When asked how it all started, Papaccio mentions, “We began our journey into the gaming industry exactly 20 years ago. My business partner, Shawn Keep, and I started as a small importer and gift vendor. Today, we are a full-service casino marketing company and trusted partner.” At present, Imagine This runs over a thousand programs annually all-over North America. The beauty of Imagine This’ footprint is that they have an intimate understanding of player behaviors in many demographics.
Since, Imagine This is a data-centric company, they can discover trends and patterns that help clients achieve the most profit possible for the money they invest in the programs. The company puts its money where its mouth is and makes working with them super easy. Papaccio states, “All of our programs are structured to be risk-free for our clients. While that adds a significant financial responsibility to us, we find it makes deciding to work with us much easier.”
Focused on collaboration
Imagine This’ growth has enabled the company to hire top-level casino executives with operations, marketing, and data analytics skills, which add tremendous value and credibility to their company. Since its analytics are used at the highest executive and board levels, especially during fiscal year budgeting and planning, the company has gained access and developed personal relationships with these industry leaders. “Clients appreciate our professionalism and a real focus on their success,” says Brett Byrd, Senior Vice President of Client Acquisition. “As a consequence, it has enabled Imagine This to grow the business even faster. Today, we are referred to other casino operators from CEOs and CFOs to Marketing Executives and Purchasing Managers. Any potential new client has hundreds of testimonials at their fingertips when they want to vet out Imagine This. We have worked extremely hard to build an impeccable reputation. It has paid off big time. Today, we are always on the lookout for top talent to add to our team as our client base expands.”
Adam Bullock, Executive VP of Operations, passionately expresses, “I cannot emphasize enough the importance of building a team with a singular vision. Unlike most sales and marketing companies, Imagine This has built an organization that focuses on collaboration, not internal competition. We have robust communication which helps each member of our company become stronger. Our people know that the more connected each of us becomes, the more it benefits each other. Every person at our company is encouraged and supported to build to the level of success they are willing and able to competently maintain. We understand the importance of balancing work and life. It has evolved to the point where leadership is being displayed by virtually everyone in our organization. It is fun to watch people take the initiative and help others in the process.”
Helping Clients through Data Analytics
According to Craig Perkins, Senior Vice President and Head of the Data Operations division, “We all know the Gaming Industry moves at a fast pace. Casino Operators are always looking for new and innovative ways to engage their players and drive more revenue and profit. From rewards points, free play, gift cards, gas cards, a gift of the month, birthday gifts, hot seat promotions, and more—they work hard to entice gamers. In the process and over the years, casinos have accumulated significant amounts of player data that can be used in a more granular way to drive more effective marketing strategies.
Imagine This recognized data analytics was the key to help sell their Casino Continuity Program® to clients, and thus invested heavily in developing proprietary analytical tools designed to accurately forecast and track promotion performance levels. The company took it a step further and offered their knowledge and processes to their clients for free. Why free? It made it easier for their clients to engage them in learning their processes and see how using Imagine This’ analytics made the program results much stronger, resulting in millions of additional revenue and profit. Their clients saw this unique approach as an immediate added value, positioning Imagine as an invaluable marketing partner.
Imagine This’ proprietary analytics help casino operators get a fully transparent look at each of their promotions’ performance. No other casino marketing company can offer these types of analytics or skill set. Testimonials say such things like, “Imagine This is a competent solution to drive real revenue through data-driven marketing strategies and program implementation.”
Maintaining a Robust Inventory Position
Perkins mentions that initially getting clients to share data was not much of a challenge as soon as they realized what was needed had no player personal information or any other proprietary information that could be used in the wrong hands. “Once our clients realized the data we needed to perform our analytics were completely benign and unusable to anyone outside their property, they openly shared with us. Once they saw our analysis, which showed areas where we could realize more revenue gains and cost savings, they fully embraced us. Our innovative, data-driven marketing programs we introduce are 100 percent risk-free, provable, fully accountable, and transparent. Transparency is crucial as it builds trust in our clients. They can see the recommendations we make to grow the program are based on what is truly more beneficial to their bottom line, and they don’t see us as a vendor just trying to push the product for more sales. In fact, for some of our clients’ we have been able to use the analytics to identify areas of significant cost savings,” says Perkins.
