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Dual-focus campaign honored

John Seelmeyer

It’s a pretty good trick to pull off an advertising campaign that’s equally effective in motivating employees and attracting customers.

A campaign for Reno’s Gold Dust West Casino pulled off the trick so successfully that it was recognized by Global Gaming Business, a trade publication, as one of the 10 best casino promotions of 2002.

Gold Dust West was the only Reno property on the list, which honored two programs in Nevada.

The campaign developed by Art Associates Advertising of Reno included personalized direct-mail, television and newspaper advertising and “mystery shoppers.” Lynne Keller, executive vice president and general manager of Gold Dust West, said a few days ago that last autumn’s campaign enhanced a program that been launched a year earlier at the casino on West Fourth Street.

With its 500 slot machines, Gold Dust West draws some 95 percent of its business from locals.

That’s a market the company woos with customer service.

Security officers, for instance, will help patrons carry packages out to their cars or will accompany customers to the parking lot after dark.

Because that’s the keystone of the casino’s approach, the decision to build a campaign around customer service tying it to National Customer Service Week in mid-October was easy.

But a customer- service campaign that fails to deliver on its promises is dangerous.

“We need to make sure our best foot is forward all the time,” Keller said.

Part of the campaign, then, included a survey of members of the casino’s slotplayers club, asking them to grade customer service at Gold Dust West and inviting them to nominate employees for recognition.

The 9,000-piece mailing drew 2,500 responses.

More than 40 employees were selected from the property’s staff for recognition.

They received $100 and were honored at a VIP party.

The team at Art Associates Advertising, meanwhile, focused the creative side of the advertising on casino employees.

Print and television ads were dominated by employees’ faces and pounded home the message about customer service.

Martin Amba of Art Associates said the agency hoped that the advertising message would reinforce the message to employees about customer-service standards.

“This campaign was just as much internal as external,” Amba said.

The message about customer service, Keller said, is one that employees hear almost constantly.

“It’s an everyday battle,” she said, starting with a day-and-a-half orientation for new employees that heavily emphasizes the need for exceptional levels of service.

The payoff, she said, has been seen in the bottom line.

Gold Dust West is owned by Colorado-based Jacobs Entertainment, which said the Reno property’s net revenue totaled $4.93 million in this year’s first quarter compared with $4.66 million in the first quarter of 2002.

Expenses, meanwhile, rose more slowly in the first quarter to $3.52 million compared with $3.49 million a year ago.

“We tend to buck the trend in this town,” Keller said.


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