Best practices for casino communication channels
Walk through the average casino floor, and it’s hard not to notice the various forms of media and screens that are now used to touch the customer. Make your way to the casino back office, and you’re quickly assailed by a growing mix of user interfaces that help with our daily marketing tasks. It’s easy to understand how some can feel completely overwhelmed when it comes to devising a plan to make all these communications and systems technologies work together.
The good news is that there are a couple of “golden tickets” that can be used to better organize and actually capitalize on these growing communications options.
Today our technology offers us so many ways to communicate and the channels themselves are becoming a way to segment players. There is a concept called the “Golden Record,” which provides a single source of truth when it comes to player records and profiles. This concept unifies all the useful information you can collect about a player and their habits from a myriad of operational and marketing systems to achieve a perfect database where all information is accurate. This concept enables the ultimate marketing program where there is little to no waste and your individual marketing channels perform at their peak. Many gaming and hospitality business intelligence (BI) systems are focused on becoming the master of these records; however, none have been successful thus far.
Along with the Golden Record is what I like to call a “Golden Subscription.” This concept is unique to permission-based marketing, where a diverse and growing set of marketing channels provide the player the power to engage, not engage or block messages. Permission-based technology is seeping into a number of casino communications systems, even though many channels are not thought of in this way. Take the loyalty kiosk for example—you may not think of this as a permission-based channel, but the “unsubscribe” button is just the patron not engaging with it anymore. The good news: the continuing integration of permission-based technology into marketing systems can enable very powerful interactions tthat allow the player freedom to choose their preferred methods of receiving information, offers and promotions, and in return, the casino benefits with increased ADT, loyalty and incremental revenue.
The Golden Subscription concept takes permission-based systems and adds a compliance rules layer to protect against regulations such as the Canadian Anti-Spam Laws (CASL) or the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). One reason why such as integration is of value: the cost of not being in compliance with these measures. CASL laws are applicable in the U.S., and violations can result in potentially severe administrative monetary penalties of up to $10 million per violation for an organization and $1 million per violation for an individual. As for the TCPA, it was expanded in 2013 to include SMS text messages. This act allows individuals who did not opt-in legally to a text message marketing program the ability to sue for $500 per illegal text message received ($1,500 if it was intentional).
And these are just the national communications regulations—a number of states also have communications rules that can potentially trip up casino operators. For example, in Pennsylvania, sending an e-mail message to a self-excluded player in a database can result in a $25,000 fine for the property.
The Golden Subscription should embody compliance, best practices, strong record keeping for opt-ins, suppression and preferences. Going beyond the laws and treating all communication channels as permission-based will lead to better relationships with players and a more reactive database marketing program. It will also help in the future as the industry adopts and adapts to AI-based chat bots for social media DMs and in-app messaging, Alexa Skills, Google Home apps and other direct channels; with a Golden Subscription, all these new communications technologies will be unified and controlled by a single set of governance that allows the casino marketer and player to live in a harmonious relationship.
How will such a relationship operate? Well, in practice, a casino could send an e-mail to all players it knows open e-mail regularly to ask them to download a mobile app that checks their points, comps and offers. The player that has not opened any of their e-mails would be sent a text message because they are legally opted-in to receive them with a link that would open on their phone displaying the offer in an HTML mobile-optimized e-mail format. Players that download the mobile app would be in full control of their Golden Subscription and the property would create opportunities for players and guests to be made aware of their preferences and permissions.
This utopian idea of casino marketing will lead to higher levels of loyalty, lower marketing costs and higher redemptions rates.
Here are some permission-based notions to ponder when putting together a Golden Subscription marketing program:
- E-mail: E-mail address is either active, unsubscribed or hard bounced (bad);
- SMS: Cell phone number is either active, unsubscribed, pending (awaiting an opt-in response) or hard bounced (bad or unable to receive text messages);
- Mobile app: Push notifications are either on or off, in-app messaging is controlled by the app provider;
- Social media: AI-based chat bot solution either engaged or unengaged;
- Kiosk: A player either swipes or does not swipe;
- Website: Chat bot and browser notifications are either on or off; and
- Alexa/Google Home: Skills and apps are either installed or not; engaged or unengaged.