As I write this column, I have just returned from the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) trade show and conference where one thing became abundantly clear to me as I attended sessions and visited vendor booths: We live in a marketing world.

Years ago, marketing executives and their teams constantly complained about being excluded from the corporate table when it came time to make big decisions on mergers, acquisitions, facility expansions and equipment purchases. I think it’s pretty safe to say this is no longer the case; in fact, the exact opposite situation exists now—no discussion on any aspect of the gaming business is complete without the inclusion of marketing perspective.

All of which makes events such as the Casino Marketing & Technology Conference (CMTC), which is taking place at Bally’s Las Vegas July 18-20, that much more important.

The event, which runs immediately after Raving Consulting’s Host Development Conference which is taking place at the same facility July 17-18, offers an enticing array of educational sessions, trade show and social networking opportunities. Following a welcoming reception on the evening of July 18, the conference portion of CMTC kicks off with an opening keynote from Shawn Rorick, vice president of eCommerce for Eldorado Resorts, entitled “Digital Marketing Technology: An ROI Perspective,” in which Rorick, a leading interactive marketer, trainer and innovative thinker, will discuss his approach to digital marketing ROI in the casino operations environment. Another first day general session is “The Raving Interview: Kathleen McLaughlin, Head of Marketing, Novomatic Americas,” in which Dennis Conrad of Raving Consulting talks with McLaughlin, who has been a senior executive for casino operators and casino suppliers both internationally and domestically, and gets her thoughts on women in gaming, keys to professional success in any environment, tips for being a marketing-centric organization and much, much more. The first day of CMTC also features the 2017 Casino Marketing Lifetime Achievement Award Luncheon, which will honor Janie Dillard, executive officer of operations for the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Division of Commerce.

The first day will also include a number of informative breakout sessions, including “Behavioral Analytics: The Path to Personalization,” which will be given by Dr. Ralph Thomas, chief data scientist and general manager of gaming and strategy for VizExplorer Software, and focus on developing a path to getting beyond cookie-cutter, ADT-driven marketing to customer interactions that represent intelligent responses to individual behaviors.

Day two of CMTC will begin with the always exciting Romero Awards Breakfast, where the winners of the contest will be recognized and given trophies. The afternoon keynote presentation for the second day will be given by Seth Schorr, CEO of Fifth Street Gaming, who will tackle the topic of “Marketing to the Future at the Downtown Grand,” in which he will discuss his professional path in gaming and hospitality, the Grand’s position in the vibrant downtown Las Vegas casino market and what he and his organization have learned about marketing to the next wave of gamers.

Another session to note on this day is the “Slot Marketing Roundtable,” which will be moderated by Buddy Frank, principal consultant, Slot Strategies, and feature Frank quizzing slot operators on marketing topics ranging from measuring promotions and marketing new games to Big Data and leveraging vendor relationships.

Of course, this is only a taste of the feast of sessions and happenings at CMTC.
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