What is the most important department within the modern casino enterprise?

Twenty years ago, when I first started to report on the gaming industry, I probably would have said the corporate office or company headquarters; the people making the decisions on when and where the next megacasino was going to be developed. When domestic gaming expansion slowed and day-to-day operations became more important, I thought the casino operations department gained in import; after all, the casino was still the engine that generated most gaming resort revenue. Fast forward to now and I would argue that the marketing department is preeminent; in an environment where new revenue growth is almost non-existent and competition has become increasingly fierce, the property best able to retain and drive more business from its established player base will best be able to survive and eventually thrive.

The growing importance of casino marketing is not lost on the supplier community, and a plethora of new products and technologies have been introduced with the aim of making casino marketing more efficient, quantifiable and profitable. Indeed, it’s safe to say that some of the most innovative gaming technologies of the past five to 10 years have been for casino marketing use.

This convergence of technology and casino marketing has not gone unnoticed by us here at Casino Journal and our parent company, BNP Media. Since 2005, BNP Media along with Raving Consulting has sponsored the Casino Marketing Conference, the largest gathering of gaming marketing professionals in the U.S., held each year in Las Vegas. This year, a technology conference track designed specifically for casino marketers has been added to the program, and the show, since renamed Casino Marketing & Technology Conference, will take place July 14-16 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.(For more information, visit www.casinomarketingconf.com.)

This new technology track will consist of the following sessions: “Best Practices in Electronic Marketing;” “Casino Marketing Technology Demystified: Choosing the Right Tools for the Job;” “The New Technology Decision: A User’s Guide for Marketers;” “Business Intelligence: Who Do You Love in 10 Not-So-Easy (But Necessary) Steps;” “Data Analytics: The Art and Science of Efficient Marketing;” “Social Gaming: What Marketers Need to Know;” and “Kiosk Optimization Strategies.” There will also be a general session devoted to technology, “When Marketing Meets IT,” which will focus on the critically important topic of aligning those two departments, led by Claudia Winkler of G.H.I. Solutions.

The emphasis on technology does not come at the cost of pure gaming marketing content, which once again will be very strong at the show. The marketing track will kick off with “My Favorite Marketers: Notes from a Lifetime Slot Pro,” a signature session featuring Bruce Rowe. Other marketing session titles are “Branding for Underdogs;” “Short-Term Planning: Getting the Calendar Right;” “The Top 5 Challenges Casino Marketers Face Today,” a roundtable discussion featuring Raving Consulting;  “Segmentation: All or Not Much at All;” “Recovering Player Defectors;” and “The Romero Winners Roundtable.” The track will also feature a general session, “Where Has All the Value Gone? And How Do We Bring It Back?,” a high-level conversation led by Dennis Conrad; a long-time Casino Journal columnist, the head of Raving Consulting, founder of the Casino Marketing Conference and a recipient, along with Steve Browne, of this year’s Casino Marketing Lifetime Achievement Award.

I highly recommend you attend this event if at all possible. Don’t miss out on the piece of marketing information or technology that may add much needed dollars to your bottom line.