MARKETING: My latest marketing observations
I have always been opinionated; sometimes even controversial. It has gotten me into trouble a few times, but for the most part, I think it has been a good thing to be outspoken. It’s sort of become my “personal brand.”
I try to be honest when I am being candid in my opinions. I like them to be well thought out and based on solid information and clear thinking. I try not to let my thoughts hurt or offend anyone, but sometimes that is difficult. Especially if certain people fundamentally disagree with me.
One thing I have learned in being outspoken is to quickly admit when I am (or might be) wrong. I realize some industry observers think that I am usually wrong in my perspective and that’s fine, but when I am really wrong, I try not to compound it by being bullheaded.
So with all that in mind, I wanted to share with you all of my latest opinions, beliefs and predictions as they relate to this delightfully screwy business that we call “casino entertainment” (and everyone else calls “gambling”):
• There is an emerging crisis coming in the slot industry with the Gen X and Gen Y generations (and those even younger) and their lack of interest in current slot game offerings.
• Caesars Entertainment’s recent attempt at transitioning from primarily direct mail marketing to an e-mail-based distribution system is a bold move that bears watching by all casino marketers.
• I sense a slow but steady progress occurring in player development departments; turning casino hosts from being “glad handers” to true business development sales professionals.
• I can’t believe the number of “math mistakes” that casinos still routinely make in their operations and marketing, allowing the continued existence of “advantage players” who do nothing but cut into a casino’s bottom line.
• My personal belief is that in 5-10 years, social media marketing tools will be mainstays in the casino marketer’s arsenal, producing important measureable results.
• If you are not aware of what John Acres has been working on, you should be.
• The best management advice I could give anyone is to spend a week at Barona taking notes.
• For someone who thinks it takes 20 years of experience to successfully run a casino, you should take a look at what Choctaw Casinos has accomplished with its homegrown talent.
• If your casino does not participate in the Romero Awards marketing competition, it should. Unless, of course, you are not doing anything worthy of recognition.
•One positive trend I detect in the casino industry: senior managers are spending more time on the casino floor on weekends!
• I’ve had to update this number: I now think the difference between a casino executive and a great casino executive is 20,000 guest interactions.
• You should check out what Seminole Casino – Coconut Creek is doing to create an outrageously fun casino experience.
• The best thing about the new book, Casino Direct Mail, is the notion that casinos should utilize their excess slot capacity to create a trial vehicle for new customers, essentially emulating how airlines leverage their excess seat inventory.
• I am anxiously awaiting the release of David Kranes’ newest book, Crap Dealer.
• It amazes me how consistent the following feedback is from casino customers in focus groups across numerous countries: loosen the machines, be nice to me and show me some value for my play, and fix the environmental issues that annoy me (drafts, smoke, noise, etc.).
• I believe the biggest impact a casino general manager could have on employee morale would be to put on a frontline employee’s uniform and pull an 8-hour shift while wearing it, as a reward to an outstanding worker.
• The “online gaming thing” is coming to the U.S. and I suggest you get ready.
• My newest casino pet peeve: five pillows on my hotel room bed, with none of them being comfortable enough.