Attracting a new demographic of gamers is quickly becoming a necessity for casinos.
Experience-hungry and game-loving Millennials are a perfect target market, but how do you take an industry expertly catering to Baby Boomers and seniors and transform it for the next generation? First, we need to understand how these 21- to 33-year-olds relate to gaming and casino-like experiences. According to research from Viacom Research & Insights and EventBrite:
- The average Millennial spends 11.8 hours per week gaming on various devices.
- 78 percent of Millennials would choose to spend money on an experience or event rather than buying something.
- 72 percent of Millennials would like to increase their spending on experiences rather than on physical things in the next year.
The combination of Millennials’ affinity for gaming and their desire for memorable experiences makes the casino industry one of the most perfectly suited to this demographic, but a lot of change needs to happen first.
As Candy Crush addicts (don’t judge until you’ve tried it), we understand games themselves need to be re-thought to attract a new group of casino goers who have grown up gaming in a very different way than Baby Boomers and seniors. This expanded way of thinking might likely include connecting games to social channels, or even employing the opportunity to build on winnings instead of ending abruptly. Creating fun, interactive competition among friends is going to become a big part of adapting casinos for the next generation. But what can you do right now?
First, create gaming opportunities that are exclusive to Millennials. No one wants to run into Grandma while having a few drinks with their friends on a Friday night. Luckily, you can start off small. For instance, partner with a nearby university to host a fraternity vs. fraternity poker tournament. Play some indie music or hire a DJ and invite recent alumni to participate as well. Make it a charitable event or create opportunities to win experiences instead of just money—which are more valuable to today’s Millennial.
No university to partner with? No problem. Create a themed event like a throwback speakeasy night and promote it online.
This brings us to our next point: create a real digital marketing strategy. We’re not talking about a few posts a week on your Facebook page. The great thing about digital marketing is that you can target very effectively and promote one message to seniors and Boomers and another to Millennials, and you can do so at a fraction of the cost of your typical mail campaign. Digital marketing gives you much more insight into how audiences are reacting to your ads, and you can change copy or target audiences quickly based on results.
It’s important to keep in mind that digital marketing changes quickly and differs from market to market. Lately, many Millennials in urban areas have been logging off of Facebook and flocking to other social channels like Instagram and Snapchat. It’s becoming increasingly important to drill down and find out what digital marketing opportunities will work best for your casino. From advertising on social channels, blogs or on a local alternative magazine’s website, to posting creative, engaging content, there is a plethora of ways to engage the Millennial market online.
Finally, create enticing reasons for Millennials to post their casino experiences online. Offer a give-away to those who post a picture of themselves at the casino on their social pages or create a unique “selfie” photo opp. For Millennials, it’s not just about word of mouth marketing but something called FOMO—fear of missing out. This real stress that Millennials experience with FOMO will make those who missed out on your first event quickly want to sign up for your next one and begin experiencing just how much fun casinos can be.
Finding your casino’s sweet spot that effectively attracts a new audience will take time, testing and a feedback loop. But the most important thing you can do is start now, because other experiential industries are already adapting and building loyalty among this experience-hungry market. And as we all know, it’s the businesses that adapt that survive and thrive.