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Expanding Roles in Casino Marketing Departments

Expanding Roles in Casino Marketing Departments

Casinos across the country are faced with the challenge of staying current with modern marketing practices - particularly inbound or digital marketing tactics.

When email marketing first emerged as a viable alternative to direct mail campaigns, it was seen as a quicker, more cost efficient and measurable means to deliver monthly information. It was a matter of clicking “send” to deliver a message to thousands vs. contracting a designer, print shop and mailhouse for distribution. Considering the rising costs of everything from postage to paper, the cost benefit seemed fairly obvious.

However, email marketing has now become mainstream. It’s a component of an industry itself – the inbound marketing or digital marketing industry – and successful campaigns today are much more intricate than before.

Promotional emails today must be more than a few short paragraphs of text. An email sent today may include an image or two, the same coupon offers found in a direct mail campaign, and a link to a landing page or opt-in form built specifically for that particular campaign. All of which involves varied levels of programming and graphic design experience, as well as applicable hosting or software fees.

Suddenly, what was once celebrated for being a more cost friendly solution now involves hiring “specialists” with varied skill sets and obtaining the right talent to develop relevant messages, design the elements and deploy it properly can be challenging.

The Wearer of Many Hats is Usually the Master of None

Many hiring directors mistakenly see “inbound marketing” as one job. There is a fallacy that one “Internet marketing guru” can be hired to effectively carry out that one job. But there are many components to successful inbound marketing that require skills and experience beyond what one person can bring to the table. Far too many companies expect one generally talented and capable employee to be a “wearer of too many hats.”

The rationality behind this very common mistake is simple. For example, in print, a designer may be able to singlehandedly take care of the concept, layout, and typesetting. They can select photos, do mock ups, and prep files for print. They can do this for a wide variety of projects from letterhead, to newsletters, to vehicle wraps, all while acting as project manager and coordinating with a print vendor.

Carrying this over to a technical front is more difficult. Operators on a streamlined budget often expect one person to blog, manage social media posts, build and segment email lists, compose and schedule email or text campaign messages, make basic website changes, edit graphics, and help with SEO to improve Google rank.

While this type of employee is undoubtedly a valuable asset, they also aren’t able to concentrate or master one single aspect of their job. It is highly probable that the quality of each task they carry out will suffer as a result. It will also be increasingly harder for this person to stay on top of the ever evolving, and constantly changing, Internet marketing landscape where Google changes their algorithms every few months and all pre-existing rules are thrown out the window.

The general perception is it’s much more cost efficient to have one person perform all of these tasks. But is it, really? For every task this employee is working to complete, there are five more they haven’t had time to get to yet. This is ultimately delaying progress and doesn’t exactly bode well for a winning inbound marketing strategy.

Here’s an analogy. It may be cost efficient if a pit row at a NASCAR® race had one guy jacking up the racecar, changing all the tires, and fueling the vehicle, but would that be a winning strategy?

Inbound Marketing Is An Industry, Not a Job Title

Inbound marketing tasks that must be carried out on a regular basis include, but are not limited to:

  • High-level marketing and lead generation strategy
  • Creative copywriting for blogs, social media, web content, white papers/e-guides, and e-mail campaigns
  • Social Media branding, engagement, and marketing
  • Search marketing strategy; including paid search and SEO campaigns/analytics
  • Data/system integration – for casinos, gambler/player profiles and hotel/restaurant reservations
  • Use of various software and tools; including automated inbound marketing tools, Google Analytics/Webmaster Tools, and
  • Website design/development; including building, troubleshooting, and managing a website
  • Graphic design support for all campaigns 

It is next to impossible to find one person with all of these disciplines. This is why the most effective inbound marketing is a collaborative team effort. But staffing an entire internal digital marketing team is a costly endeavor for any company. Here’s a breakdown of expected industry salary ranges as of 2014:

Web Content Writer (5+ Years Experience) - $55,000 to $85,000

Digital Marketing Strategist - $70,000 to $110,000

Web Analytics Specialist - $63,000 to $85,000

Web Production Artist - $40,000 to $60,000

SEO/SEM Specialist - $54,000 to $82,000

Interactive Project Manager - $58,000 to $90,000

Database Programmer - $55,000 to $60,000

Even at the lowest salary levels, such a team would add roughly $30,000 per month to a casino operation’s overhead. This means this team would have to quantifiably generate almost $40,000 a month for the casino to achieve ROI. Not to mention the fact that salaries are expected to rise as demand for marketers adept with the Internet and digital marketing drives up salary demands.

This simply isn’t feasible for smaller or less financially stable companies. If this segment is priced out of the market for competent tech-savvy employees, they run the high probability of falling behind when it comes to digital marketing; jeopardizing their lifespan amongst increased competition. Budget cuts to other non-technical casino staff also isn’t an option as that threatens the customer experience on the casino floor.

Outsourcing Isn’t a Dirty Word; It’s Smart Business for Casinos

There is a much more cost efficient way for casinos to stay in the digital marketing game and grow business without adding internal staff, managing an army of freelancers, and dramatically increasing overhead.

Outsourcing a team of inbound marketing specialists allows management to focus on running day-to-day casino operations and promotions. The benefit of having a team of Internet marketing specialists at your disposal is a godsend to any casino.

The existing marketing specialist on payroll - you know, the “go-to” person we described earlier that is juggling way too many job tasks and responsibilities, can now act as the project manager and liaison between the executive management and the outsourced Internet marketing team. It’s just a better, smarter, approach to inbound marketing that is much more likely to produce desired results and sustainable growth.

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