It doesn’t seem wrong enough to be THAT important, so you allow it to continue. And besides, it’s what you’ve always done, and because of that, because it’s always been that way, it’s easy to just ignore what’s wrong about it. Everyone is comfortable with what we’ve been doing. Change is… kinda scary. Change feels like a risk, and risk implies danger. Better to just stay the course. Safer to stay the course, right?
Bad advertising is something you need to shake off and put behind you, period. It’s undermining your casino’s ability to truly maximize revenues. Think I’m kidding? What if I told you 75% of your direct mail offers weren’t making it to the mailboxes of your players? The mail just wasn’t getting there. You’d flip out, right ? You’d call a meeting with all the directors and VP’s and you’d spend all night and the next day working on a solution. Your organization’s legal team would go without sleep until it was resolved. The whole management team would be calling hourly asking for updates.
And yet, if your casino is producing the sort of typical casino advertising that 75% of casinos produce — the sort of “hey, we’re a casino! Look at our slot machines and table food!” commercial-as-video-brochure, a commercial that is 90% the same as every other casino in your market (same sort of images, same sort of music, same selling message, same content) — if that’s what your casino is putting into the market, then I can tell you that 75% of your ads are failing to make it to your audience’s brain. You are still paying for it, full-rate even, but it’s not getting there. How much is your advertising and media budget? Are you going to flip out now? You should.
You can’t think about advertising the same way you think about database marketing. Database marketing is a very simple math equation. Give a player X dollars, and — if you’re reading your historical data correctly, and giving the right offer to the right player — you’ll pretty much know the percentage/chance that player will come back in the door and spend Y dollars. That’s the math of database marketing. You can know a head of the time what’s going to happen when you send that offer out the door. Low risk, tightly controlled, planned marketing (if you’re reading your data correctly). But advertising math doesn’t work that way. It’s not a game of small increments. Trying to create an advertising campaign that’s the same, but just a little bit better than the competition is a formula for failure.
Remember, the purpose of advertising is to 1.) capture the attention of your audience, 2.) clearly define your casino’s value proposition in comparison to the other casino’s in the market — i.e. give the audience a reason to want to visit you rather than another local casino, and 3.) make them feel something. Really feel something.
If you are making advertising that looks like “typical casino advertising,” which is what most casinos do, then you are not standing out and being noticed. The average American sees 3,000 ad images a day. That’s a lot. And is you’re making ads that — for the most part — blend in with other casinos in your market, are you capturing the attention of your audience? Probably not. If they aren’t noticing the ads, they aren’t learning about what’s special and different about your casino. And they definitely aren’t FEELING your selling message.
So what can you do to make sure your brand advertising stands out, gets noticed and creates real, meaningful feelings in your audience?
1.) Break the current set of habits. Do things differently. If you have had the same agency for a long time, then get a new one. If you’re doing it yourself, then go buy some help (agency’s will do short-term projects). But whatever you do, don’t do what you’ve been doing.
2.) Look around you. Whatever your competition is doing, don’t do that. Avoid looking/sounding like the other casinos.
3.) Take chances. Being safe is good in many areas of business — but not in advertising. Safe seldom collects the attention you require to break your message out into the open. Take a risk. Try to stretch the norm.
4.) Kick the executives out of the room. The VP of slot operations should NOT have a say in the brand advertising decision. Period. Marketing directors shouldn’t tell slot directors what machines to buy, and slot directors shouldn’t tell marketing directors what the ads should say.
These ideas/changes will help. And if you’re afraid, call someone that’s done it before. There are many good resources (and many bad, so be careful). But most of all, break the bad habits.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 17th, 2012 at 2:53 pm and is filed under advertising, marketing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.