Date Parting Marketing Efforts
Continuing in our Reopening Strategy Series, we take a look at our options for direct marketing to Players. The primary goal of marketing is to change customer behavior. Doing so will be key as we will likely have some limitation on the number of Players we can have in our Casino at any given point in time. With that understanding we look to ensure we have the best Players there at the best times.
The opinion we hear most often when speaking with operators is a rather “business as usual” mentality for direct marketing, in that we send what we have always sent, largely due to entitlements that have long been in place. “Our Players expect to receive $XXX valid for its normal date ranges.” While this is the easiest to execute and most well-understood strategy, and Player entitlements are a well understood issue, it could lead to larger than expected crowds on your floor during normal high-traffic periods. Additionally, “entitlement” is a bit of a throwaway objection due to normal segmenting the majority of Players will have some movement in their offers from month to month.
The other option that we are hearing frequently, and one that would reduce overall Casino traffic, is to only send marketing offers to higher value Players. While this does make sense and would succeed in its goal of reducing Casino traffic, it leaves a lot of potential cash on the table at a time where we can least afford it. Additionally, this leaves a long-lasting “bad-taste” feel in these Players that are being excluded.
One recommendation is to Day-Part marketing efforts rather than restricting out all low value Players or blanket marketing to all Players. This idea suggests understanding the “when” of our Players preferred play times and days. There are a multitude of methodologies that can be utilized to aggregate this information. Using VizExplorer’s campaignViz tool, you can simply use the AV_T01 Temporal dashboard to identify the times/days that Players prefer to play and create your Campaign directly in the tool. However, for those without campaignViz, you could use SQL or similar data aggregation tools to create a view containing a Players preferred and secondarily preferred gaming windows.
The process is essentially the same either way. Create a group of buckets for times and days meeting the criteria you have for number of Players on the floor, utilizing prior redemption history and patterns to gather a picture of expected head count on the floor. While we do not necessarily know how Players will react, consider that behavior may differ from our normal expectations for response rates. One option would be to consider boosting the estimated redemption percentage in the short term to account for Players being able to get back into the Casino, and then reducing it in the longer term to account for lack of discretional-spending money.
With that knowledge we can begin distributing Players into those buckets, utilizing the Preference information that has been identified, which will reduce over-all traffic most especially at peak periods. We can then market appropriately valued offers to Players for those dates and times. This gives us the benefit of sending offers to Players with valid periods fitting times that they would be most likely interested in visiting the Casino.
We believe it will be key to balance these groups and vary the time-periods and days these offers will be valid based on actual response rates. For example, if you have large numbers of Players not responding on one day or time, attempt to swap them with a similarly non-performing group from another day. We must keep in mind that many people’s jobs and family lives have changed significantly, so what may have been valid with regards to preferred play times previously, may no longer be the case. The ability to swiftly make adjustments to Player offers, within a day or two potentially, and certainly week-to-week depending on response rates will be among the most vital components of this effort.
In addition to all the above, we would recommend having a selection of basic supplemental mailers pre-printed and ready to go, only requiring labeling in order to take advantage of information that you obtain during this re-opening period. If your response rates are under-performing expectations, you can immediately get something into a Players hands. Flexibility and the ability to swiftly and decisively take action without having delays for creative and print will be of utmost importance for marketing operators.
Finally, this strategy has the added advantage that you will remove some of the preexisting entitlement mentality that so permeates our industry, allowing you to reset the baseline of how you do your core direct marketing.