The politics of attracting young casino customers
Marcia Rogers (top) and Kim Pieper (bottom) are partners in the firm Political BrinQ, which is the wholly owned political subsidiary of the
online communications firm Digital BrinQ LLC.
Recent presidential campaigns show the value, and power, attracting younger generations to a cause can have on the end results. The lessons learned from such campaigns can be of value to the gaming industry, whether used to ensure political referendums or to bring younger clientele to a property.
For example, Senator Obama won the 2008 presidential race using a strategy that targeted voters in a way that had never been used before in U.S. politics. The huge Obama grassroots on-the-ground campaign machine was driven by the use of smart data, and connecting with voters at their levels of interest. The Obama folks realized that the key to their victory would be to attract support from low-frequency or first-time voters, and then get those voters to the polls.
The 2012 presidential election perplexed the pollsters who believed that former Governor Romney was leading President Obama in the race. Obama’s campaign executives confidently predicted a win and they were right. Obama won with 51 percent of the vote with a turnout of 57.5 percent.
The Obama campaign’s data gathering and voter outreach worked in tandem, and the overwhelming victory was proof that such targeting works and voters responded accordingly. We decided to employ similar techniques to target supporters in gaming referendums, winning each of the seven times we faced the voters. We are now taking the same technology and applying it to the casino customer.
LEARNING FROM THE TRAIL
There is no doubt that casinos take care of their top-tier customers. It is all about relationships, so we’ll leave that tier alone for this piece. It is attracting the younger population to casinos today that is confounding operators and casino marketing strategists. To effectively market your casino to young people, you need to perform research that works and create messages that matter. We would like to share a story of success on the gaming political front that employed many of the techniques that we are confident will work with your customers.
It was 2010, and we had a casino client facing a stiff casino re-licensing referendum. The casino group said they had made a very positive impact in their community, but in the 10 years since their last relicensing vote, there had been some controversies, and they felt their casino had become less important to the community than it had been in the past. They were concerned.
So were we, so we decided to conduct a micro-targeting survey. Micro-targeting goes a step further than traditional polling, and helps assign specific messages to the demographic audience who care deeply about an issue. Not only were we going to find out what messages worked with what groups of voters, we were going to help this casino find out the root cause of the issues, and then develop messages in a new direction, targeted to the voters who cared.
It was an innovative and somewhat risky strategy, but in the end the approach worked. We discovered a resounding concern among potential voters—the desire to maintain and preserve the 600 jobs at this casino. So we decided to photograph every single employee and use their photos throughout the campaign. We put a “face” on the saving jobs message, and it became very important to this community.
The end result: the gaming referendum was victorious by this county’s highest vote total to date. The casino group improved the way they interacted with the community and their employees, and the community responded with increased casino attendance in the years since this vote.
Our casinos today are filled with an aging demographic, which is fine for now but not sustainable for tomorrow. Begin building a new traffic pattern by treating the marketing to your newer and younger customer as a strategic political effort. We believe the relationship with your voters/gamers will be much more in line with their interests and will result in increased gaming. We are confident you won’t be sorry you engaged your young gamers more successfully.