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Let Research Be Your GPS

Let Research Be  Your GPS
Posted on Sep 28, 2018 in Brand Comments

Every branding expert and scholar knows that the four pillars of branding are to identify a brand, build a brand, measure the brand and grow the brand. Oftentimes, they are experts at exercising three out of four of those options, but severely neglect one: measurement. So, I pose to you a quasi-rhetorical question: Can you grow a brand without measuring it? If your answer is yes, then I challenge you to tell me how you measure your success. If you say no, then you probably feel the same pain as any marketer challenged to build and grow a brand going by gut or a P&L. And therein lies the problem.

As marketers, we are charged to drive revenue and market share, but we need guideposts that research can give us. Imagine if you were trying to get from Atlantic City to Las Vegas without a map or any idea of the roads needed to get there. You might make the wrong turns and take weeks instead of days to arrive at your destination. The same applies to branding. You need a map – one that only research can provide.

Here are all the ways market research can make your casino money:

  • Control communications spending to what’s needed to compete effectively
  • Manage brand messages to have maximum impact in all your media
  • Manage customer satisfaction
  • Halt social disaster from disgruntled customers
  • Segment customers by desires and needs to increase profit
  • Understand and improve operating deficits from the customer viewpoint
  • Establish benchmarks for customer satisfaction
  • Monitor your competitors’ performance based upon player behavior and attitudes
  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses relative to competitors, then focus your positioning on your best attributes

For purposes of this blog, let’s examine the first five.

Control Communications Spending

Just like any salesperson, our media friends try to get us to buy their product and a lot of it. Yes, some even use fear tactics such as telling us that our competitors have purchased a “huge summer blitz” or something similar.  We have no idea what our competitors are up to unless we see lost market share, and then it’s too late. To be better marketers, we need to conduct research on not only their marketing spend and market penetration but also on our own media budget and messaging needs. Even if you are midway through this year’s budget, it isn’t too late to understand what’s going on with the balance of your media buy in order to manage your brand messages going forward.

Manage Brand Messages

With brand awareness being the ultimate goal, every marketer needs to understand if and how their message is penetrating the marketplace. Measuring brand messages is critically important to understanding whether your guests, in whom you invest so much for their loyalty, can recognize and recall your brand. You could not possibly answer for your customer, and if you try, you will not be 100% right.

Ask yourself how much you really want to know your guests’ answers to these questions:

  • Have you seen advertising for any casinos in your area?
  • Are the ads compelling?
  • What is the main message? (Hint: See segmentation below.)
  • Where will you return on your next visit and why?

Manage Customer Satisfaction

Your brand’s equity lies solely in the hearts and minds of your guests. It is not who or what you think you are. One way to protect and build that equity is to manage guest satisfaction. And your guests are much more likely to provide accurate information via surveys sent via email. Think about it. If a guest has a great experience while they visited and you survey them as they leave, you will have inflated results. Perhaps they will forget the long line at the rewards booth because they just won a little bit at the machine. Likewise, if they had a poor experience, it is more likely to be inflated in the heat of anger. Surveying your guests within days of their visit will give you an accurate reading to assess how effectively your property does its job creating loyal customers.

Halt Social Disaster

The secondary benefit to consistently surveying our guests’ satisfaction is that it allows us to catch a problem before it becomes bigger. For example, if surveys continually show that guests are dissatisfied with the amount of time it takes to check in or even to claim their prizes, then marketing can move to fix the issue to get the guests onto the floor, into the restaurants or at the show resulting in increased profitability.  We know that customers have a certain threshold for poor service. However, we also know that we can better retain our loyal guests by keeping them happy. No marketer wants to hear about negative experiences on Yelp, Google, Facebook or TripAdvisor. By then, it’s too late and it might cost you too much to win them back.

Segment Customers

By now your property understands that guests come in all shapes and sizes in terms of demographics, psychographics and geographics, but you’ve likely been ignoring or underserving behavioral segmentation. Guests are most loyal and therefore most profitable when you tap into their personal desires, needs and wants. For example:

  1. Those who seek recognition
  2. Those who seek escape
  3. Those who seek reward

What if you understood how to make each of these segments loyal to your brand by appealing to their preferences rather than by age, culture, town, etc. Research can guide you.  Contact us for more information and to start a discussion about your own market research needs.  Without it, you’ve got no GPS. 

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