In choosing some excerpts, I decided to focus on the slot side of things. Here goes:
Buddy Frank, principal consultant, Slot Strategies
A lot of vendors bring people to me and want me to tell them about the virtue of their system. And I always ask people, “Why are you changing?” And they’ll say, “Well I own the Aristocrat (and you can substitute in there Konami, IGT or Bally), and we really don’t like it because it won’t do X.” And they hate my answer, because I say, “Yes it will, and here’s how you do it.” The problem is that for whatever reason, they decided not to learn more about their system.
When I started my career, a lot of systems wouldn’t do things; they were too small, too slow, etc. But I’ll tell you right now, I’m pretty familiar with all of the major systems and they’ll pretty much do all of the same functions. You might have to make a tweak but they’ll all do it. Right now, you’re sitting there thinking we have to get a new system. Instead of blowing $5 to $10 million on that new system, why don’t you spend a fraction of that trying to get re-trained? You probably don’t do it because you’ve had five years of frustration. The system I hate the most is whatever one I own.
When you go to G2E, one of your missions ought to be to find who the marketing person is on your system and make an appointment for later. Don’t try to talk to them at G2E they’ll be way too busy. But you’ll be amazed at what you find your existing system can do.
Kathleen McLaughlin, head of marketing, Novomatic Americas
I used to run slot marketing and operations simultaneously. I did that for Hollywood Casino and the Las Vegas Sands Corporation all over the world, including in Asia. What I realize today listening to some of the marketing seminars is I’m so disappointed that a lot of marketing and operations people are still so siloed after so much time. Talk to your operations people because they know what your players are doing. Talk to your marketing people because they know the vision that they’re trying to create.
There are still these silos of responsibility. A lot of operators don’t like marketers and a lot of marketers don’t like operators. I don’t know how to fix that, I just know that I’ve never differentiated. Immerse yourself in both sides because they are two different languages. If you start to speak each of those languages in the appropriate place, you then become much smarter about the entire business.
Shannon Redmond, vice president marketing, Rivers Casino Pittsburgh
Communications between marketing slots and IT is a challenge every day. Perfect example: We had an IT summit within our company with all our properties recently and we were wondering why marketing was even going; we were all a little bit confused. When we got there it became clear; so we could talk about the systems and what they can and can’t do. It was very eye-opening to know from an IT perspective that within our company they have over 200 systems that have to work together. So when we get so frustrated that things are not working right with, say, our kiosk, well, there are four other partners involved that all have to be aligned to make that work.
As marketers, we always want to be the top priority, but that taught us to remember to be a little bit patient and let’s think about where the priorities are within the company.
On the slot side, over the last six to eight months, we have really been trying to forge a better relationship with our slot team. I would definitely say it has been successful. It has created marketers within slots, which on the one hand is wonderful, but on the other hand, we don’t have time to take three days to explain why we re-invest and why we have a reinvestment schedule that we need to stick to. Relationships have improved with both departments but it’s something we need to work on every single day.
Seth Schorr, CEO, Fifth Street Gaming
It’s challenging to have a pure skill-based game that’s man vs. the machine. What I think we’ll see more and more is head-to-head or peer-to-peer skill gaming where the house takes a rake. No different than poker. That’s obviously a safer model for the house, but offers an engaging experience that the younger generation wants. That seems to be the easiest path.