Dale Scott Marion
Dale Scott Marion
Within the casino industry, the science ofmarketing—or rather, the attempt to convert marketing into a science, quantifiable by design and predictable by outcome—is the principal goal of all gaming executives.

That science extends to everything a patron sees, hears and plays: From the constellation of neon lights and heavily oxygenated air to the erasure of time (because of the absence of clocks) to the auditory and visual sensations, which, when combined with the sounds of winning slot machines, the arias of Venetian gondoliers and the orange-red skyline of the desert or the green-gray waters of the Atlantic or the molasses brown of the Mississippi, keeps people playing.

Getting those individuals to enter your hotel or casino, or to walk aboard your riverboat or cruise ship, is the focus of billions of dollars in advertisements, promotions, complimentary trips and a seemingly endless supply of drinks and meals. And, if the house may always win, its margins continue to narrow as marketing becomes more and more expensive. Transforming these diminishing returns into a less costly—and more profitable—enterprise must be a priority for gaming executives.

As the Founder of The SpareCash application for Android and iOS, I write these words from experience; I present this advice based on the many ways mobile technology continues to revolutionize marketing in general and the gaming industry in particular.

More importantly, I encourage marketers to create a game out of the one thing no one will refuse to pursue and every party will seek to acquire: free money. By designating specific areas of a casino, where executives want to increase revenues, draw more players or expand the popularity of certain attractions, and by placing caches (of digital cash) in those respective spots, marketing then becomes more lucrative (to players) and more scientific (to gaming professionals).

This experiential type of marketing, which takes a patron on an adventure and transfers free money to that person’s smartphone, allows a gamer to absorb a casino in its entirety; to see the ornate lobby, spiral escalators and Roman emperor who summons us from the Strip.

The trump card, so to speak, to this scientific style of marketing allows executives to see, in real time, the number and location of participants, the success of a given campaign and the different outcomes (or degrees of involvement among gamers) associated with changing the place where each cache is positioned. This intelligence is immediate and instantly measurable.

Compare this scenario with a conventional focus group, run by veteran marketers or consultants, which is, with due respect to my friends who still believe in this exercise, an overpriced session of complaints and white noise. For—no matter how many dials, knobs and needles marketers use to record responses to hypothetical incentives—these printouts, which read like an electrocardiogram gone haywire, are just another kind of pseudoscience: It has the form of something scientific, but the data is either wrong or misleading.


WHY MOBILE MATTERS

The mobile solution to this marketing challenge engages people; it influences and changes behavior without overt pleas, slogans, coupons or too-good-to-be-true offers, with the requisite fine print made unreadable without a magnifying glass.

The broader point, which is one gaming executives appreciate, is that mobile devices are powerful marketing tools; they are the proverbial divining rods, not to the waters and fountains of a hotel, but to the rivers of digital cash that course through an entire property—exposing patrons to everything that a casino offers, and everything that a destination resort wants to highlight.

With these resources, marketing can become the science gaming executives want and need it to be. Or, to borrow the parlance of the industry itself, marketers now have a winning hand in a game everyone wants to play. Maximizing that opportunity is cause for celebration because it is fun, remunerative, affordable and calculable.