Article by Jeff Gorovitz, Raving Consulting, Reno Nevada.
Boomers, Millennials, Technology and One-to-One Marketing
Our industry is going to have to change in order to thrive, and most of us know that.
Change is a fairly obtuse concept though when you think about all the possible components that may be needed, anywhere from a dusting off to a total rebuild. There are some clear-cut paths that will likely apply to all casino properties, because of the prevailing influences we will be facing in the not too distant future.
The most obvious of those influences is the imminent paradigm shift in customer demographics. I think by this time we all realise that the Silent generation (born 1920- 1940) is just that … silent. They are up in age, and the Baby Boomer generation, which was the anomaly to all birth rate precedents, is aging. As a result of the “Great Recession,” we underwent a culling in the industry, as far as some of our gaming population was concerned.
We, as an industry, contributed to turning gamers away, as well as creating a monster – the games play so fast now with such high wagers that we have eroded time on device – the experience is not what it once was, and players feel it.
The GOOD and NOT SO GOOD news:
- The good news is that there is a new and very unique generation on the horizon.
- The not so good news is that there is a new and VERY UNIQUE generation on the horizon – the Millennial (also known as Gen Y’s born 1982 – 2002). So what makes Millennials unique as it relates to the casino business?
- They have not adopted technology as we know it – they are the first generation to be shaped by technology.
- Because of their intuitive command of technology, they are able to filter and process media at an unprecedented rate. They are accustomed to and expect immediate gratification.
- They have grown up in a foodie environment, and are accustomed to dining choices and craft beers.
- They tend to be brand loyal and more trusting of influencers in social media (reviews and opinions are a basis of their spending) than mainstream traditional marketing. They create a forceful market demand that we have to learn how to supply.
- Although many of this generation were entering the job market at the worst time in our history since the Great Depression, they are characterized as a group that knows what they want, and are not afraid to spend money in pursuit of their desires.
- They represent around 21% of the total population of Australia.
SO, TO THE POINT:
- It is incumbent upon the club/ casino industry to find out what makes them tick – and what they want.
- It is equally important to better understand what our current core gambler wants and what makes them tick.
- We have to market smarter. We have to market in a relevant manner that resonates with our patrons. We have to understand so much about our patrons that we send offers and communicate in a truly personal, one-to-one manner.
- We have to recommit to a service culture that rings of sincerity and commitment to a personal, elevated experience.
Following are, in my opinion, some of the most important topics that need to be carefully weighed by operators, and my view of the starting point for true one-to-one marketing:
- Integrate your entire facility’s databases. As a casino consultant, I’m in a lot of casinos. One odd phenomenon to me is a seemingly consistent resistance on the part of operators to make the move to get the disparate databases talking together. Your property has spent $$$$ on Player Tracking systems, $$$ on POS software and hardware, $$$ on property management systems, $$ on kiosks and dispatch software, and so on.
Each performs perfectly fine, but independent of one another, so at the end of the day, about all you know about your customers is their gaming consumption behaviors.
What is it worth to have you know a customer’s full property spending experience? There are some very good business intelligence tools available and some very sharp integrators. Doesn’t it make sense to pull all that rich information together? It’s there – you’ve made the big part of the investment already.
- Engage in a property-wide, statistically measurable service training and service culture reset. There are some great programs available that use a variety of statistical metrics to measure changes in the service culture. If Las Vegas trends can be considered guidance to the non-Vegas casino world, then retail, room, food and beverage, and entertainment (as of 2014) outweighed gaming revenue by 60% to 40%. We are going to have to deliver on the marketing promise and learn to make these revenue departments contribute to the experience and the bottom line.
- Fully embrace the online space as a means to communicate with your players. A robust player interface, fully customised to your player, is of huge importance. Make sure to find the right vendor that offers a platform accessible from all devices – desktop, laptop, tablets and phones, and includes an app feature. Compare features and benefits. Be very careful about social gaming add ons – make sure that your data and your brand remain intact, and are not remarketed.
So why is there resistance to finishing the job? You have spent millions, yet so many properties are reluctant to integrate their data and complete the loop. From what I know, “finishing the job” in this instance is a matter of a few thousand dollars every month, and the payback is unmeasurable. Would you take the ball the whole way down the field, only to quit just before you crossed the goal line? In each case, be specific about your needs, and hold the vendor to a specific set of deliverables and a corresponding timeline.
What will casinos look like a few years from now? That is a topic for another time and place, and probably subject to much speculation. What is for sure though, is it is going to be a challenge to balance our branding efforts towards these most unique Millennials, while restarting our trust bond with our highly valued, more mature, aging segment.