June 1, 2016 / by admin

Attention Casino Marketers! It's Not What You Sell!

Attention all casino marketers, I started my career 20 years ago in the Seattle market with the dream of being a true marketing genius. My first clients were sports bars which were all the rage in Seattle at the time. (which was kinda weird because the only team we had hope for was the Mariners where Randy Johnson and Ken Griffey Jr. became the first team in Seattle history to hit the .500 mark before the miracle season of '95).

These sports bar clients insisted that we do ads that explained what it meant to be a sports bar. "pool, darts, shuffleboard, cheap food and beer while watching games away from home." I would often ask these clients why do we want to waste 30 seconds of TV and 60 seconds of radio telling people what they sell when the word "sports bar" encapsulated what they sell in one second.

It was expected, it was implied, so why waste air time explaining it. So I reluctantly created ads with whit and charisma that satisfied the client, but did nothing to drive traffic into their establishments.

Then the epiphany happened; with this many sports bars in the market, why don't we make ads that expressed what it means to be in a sports moment, what it means to be in a social environment where guests can share a passion for their experience with other folks that feel the same way they do about their loosing or winning teams. Let's use emotions and story telling to make ads that don't tell people what we sell but rather what we stand for. What we stand for is passion for something, regardless of what it is, not beer, pool cheap food and darts!

With this client we chose to make ads that made a guest want to be a part of something "special." The "special," was up to the guest not up to us as the brand, we allowed them to choose for themselves without telling them what we sold. We just gave them the avenue for experience!

Well to make a long story short the client that bought into that philosophy now owns 35 sports bars in 18 markets across the US and gets $17.00 for a hamburger as long as it tastes like victory or defeat. The guests did not pay for the burger, they paid for the emotional experience in victory or defeat!

Casino Marketers, read between the lines, its not about what you sell!!!!!!!! It is about what you stand for that makes people choose your property over the others. Make ads that make people feel what it is like to be at yours!