“Analytics not only benefit our clients, but they are also essential for Imagine This to be able to maintain a robust inventory position,” comments Tony Schmidt, Senior Vice President of Inventory Management. “We rotate through over $100 million worth of inventory annually, and that number keeps growing. To accomplish this, the company developed strong CRM tools, so my Inventory Management Team could have immediate communication on all current and forecasted sales. We make our products to ensure quality, convenient packaging, and support demand for each promotion, assuring every player who participates is rewarded. Our forecasting and trend analysis tools are a benefit for not only our clients, but they are also essential for Imagine This to continue its performance record.”
Our unique approach has assuredly driven a 100 percent success rate across all our clients’ businesses, and the testimonials of those successes have given us further momentum to grow and increase our market reach
20 Years and Beyond
The 20th-anniversary marks Imagine This with another record growth year. The company continues to expand its resources both in strong casino experienced personnel, inventory management, and analytics to build its next generation of revenue-driving programs. Achieving a client’s approval to move forward with their program often means winning the trust of their executive team. Their data-driven approach enables prospective clients to see the huge potential of the program while getting a clear understanding of the investment costs, which makes getting their commitment to take the next step an easy decision.
Today, Imagine This has expanded its analytics and testing new strategies with long-standing clients, and latest discoveries in data analysis are proving to be very impactful in increasing results. “We are busting old school assumptions about player loyalty, habits, and other key factors that affect player reinvestment strategies. Our clients are blown away with these discoveries and strategies. It is really fun,” says Jake Vanderlei, Vice President of Client Services. “Clients look at us for much more than our programs. The trust we built coupled with our decades of operator experience, has casino executives asking us for all types of ideas and guidance as it relates to maximizing results. I love helping people, and at Imagine This, we are all given the flexibility to consult and advise. While we don’t charge for these services, the benefit comes from building loyal clients who truly trust in us as a friend and a partner,” says Jake.
Focus on Empowering the Clients
“I have never experienced a company with such passion for their employees and clients,” says Peggy Rogers, Vice President of Client Services. “Imagine This has created not only a team atmosphere, which is how we approach and support each of our clients, but they make a tremendous investment I have not seen anywhere else, including internal training and outside professional training courses. It is incredible,” says Peggy.
Amy French, Controller and a 15-year veteran at Imagine This also raves about the team environment and high morale. “We all are acutely aware of how each of our jobs is vital to delivering a positive experience for our clients. Just like our sales team, we all feel connected by performing our best for each person in our organization and our clients,” she says.
If becoming an asset to the clients is a dream that companies often aspire to achieve, then Imagine This has surely succeeded in the pursuit with the virtue of such competent marketing programs. However, according to Papaccio, the credit behind this achievement also goes to the experienced professionals at his company who weave together ethics, integrity, and industry knowledge. Papaccio and Shawn Keep focus on empowering their team and their clients to achieve great success, and it is this approach that continues to propel the company forward.
Papaccio chuckles, “If you invite us in, be careful! You may find yourself making some great friendships and work with a vendor partner in a way you have never imagined before.”
Imagine This’ program has been revolutionary and immensely successful over the past two decades. In an industry full of robust data, with a large portion of the data untapped, this casino marketing company has turned the tide for the casinos by “focusing on the unfocused part.” Imagine This program impacts every level of gaming—from the food and beverages ordered by the players to its effects on the player’s other behaviors—to include every minor and major data while building a casino’s marketing strategy. “Our unique approach has assuredly driven a 100 percent success rate across all our clients’ businesses, and the testimonials of those successes have given us further momentum to grow and increase our market reach. We have many innovations in the works and are excited to share those with anyone willing to give us a chance,” says Papaccio.
"We have expanded our analytics and testing new strategies with long-standing clients, and our latest discoveries in data analysis are proving to be very impactful in increasing results for our clients"
Having started in the U.S., Imagine This, today, also serves the casino market in Canada and will potentially further its geographical footprint across other parts of the globe.