The Global Gaming Expo is the can’t-miss event for many operators. For casino marketers, it may appear less critical despite the abundance of information gleaned through the education sessions, on the trade-show floor, or even the numerous opportunities to speak to those who see the horizon and are excited to be reaching for it.
Marketing continues to morph into something that would have been unrecognizable in the past.
The evolving importance of social media was signaled to us as operators first (in the early 2000s) from our guests (even when stalwarts were telling more forward-thinking marketers that social was a fad). Today’s changes are happening so quickly that knowing which trends will help us grow our businesses and which are merely distractions is a challenge. Keeping up can be overwhelming, but third-party marketing reports, podcasts and newsletters can help. However, your best source of trends and indicators will always be observing and asking your guests (and team members, for that matter).
Small-scale testing can help you see the vital trends in your market and whether they are meaningful to your database. These are the trends on the casino marketer’s horizon.
The “Youngification” of our Core Customer
The wish we had for the millennial customer to visit us has finally come true, but unfortunately, not all of us were prepared. That doesn’t mean we cannot get up to speed quickly. This younger guest has expectations that our core customers never considered quite as critical. This includes a reliable and strong Wi-Fi signal they can access, the ability to still have a great entertainment experience for a slightly smaller budget, and a way to understand and navigate our properties in a way that does not seem like they have traveled back in time.
New member programs should be reexamined for ease and understanding. Welcome offers can no longer wait for the mail to deliver them. Moreover, we cannot wait six months before deploying due-back communications. This new demographic follows trends, and if you are on the outs, you may just stay there.
Finally, and perhaps, more importantly, our core customers have quickly adopted the habits and desires of their younger counterparts.
Digital Transformation of Advertising
The Mad Men days when a twist of a phrase could create an entire market are long gone. Quickly following might be traditional advertising channels, as brands move some (and in some cases, all) funds to digital media. As these new communication paths prove their effectiveness, general managers no longer have to wonder if advertising works because they can see the results. In addition to reaching large audiences for a relatively low cost per person or impression, these channels allow marketers to test, iterate and improve quickly. More importantly, they will enable us to meet customers where they are.
Digital Engagement With our Facilities
This edition of G2E and the conferences that happened since the 2021 gathering all seemed to have two topics in common—sports betting and cashless.
One of the most significant opportunities marketers have before them now is in the palm of almost everyone’s hand: their phones. Though most would consider “cashless” a new frontier, the 20-year-old ticket-in/ticket-out process could easily have been our first foray into cashless. Cashless, as we have been discussing recently, opens up an entire conversation about how our guests engage with our facilities.
Everi Senior Vice Prsidentof Product Francis Keyser also sees it: “I think cashless has been on the top of everybody’s mind, but that’s only the beginning; it’s only one piece of the pie,” he says. He notes the first thing a customer does when they consider a visit or are curious is to look at your web page. “It’s usually your first touch with them,” he says. He feels operations must have someone who champions the digital experience. Otherwise, we might hold ourselves back from adopting how our customers want to connect with us.
Marketers Must Keep Pivoting
The last few years have accelerated the changes in marketing and how consumers interact with brands. As marketers, we have been pivoting so much that we may form a complete circle soon. Trying new, untested approaches can feel risky, but we must change in response to our market changes and keep up with the trends that further help us understand our guests’ needs and desires.