and
more that I would want or need to operate more efficiently.
First, don't let the Palm III's small size fool you. This little unit
is only 4.7" tall by 3.3" wide, weighs 6 oz. (batteries and all) and will
fit in your shirt pocket or purse and is powerful enough to keep you totally
organized no matter where you are or where you go. You can store up to
6,000 of your best players addresses and telephone numbers, 5 years of
appointments, birthdays or anniversaries, 1,500 to do items or personal
reminders for follow up such as who to contact for special casino events,
gaming tournaments, or casino collections, if legally allowed, 1,500 memos
and 200 e-mail messages. With the optional modem and HotSync you can even
retrieve your E-mail from your office PC. By themselves, PDA's are a great
way to keep yourself organized. But their real power lies in how well
they work with your desktop PC. The Palm III allows you to almost instantly
exchange and update information both ways, between your organizer and
your PC. They use HotSync technology. Drop the Palm III into its cradle,
press the HotSync button and you're updated between your PC and your PDA.
Enter the data in your PC and very easily download it to your PDA. The
Palm III even has remote HotSync capability. Therefore, if your secretary
updates your PC for your schedule or new address information or whatever,
you can use their optional PalmPilot Modem to perform HotSync operations
over standard telephone lines, from anywhere your business trip takes
you. You're always updated. You can even synchronize to download your
PC e-mail to your organizer while on a business trip which I found to
be very helpful. Read and write responses at your convenience, then synchronize
again to upload to your PC and send. So your little miracle gadget gives
you a Date Book, Address Book, Mail, To Do List, Memo Pad, Expense Reports,
Calculator, Security, Games and HotSync technology all in your shirt pocket
or purse. The Palm III also has optional software links (sold separately)
to popular Contact Management and E-mail programs as well as being compatible
to Microsoft Outlook Express and other programs. The PalmIII also has
great "search" capabilities to help you find any cross referenced entries
such as appointments, memos, address information, etc. for the same person.
Most of the PDA's offer the same basic functions. Some are compatible
with Windows CE, may have more or less memory, may have voice recording
capabilities, and may have rechargeable batteries or other variances.
However, from my first experience with the 3COM Palm III, I must admit
that I was very impressed with its 2 MB of storage, infrared transfer,
HotSync technology and its many versatile functions. The street prices
average around US $350 to $399. In my opinion, this is a must have tool
along with your GSM mobile phone and satellite pager. My advice is to
take a little time and check out several different models of PDA's to
see which one suits your needs best. Now there is no excuse for not being
able to keep in touch with your players or your office from almost anywhere
at any time for any reason. In fact, you can almost carry all of your
important office information such as betting limits per game, casino comp
policies, bank transfer information, and any other important casino information
that you may need. Remember, if you don't keep in contact with your customers,
your competition will and if you don't have access to correct information
you may lose a very good player unexpectedly. Players expect good marketing
executives to always be prepared to properly answer their questions. After
all, how much detailed information can you really remember in your head.
Date Posted: 30-Jun-1999
STEVE KAROUL is a recognized authority and consultant in the area of international casino marketing as well as an Associate Editor for CASINO WORLD MAGAZINE. Steve covers the Asian markets for CASINO WORLD MAGAZINE in the areas of Travel, Leisure and Gaming. Steve Karoul may now be contacted in the Philippines at Tel. (63-47) 252-1342, Fax 252-1343 or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.