Digital marketing is the most efficient, most measurable and most interactive media tool available to casinos — so why are so many of us ignoring it?
Change is hard. And scary. But if the change looks like a good change, and the upside can be measured, and the change tested and built-up incrementally, then a change that looks good can be a change that is good. I remember when I first started working at my tribe’s casinos as the advertising manager at Grand Casino Hinckley in Minnesota. It was the year after we started sending out direct mail offers. Prior to that we hadn’t done any mail. This was 15 years ago, but I remember those first meetings as a young advertising manager like they were yesterday. What I remember most is the fight our sister property’s ad manager and I had with management to steal back our budgets from the direct marketing team. You see, for the previous 10 months, our advertising had gone dark. No ads, because management and the newly created direct marketing team had stolen away all the advertising dollars to fund this new direct mail concept. And they didn’t want to give us back our advertising budget because the direct mail experiment had been so very successful. Very, very successful. That’s an example of good change. Very good change. There are others and we can all point to them when the industry changed dramatically for the good. All businesses have them game-changing paradigm shift.
Dont believe me? Think I’m jumping the gun? Go look at the stats online (by the way, that I can just say, “Go look at the stats online,” and know that anyone reading this article can immediately, from their smart phone or ipad or computer where, by the way, you are all reading this article right now can access thousands of reference, hours and hours of reading, on the power of digital communications and how it’s changing everything we do in every possible way). There are digital tools you need to leverage, right now. The opportunity is too large.
One example: Facebook. By August of this year, 1 in 7 people on the planet will have a Facebook account. And that doesn’t include China, where Facebook is not now allowed. More people visit Facebook in a day than visit Google. Facebook is more than just a fun toy. It’s an incredibly powerful marketing tool that allows us to target very specific individual demographics including location, age, sex,and a host of “likes” and other affiliations, making it possible to send extremely intelligent targeted messaging to people in your market. This sort of marketing power combined with the number of people using Facebook and how often they use it has never, ever been available to us before. It’s a game-changer that’s transforming the way human beings live and interact with each other, with the brands they buy from, with the world at large. The question you need to ask yourself: Are you using the power of Facebook to grow your business, or are you just posting event updates on your Facebook page. There’s a big difference.
Another example: Re-targeting in online advertising. When you go to sales school they teach you that warm leads are worth infinitely more than a cold-call. The man who walks on the car lot wants to buy. The salesman’s job is to close the car sale. In the digital space, you can choose to buy banner ads on websites with heavy traffic, and truth is there’s a place for that sort of media spend. But there’s more efficient tools, and you should be considering these first, because they are more AND focus your spend on warm leads rather than cold call leads.
Re-Targeting works like this. A potential player/customer comes to visit your website, our technology will place a “cookie” on the player’s browser, thus allowing us to “follow” that player around the internet, placing ads for our casino/entertainment/events in from of that player at a schedule and a rate we choose. 5 times per week? 5 times per month? Our choice. We can set it up so that when people visit our entertainment page the next 5 banner ads they see will be banner ads for our upcoming concerts. They walk on the car lot because they want to buy, and it’s our job to close the sale. A warm lead vs. a cold lead. The fundamentals of the science of sales tells us that we’re going to close a warm lead with 100x more efficiency than a cold lead. Which type of sales lead would you rather spend your online advertising pursuing?
These are just two examples. There are many. Have you ever tested your online SEO (search engine optimization)? SEO is the art/science of “getting found online.” Ever look at how many people in a week search your casino? Search for a casino in your market? Check it out. It’s probably more than you think. Do that. Find out what that number is. (Probably it’s a bunch.) How important is that number? Think about how you find information for yourself. When you travel, how you decide where to stay, or where you’re going to eat when you’re in a new city? You don’t use a phonebook, you use Google. How important is SEO? How many searched a week are you missing out on? Yeah, it’s important.
What is Red Circle most excited about right now? The use of daily deals networks to place new trial use hotel and/or food/play offers in front of players in markets that you don’t normally advertise in this is the thing we’re most excited about right now. Mostly because it’s so very, very efficient for our clients. The quick overview is this: We’re using existing deal networks to place our clients casino deals in front of hundreds of potential users AT NO COST TO THE CASINO. This new social buying tactic, like Facebook, like the re-targeting system, like the science of SEO, allows us to utilize the power of digital/social media to transform our clients’ business through through more efficient, more effective marketing tactics. Example: We organized a deal this winter for a small casino in the far northern Mid-West. We sold more than 800 room nights in a month and a half. All to people 4.5 hours south of their primary advertising market. 800 room nights. No cost. That’s efficient, that’s effective. That’s the power of digital (social buying) marketing.
A word of caution. Just because your casino has a website and a Facebook page doesn’t guarantee you are utilizing the power of these two tools (or accessing any of the other available tools). Find good help. Good help can help you avoid the pit-falls and make sure you maximize the opportunities right away. When my tribe first started direct mail 15 years ago we had good help, and that made all the difference.
Be cautious, but don’t shy away. The paradigm shift is upon us. Jump the change, get ahead of your competition. But do it smart. Measure it. But do it now, before your competitors leave you behind.
This entry was posted on Monday, April 16th, 2012 at 9:44 am 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.