The 4Ps of Casinos Marketing
Traditionally, the marketing of casinos consisted of organizing events to liven up Friday and Saturday nights, usually with concerts or small to medium orchestras, and with no ambition other than simply creating the right atmosphere that would accompany the crowd that the casino held those days.
Promotions, raffles and lotteries for casinos
The next phase happens when we have our competition close to us. It consists of organizing promotions, usually tombolas, raffles and lotteries, from which the players get coupons and tickets to participate, either because they stay in the casino for several hours and every now and then an employee gives out the ticket per person, or because they are worthy of so many coupons per won play. The latter gives the advantage to those who play the most, those who have more winning combinations, and thus, the more coupons they receive for the tombola. This way, a loyalty program is generated in an informal and non-scientific manner.
Over time, casinos continued to add layers or levels of spending to the marketing budget and began to be more aggressive with courtesies. Traditional courtesies consisted of drinks, but contrary to what people believe, 60 percent of courtesy spending is made up of water, coffee and soda, not alcoholic beverages (beer, whiskey, gin and tonics, etc.).
Competition forces casinos to be more aggressive and start giving out food, cigarettes, popcorn, cakes, etc. This led to courtesy spending rising to 2 percent in very efficient casinos, and easily to 12 percent over the sales in not very productive casinos.
As we listed before, events, promotions and courtesies. To all the aforementioned, we need to add advertising.
Casinos finally learned, through trial-and-error, that advertising can’t be carried out in the same way that conventional brands do it. It doesn’t make sense to use a sledgehammer to crack a nut and advertise on television, since these adds are very expensive and appropriate to high consumption brands, furthermore, the percentage of the population that plays in the casino is negligible. It happens similarly with press advertising and, to a lesser extent, with radio.
The more focused the medium to reach the client can be, the better it is. That is why, over time, casinos started to learn that direct mailing and direct marketing are the most effective strategies. Back in the day, it was straight mailing campaigns. In countries where gambling is highly developed and the industry is also totally developed, it is common to have a complete good database, where, not only can we find the name of the customer, but also their address. Traditional correspondence can be sent to them and, in it, add invitations, coupons, and any other hook to attract the player to the casino.
Over time, traditional mail gave up the way to SMS campaigns and, eventually, to email campaigns. Nowadays, the latest way to reach the players is via mobile and cellphone apps, through push notifications i.e. messages that the app sends to the player and show up directly on their mobile or cellphone’s screen.
A personalized marketing campaign is developed for those players, since a high standard player is not the same as, let’s say, a common player, who spends less per visit and settles for less.
If we continue with the evolution of Casinos’ marketing, we have to talk about the loyalty programs (also called, in gaming argot, player tracking). They were a novelty during the 90s and were then still very expensive. However, nowadays, casinos do have the opportunity to acquire or rent management programs that include affordable loyalty programs.
The basic premise of these consist of: for each coin in dollar or bet that the machine records, points are awarded to the client. In the beginning, those points would be exchanged for gifts, but when casinos realized that cashback was way more effective, they were eventually exchanged for money. The competition and the boredom that the loyalty programs caused in customers led to more aggressive strategies consisting of redemption and collection of points.