GUEST COLUMN: Operations and marketing must unite
September 23, 2011
Why an article about system technology authored by a marketer you ask? In most organizations, marketing and operations not only function in two different lands…at times they exist on two different planets. I’ve been guilty of residing in my own little world, yet I’m pleased to say that I have ventured out. In the past this separation hasn’t been too costly as operations and marketing divisions have very specific roles and objectives and very specialized individuals to fill those roles.
I see this dynamic changing drastically in the very near future for three reasons:
• Our customer is evolving and insisting on bigger, better, brighter stimulation on the slot floor as their non-casino options have eclipsed older product offerings.
• Our customer is being lured by simple, easily achieved loyalty program bonuses for everything from credit card cash-back rewards to lucrative drug store tiered discounts, meaning our players club points based rewards systems are being held up to higher standards than in the past.
• We have fewer resources and higher expectations for both increased market share and slot revenue.
Operations and marketing must unite.
We still offer the one thing that our customer cannot get anywhere else and that is real-time, risk/reward entertainment in a provocative environment. Our mission is to keep our customers on our devices for extended periods of time and ensure that ours is the casino of choice on their next visit.
We now have access to technology that allows us to provide amplified marketing rewards to our customers based on countless triggers in real-time. This can all be done right on the slot games’ screens during active customer sessions, resulting in intelligent rewarding, increased time on device and the bona fide perception of ‘winning more’ on our casino’s slot floor.
With new slot connectivity and cabinet feature flexibility, there are almost no limits to how we can interact with our customers at their favorite games during active play. Imagine being able to reward quick wins/losses right at the machine based on your custom criteria settings. What about custom branded, game-in-game, tournaments that run simultaneously with active slot play and may be triggered throughout the whole casino or to 20 top-tier customers? How would you like to distribute expiring entertainment, food & beverage or hotel inventory to choice customers while they are on your floor with pre-set triggers based on specific criteria? Finally, what could you do with the data compiled from slot performance and customer behavior in real-time, with reports customized to your specific wants and needs? What did you do before you had a smartphone? You will be asking the same question once you are reaping the benefits of the integrated casino floor.
Here’s some simple questions you should ask yourself if you have yet to integrate this new technology in your operation.
• What can your system do and are you making the most of its capabilities?
• Is your data accurate, do you analyze it in a timely manner and do you circulate the results effectively to make informed decisions?
• Do you have the teams in place to administer your technology?
• Do you have the infrastructure in place to drive your technology?
• What is your competitor using?
My advice is to have a summit of your decision makers. Expand this list to include divisions absent in the past. Pose these questions to this newly integrated group in a neutral, open-minded environment and I assure you, you will come away with fundamental information for both improving your current processes and preparing your organization for the future.
• Scrutinize your workforce and remember to use forward-thinking measures. You may have the correct individuals in incorrect roles.
• Examine your technology infrastructure from hardware to software and everything in-between
• Bring your system vendors in and re-assess your organization’s wants and needs.
• Establish practical timelines and roadmaps for your entire organization as relates to your system technology.
Kudos to those organizations that already have these processes in place, I’m speaking to the choir when I say that your operation runs very smoothly and you are more often than not, ahead of your competitors. Super-kudos to organizations that embark on the steps above toward effective integration. Regardless of the outcome; you will bring about positive change, improve role satisfaction and get a jump on competitors who are still operating in ‘separate worlds.’ SM