Today, casino marketers are inundated with new bells and whistles claiming to drive more revenue, engage players or be the next big craze.

I am always interested in learning about these new solutions and tactics to drive business. However, researching these new marketing services and promotional products can become overwhelming. And, sometimes, testing too many new ideas may lead us away from the tried-and-true promotions that are working.

Indeed, a survey of 100 Indian gaming marketing and analytics professionals showed casino promotions and grand prize drawings continue to top the list of ways to drive revenue. The data was released at the Raving NEXT: Indian Gaming Analytics & Marketing Conference earlier this year. According to the survey, new promotions topped the list of initiatives that increased revenue in 2018. Additionally, when asked to identify the marketing promotion that drove the most ROI within the last 12 months, grand prize drawings topped the list at 40 percent, followed by invited guest parties at 23 percent and continuity programs at 22 percent.

Bob Hamman, president of SCA Gaming, is not surprised. Hamman, who is a leading casino marketing promotions expert, said “consumers are driven by a chance to win; creating giveaways and promotions that motivate them to act is key.”

SCA’s Linda Gordon, who has conducted hundreds of drawings, added that building a successful grand prize drawing requires layers that build excitement. “In some cases, it is a matter of increasing the grand prize amount incrementally each week throughout the month to generate increased visitation and qualifying play,” she said. “Additionally, be sure to include a secondary or multiple prize giveaway that resonates with players at all tier levels.”

Here’s my own set of tips to follow to create a successful grand prize drawing:

  • Keep it simple. If it is too difficult to qualify or understand how it works, players will opt out.
  • Create ways for the guests to interact with the drawing. Anytime players can spin a wheel, solve a puzzle or become active in the giveaway, the more excitement it will create.
  • Identify the desired outcomes of the giveaway. Do a pro- and post-forma to see if it worked. Also, consider performing player research periodically to gain further input on the specific elements your players desire.
  • If you are giving away a large prize, consider giving the winner the option of selecting a cash prize of lesser value. This keeps those players who aren’t interested in a new boat from not participating at all.
  • Create a marketing promotion calendar to prevent layering of promotions. Too many conflicting giveaways is costly and can cause guest confusion.
  • Create a clear set of rules. This should include a clear deadline for qualification.
  • Allow all cardholders to participate. This creates property buy-in and values guests for their total worth at your property.
  • Vary how entries are issued. Virtual drawings are effective and easier to control and track. However, sometimes paper drawings for smaller giveaways are well received and the player engagement process is more personalized.
  • Maximize your social media reach. Make sure players can truly interact with your promotion by sharing photos and tagging posts.
  • Use the promotion to test new marketing tools. For example, add ways to earn entries through gamification platforms on your website. Players can earn extra entries, and, at the same time, you get to analyze your player engagement on your site.

Finally, don’t forget the fun! We are in the entertainment business. Don’t let your rules or technology take away the excitement of giving a guest a new car or a fat stack of cash. Perhaps the real key to success is balancing what works with testing new ta