Marketers have seen the future and believe it is digital

25 July 2013

Industries across the board have embraced digital marketing, casinos included. Today, the first point of contact for many gamblers or guests is through casinos’ digital platforms, including their websites, Facebook and Twitter.

Much of Strip resorts’ communication with guests happens through social media.

“As marketers, you need to realize that digital is the future of advertising,” Angel Suarez, vice president, group account director for the Red Circle Agency, a Minneapolis casino marketing agency, said Wednesday at the Casino Marketing Conference.

In an hourlong presentation to about 125 casino executives and marketers at Paris Las Vegas, Suarez said digital marketing is cost-effective and measurable and, most important, used by nearly everyone. He said every casino should have a website, optimized content and social media marketing.

Websites are casinos’ most important digital platform, Suarez said. And, he added, for search engine optimization, these websites should be built to be compatible with Google, Yahoo and Bing.

“You also need to make sure your website is relevant to whatever a customer is searching for,” Suarez said. “It’s also important for you to be ranked across all three search engines.”

Social media marketing should enable casinos to interact with customers casually. Suarez said too many times it’s a one-way conversation.

“The problem is casinos are not engaging in a conversation but just telling people what’s going on,” Suarez said. “You don’t have to keep selling; they are already fans of your property.”

Other digital marketing plans should include email and text, along with custom content, paid or earned media and owned media. For example, he said, custom content consists of “integrating your brand into content people are about,” also known as product placement.

The definition of owned media is “you own it and operate it,” Suarez said. Those platforms include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and websites. He said owned media are used to “generate content and some form of action out of it at low or no cost.”

The two-day conference examining all aspects of casino marketing ends today . Panel discussions also addressed where the next generation of casino patrons will come from, and how to develop effective incentive programs that drive casino revenue.

On Wednesday, Michael Meczka, principal of Los Angeles-based marketing research company MM/R/C Inc., was honored with the 2013 Casino Marketing Lifetime Achievement Award.

The conference, in its 10th year, also lets companies pitch their wares and services to executives from commercial and Native American casinos nationwide.

Most companies inside the expo hall hawked logo merchandise, management services or fantasy sports products, but for the first time, Major League Baseball Players Alumni marketed its services.

“We work with casino companies on special events for their VIP or high rollers,” said Jake Lazorko, vice president, special projects for the MLB Players Alumni. “We’ll bring out retired players for slot tournaments, golf tournaments, meet and greets, and autograph sessions.”

Lazorko declined to discuss the association’s relationship with MLB or any possible concerns about having former players associate with casinos.

Major League Baseball, the U.S. Justice Department, the NCAA and three major sports leagues have sued to stop New Jersey from enabling sports betting.

“We have good relationships with the casinos,” Lazorko said. “The relationship is good for the guys and it works well for the casinos. It also helps to drive traffic to the casino.”

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Casino Marketing Conference 2013

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