Innovative marketing concepts for the taking

Good marketing concepts tend to bubble up from anywhere, there is no pride in authorship. Bad concepts, on the other hand, can tend to come from a “brilliant” individual who is too invested in his or her own concept.

Good marketing ideas tend to focus on how the customer will experience them and find value in them. Bad ones seem to be stuck on management’s point of view, or worse, on the idea creator’s perspective.

Good notions seem to flow, seem to be thought through from start to finish. Whereas bad marketing ideas seem to center on the “immaculate conception” of the supposed excitement of the idea (“Hey, let’s give away a million dollars!”) and somehow get snarled up in execution.

Good ideas tend to be simpler, bad ones more complex. Good marketing notions are based on solid marketing principles. (“Let’s spend our marketing dollars on the customers who spend their gambling dollars with us.”) Bad ones tend to focus on the principle of making the head honcho happy. Good ones tend to be cheap and easy. Bad ones expensive, and difficult to execute well.

Anyway, thinking about all these differences between good marketing ideas and bad marketing ideas somehow got me noodling on the subject of “Great Marketing Ideas I’ll Probably Never Get To”.

Now understand, past experience strongly suggests that some of these home run marketing notions of mine may well indeed be bad ideas. But what the heck, they’re free. And I’m betting that at least one would kick butt for casinos and the ultimate executors of the winning concept.

So here they are, the best, most innovative casino marketing ideas I’ve got in my “Probably Won’t Get to Them” file:

• Developing a “Raving Certified Casino” concept (kind of like the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval) that uses a variety of objective matrixes (but especially guest and employee feedback) to rate various casino experiences. 

• Building and refining the concept of utilizing the best customers and best employees as “casino hosts” and giving them significant tools to develop new business. 

• Creating a regional consortium of casinos in challenged gaming markets (you should do this, Reno, Atlantic City, and a few other markets), designed for the sole purpose of developing joint marketing activities to drive gaming revenue. 

• Inventing the “Dice Pitcher,” an automated dice-shooting device for craps games, to combat the epidemic of shooters who hold up a game by superstitiously and slowly setting the dice before they toss them. 

• Conceiving a design for a casino customer newsletter that is entirely paid for by advertising from local and regional businesses wanting to reach a casino’s juicy consumer data base. 

• Building a template for a casino promotion whereby each day one customer gets all of their losses back for that day. (Actually, I’ve heard of a casino in Washington exploring this notion.)

• Partnering with a casino management company to create a branded, totally differentiated casino experience (think “Raving Casino”) and taking over distressed gaming properties that have been hammered by competition or the recession. 

• Devising a players club which, besides the normal “stuff,” also has benefits attached to it at hundreds of local businesses.

• Writing a manual for table games executives on how to stop sweating the money. 

• Patenting the “Casino Store” concept, a customized retail operation in which casinos sell all aspects of their products (cards, dice, chips, hurricane glasses, dealer aprons, etc.) in a specially designed retail kiosk on the casino floor. 

• Creating a nationwide charity promotion for tribal casinos on Native American Heritage Day (the day after Thanksgiving), designed to drive significant business to the casinos as well as raise a ton of money for a worthy Native American organization. 

• Building a traveling, packaged New Slot Game Party, sponsored by the major slot manufacturers, where all of the latest and greatest new games are brought to a casino in a mega-event so a property’s best customers can try them and tell management which ones to buy. 

• Making an effective template for a Customer Advisory Board for casinos so that executives can systematically sit down with their best customers and find out how they want these executives to run their casino.

• Developing a “Selling the Casino” training program for all employees, designed specifically to give them the skills to show guests how they can enjoyably spend more entertainment dollars at a casino hotel’s various cash registers. 

• Writing an integrated package of casino signage and communications that stops “Warning” and exudes “Welcoming”.

• Building a “Marketing in a Box” resource for small businesses and franchising it nationally.

• Writing a real casino marketing book that pulls no punches.