I have worked with casinos for the majority of my career, with direct mail strategies and execution being a first forte.
I thought long ago that direct mail would quickly be replaced by digital. Not only was that wrong, but it’s still the strongest driver of casino offers for loyal players. In the mobile age, casino marketers are only starting to scratch the surface of how to engage a new audience to drive trips to the casino. The goal is not to replace direct mail, but use new tools to get better at targeting players that show a propensity to game.
Recently, Engaged Nation and inMarket announced an exclusive partnership to drive prospecting in a new and engaging way. “inMarket exists to understand consumer receptivity and activate the right people with custom content at the perfect times,” said Chris Kozloski, chief revenue officer for inMarket. “Our platform has evolved to create value in many business categories, from retail to finance and entertainment. As leading experts with a huge track record of success, Engaged Nation is the perfect partner to bring these capabilities into the gaming space.”
The integration of Engaged Nation’s REACH system of online customer engagement and rewards is seamless and offers an instant enhancement to what inMarket has been providing customers for over nine years.
Casinos have historically stuck to a traditional formula when it comes to how they connect to players. And while digital variable direct mail has been the standard go-to loyalty marketing channel for decades, this method of prospecting is typically not very targeted, has little brand recognition and relevance to the prospect recipient, and faces a plethora of cost and data issues that translate into missed opportunity for driving foot traffic onto the gaming floor. In order for casinos to be more efficient with these campaigns and prospect competitively, they need real-time, location-based data that is accurate, actionable and scalable.
PROSPECTING & ADVERTISING CHALLENGES
While each casino has its own set of unique challenges when it comes to traditional customer prospecting and advertising, we’ve identified four common problems the gaming industry faces as a whole:
- Demographic identification: Visibility into demographics is lacking, and it’s difficult to know whether or not the correct targeted audience is being reached. Currently, the traditional methods in place for identifying age, gaming interest or gaming involvement is mostly inferred from loyalty program sign-ups.
- Poor timing for messaging: Even if the key audience has been successfully identified, reaching them at precise decision-making moments is almost non-existent. For example, impressions are wasted if an ad encouraging a visit to a casino is served after a player has just left one. With traditional advertising, ads are served based on intuition rather than optimal times evidenced in data.
- Inaccurate measurement: Direct Mail communication provides limited visibility into whether or not a gamer took action or changed behavior after viewing the offer. Only digital allows gaming advertisers to see if a player viewed an ad without feedback or restriction in terms of verification that a player is not on a self-exclusion list.
- Lapsed players/defectors: There’s difficulty in knowing if, when, or for how long a player has stopped visiting the casino. And without confirming lapsed players, opportunity to win back players who have defected is limited.
The modern player and guest carries their phone with them wherever they go; it’s an extension of them. By accessing their always on, opted-in location data, we understand their behaviors with precision. Marrying hyper-accurate location data with full-screen engagements allows casino marketers to solve the aforementioned challenges of traditional prospecting.
Location-based marketing allows casinos to unlock layers of real-time data with extreme accuracy in the following ways:
- Audience identification and segmenting: Location data allows us to see patterns and prescribe age, gender, affluence, interests, lifestyle and more to the information. Quality deep-dive visitation data not only identifies, but also discerns casino patrons from employees to lower wasted impressions for ads.
- Optimized timing for ads: With location data, casino marketers remove the guesswork for when to serve an ad to a qualified prospect. Analyzing visitation patterns allows identification of the optimal window in which to serve branded messaging, when a player is most receptive.
- Accurate, multi-dimensional measurement: Track clicks or other interactions for an ad, and observe if and when a player took action after engaging with it. This allows operators to see a player’s behavior digitally, and then map out their movements in the real world.
- Regaining lapsed players/defectors: We not only can see if a player’s visitation has tapered off, but can also serve engagements to encourage players return to the casino. Location data allows users to see if/when a player stopped visiting a location; how frequently/infrequently a player visits; and visitation changes before and after exposure to ad.
- Geo-conquesting: Use location data to see which competitors your historical players are visiting, and serve relevant ads to push these visitors back to your casino.
THE CONVERSION STRATEGY
Access to location data is fundamental, but the quality of data can determine whether advertising dollars were well invested. With this in mind, inMarket uses years of hyper-accurate SDK integrations with the world’s most popular apps to analyze opted-in, always-on location data from 50 million comScore-verified active users in order to understand real-world trends, and enable one-to-one brand engagement at precise moments that drive industry-leading campaign results.
Adopting a full-funnel approach, inMarket recommends using premium location data to create an effective blueprint for conversions that includes:
Audience: Create an audience most likely to engage with your services, based on location behaviors and unique visitation and buying behaviors.
For example, Jack is a 21-year-old male and enjoys visiting bars and playing blackjack in his favorite casinos. There are tons of other players who exhibit similar location behaviors, so we’ve identified “Jack” as an ideal audience who’d be receptive to gaming ads.
Perceptivity: As the audience’s receptivity to ads shifts in predictable cycles and patterns, reach them when they are most receptive to a message. Drive messaging via mobile, desktop, social and video.
For example, going back to “Jack” and using premium, hyper-accurate location data, we’ve identified Jack’s travel patterns: every Friday night he goes to local sports bar; once a month he visits a local casino; and once every three months he takes a weekend trip to Las Vegas.
Since we know his behavioral patterns, we know when he’s most receptive to messaging. When he’s due for a visit to his local casino or his Vegas trip, it’s the optimal time to serve an ad to drive foot traffic into your casino via mobile, desktop, social and video.
Moments: These immediate engagements come from apps players know and use. Their hyper-relevant engagements via push notifications can happen anywhere and anytime.
After entering a casino, serve Jack content via a full-screen ad, or on mobile via a trusted app recommendation. Or alternatively, if Jack enters a competitive casino, geo-conquest by serving him an ad to drive him back into your casino.
The challenges of connecting casinos to gamers are an industry-wide problem with tons of missed opportunity for attracting returning, lapsed and new consumers. However, by implementing location-based strategies, gaming advertisers can access fresh avenues of communication and stand out from the noise of their competitors.