MRI Blog
Is Your Sideshow the Main Event?


Posted on Feb 4, 2016 in Casino Marketing Comments

At what point did your casino become a side-attraction instead of the main event? When did free play, monthly promos, giveaways, and recycled themes become the main event? It is time to start selling the emotional experience that makes your regional or local casino the main attraction.

Defining the Main Ring for Each Type of Gambler

Marketing should always be about targeting the correct gambler. Casino-goers can be described by one of three categories: Dedicated Escapists, Reward Seekers, and Recognition Driven Players.

Dedicated Escapists

These players are interested in getting away from the everyday norm. They want to escape from the week's challenges and escape to a casino, where they can relax before returning refreshed to their homes. Whether it is for an afternoon or a weekend, they want a simple getaway that is hassle free and meets their gambling needs. None of the flair, but all of the good customer services and basic respect that they have come to expect.

Take a page from Las Vegas' playbook and always remember to offer beverages to your casino's group of dedicated escapists. The Strip's beverage sales have risen 82 percent in the past decade, making it a profitable marketing tactic for any casino. Know your customer, and recognize that the dedicated escapists could probably use a good drink while they play.

Reward Seekers

If we were into finger pointing, we would target the reward seekers as the reason that the casino is no longer the main event. A reward seeker is someone who has little or no casino brand loyalty. They simply travel to whatever casino is offering the best reward or cheapest deal.

Recognition Driven Players

As the name implies, these are the bread and butter of your casino; they are the true gambling enthusiasts. To sell to this crowd, you must offer a positive emotional experience rather than the tired tagline of "New monthly offering here!" The Gaming Control Board revealed that Las Vegas table games were responsible for more than 50 percent of casino win in 2014. Capitalize on this growth by offering VIP and table game play to your recognition driven players.

Know your target audience and create advertisements that are catered to their specific needs.

Marketing to a True Gambler

We must learn how to sell the casino to a true gambler. What makes them tick? What do they want from a casino experience?

Step 1: Defining characteristics. - True gamblers stick with the casinos where they consistently win. Call it a superstition, call it intuition, or call it like it is - a gambler wants to win, and perhaps more importantly, they want to relish in that win. You can make the win memorable by transforming the whole experience into a positive cycle of emotional reactions. This is achieved when you: make a true gambler feel important, remember their name, serve drinks without being asked, and develop a loyalty program that is catered to their needs. Your casino needs to have an active dialog with the consumers. This dialog must continue after they depart and cements their desire to return for an additional visit.

Step 2: Giving your audience / consumers what they want. - To give your target audience what they want, you must understand a very basic principle: the true gambler is here to play. Make the playing or gambling enjoyable and stay ahead of competitors by promoting your advantages. Keep the machines close together so that they can play more than one at a time. Recognize each player; make them feel special and they will return time and time again. Losing doesn't seem too bad when you know that a drink will be ready and that your meal will be arriving shortly. In essence, a true gambler wants to be treated like an honored guest. First, middle, and last impressions are everything. Think of your casino as a restaurant that wants to receive the coveted Michelin star.

Step 3: Create marketing that works. - If your marketing campaign can easily be swapped with the logo of your competitor, then it is "no good." Remember Steps 1 and 2; your campaign should be uniquely targeted to your intended audience. Own your position and highlight your competitive advantages. Graphics and slogans should be tailored with an individual consumer feel. For example: don't use a generic greeting, when it is just as easy to input the customer's name.

Promotions that Actually Work

At this point in the article, your gears are probably turning as you start to ponder new marketing campaigns. Below are a few tried and true promotions that have been slightly altered to bring the casino experience front and center.

  • Targeted Loyalty Program - Rather than creating only one type of loyalty program, create smaller programs that are highly targeted to specific groups of players. For example, you wouldn't offer the same loyalty program to someone who plays the slot machines as you would to a high-stakes poker player.
  • Tailor Contests to Fit Smaller Groups - Don't run a generic contest and then blast it to your entire player database. Remember, a true gambler wants to feel special. Contests are a great way to make smaller-stakes players feel welcomed at a VIP event. They are also a chance to promote casino loyalty, which can be achieved when the contest plays off of the emotional experience. Learn what makes your casino different, and sell that aspect to your customers.

In conclusion, we urge you to remember that the casino should always be the main attraction. And, as with any big tent event, you want the audience to be comprised of your ideal customers: the true gamblers or recognition enthusiasts.

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