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harrah's and mismarketing

so last month i got this promotional deal in the mail from harrah's. it contained various coupons for things like $x off of the buffet where i'll never eat or $x off of a hotel room where i'll never stay.

one of the things that they had in there were two free $10 vouchers for slot play, one that had to be used in the second week of june and one that had to be used in the last week of june. I generally hate slot machines because they're a money-suck with negative EV that i don't control, but i go to the casino once a week to play poker anyway, so just before i left for my vacation i used one of my $10 vouchers before hitting the card table. Played for about fifteen minutes, got to about $12, cashed out, went to play cards.

Today i discovered that this registered in whatever mailing list statistic-data thing that Harrah's has because i received a new coupon book in the mail this morning that started out with "Hi Mendel! Thanks for your recent visit to Harrah's!" and had a whole slew of new coupons - including four $10 vouchers for free slot play, all valid for a week only all through the month of july.

Which is interesting to me because i've been going to Harrah's roughly once a week ever since i moved to New Orleans four years ago. i've used my Rewards Card to register for poker tournaments that entire time and to get perks from the poker table since they implemented that a little over a year ago. I get a resultant mailing from them maybe once every three months with poker related hoo-hah which is to be expected.

Yet the mailing that i got this morning felt like it was being targeted to attract me as if i was a new customer, one that never visits the casino. it also mistargets me as someone who after feeling some initial excitement of winning money at a slot machine using their free voucher is going to eventually be tempted to use my own money and change from the occasional casino-goer to a regular.

Clearly this new data they've gleaned regarding general casino patronage isn't having a conversation with the data they've gleaned regarding my amateur poker career. it's annoying, not because i'm getting useless stuff, but because i feel like they could be doing a better job of analyzing their data. The result of their efforts is that i'm going to be able to exploit it by using the free $10 vouchers whenever i go play cards and try to get lucky with the voucher money given to me. in poker terms, this is called a "leak", and they should know better.

i suppose in the grand scheme of things it amounts to so little that it doesn't actually matter; i'm one of those weird exception cases that slipped through the cracks, and the fact that they happened to target someone who happens to be into data management and analysis and is a pseudo-entrepreneur and likes to look at the big picture of how businesses manage their business isn't the sort of thing they should spend a lot of time and resources catering to.

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