Wonderful things can happen when you apply good analytics to marketing planning.

In fact, the most wonderful thing can happen—incremental property growth.

However, when planning promotions and events, it’s common to see a meeting where the marketing team ends up going around the table taking turns giving their best ideas on what promotion to do next without the luxury of good property analytics to help support them. Indeed, marketing analytics can answer pressing questions such as: What’s really driving incremental play? What’s most profitable? What will resonate with our players? Are we making the best use of our marketing spend?

In my experience, analytics can really help fine-tune marketing strategy. Below are the top five must-have data analytics methods and reports to get your analytics marketing rocket off the launchpad.

Show me the money

When it comes to finding promotions that will grow properties year over year, you’ll need to see some property numbers. It’s unfortunate to often find that some marketing departments only get to see player-rated data and never get to see the total property revenues. To make the most impact, you’ll need these numbers.

You don’t necessarily need to see everything since most properties make a majority of their income from gaming. But you need the daily gaming numbers such as daily coin in and table drop. Then examine history—overlay all past promotions against the historic daily property numbers and look for the bumps. If they’re not easy to see, it’s highly possible those promotions are not driving significant incremental play and the money may be best spent elsewhere.

Get yourself a crystal ball

If you don’t have one already, start with a good gaming forecast. A gaming forecast is an estimate of the expected daily property coin in and drop numbers for the next 30 days at least. Forecasts are usually not too difficult, given most properties have fairly steady weekday and weekend volumes. Start without promotions, events, or holidays; just the flatline expectation of base volume. Then, with your analysis of the historic bumps in hand, add holidays, events, and promotions and a corresponding bump expectation. This is where you show the ROI.

Show me the (incremental) money

When determining a promotion’s effectiveness, it’s the property incremental number that is of most value. If you’re like many marketing teams and combining all the theoretical or actual win for all players who redeem an offer for a promotion, you’re likely over-valuing the revenue significantly. Instead, use the total property bump from the forecast. If it isn’t a bump, it’s likely just a loyalty promotion and not incremental gain.

Know thyself—the database matrix

The other must in analytics-driven marketing is a good understanding of your database.

A great start is to create a matrix of your player data with the win segmentations (ADT ranges, for example) for the rows, and the trip frequency (1, 2, 3, 4-6, etc.) for the columns. Then populate a matrix with your database data, preferably a year’s worth. For each grouping, you want to put the total players, total theoretical, total actual, and, my personal favorite, total reinvestment or awards given for that group. Fill it out, then step back and take a look.

The database matrix will often be very powerful in showing you where your money is coming from, where you’re spending and where you need to target. Is 80 percent of your revenue coming from 20 percent of your players? What’s your VIP reinvestment rate compared to your lowest tiers? If you’re particularly ambitious, separate data by slots and tables, ethnicities, average bet, cash buy-ins, geography, tier levels, and more. The results can be terribly revealing, and wonderfully opportunistic.

The year-over-year marketing report

Build a year-over-year comparison and trend report comparing segmentation, trip frequency, players club tiers, geographies, driving distance, ethnicities, ages and whatever other metrics you can pull from your database. Not only does this tell the story of market changes, but it also reveals whether your targeted promotions are growing where you expect them to. One of the more common questions asked of analysts is whether they can show if a particular marketing program or effort is working. This report can help tell that story.

Obviously, there’s much more to thorough marketing reporting than what I have shown here (competitive research, comp distribution and product utilization to name a few). But these methods and reports are the core for strategic marketing development and tell you how and where to spend your marketing dollars for the greatest returns.

Understandably, this data can be difficult to extract, much less compile and understand. If this data is hard or impossible to get out of your technical staff or IT team, consider hiring someone that is capable of doing it. You need this information. The revelations will be worth the effort.