While we have been continually adjusting advertising plans over the better part of the past year, and continue to monitor the changing environment, it is important to maintain our planning process, with the understanding that remaining fluid may be required. One of the most important factors in planning for success in 2021 will be delivering effective messaging to your market. While specific messaging should be unique for your property and market, there are simple rules that can be followed in order to keep your messaging clear and effective, and to avoid creating confusion by over-layering.
Messaging typically falls into one of three general categories: branding, happenings and amenities/revenue centers.
When considering the number of potential messages between branding, promotions, concerts and various revenue centers communicated across multiple channels, it can be very easy to oversaturate the market. This can not only create confusion in the market for your brand, but it can stretch your messaging thinner, causing a lack of retention from your target audience. Just like considering the entertainment calendar when planning promotions or vice versa, it’s important to look at how you layer your messaging so that you’re not outshouting yourself in your advertising.
For smaller, local properties with a limited ad budget, keeping the number of messages down to one or two and utilizing the various channels to reinforce those one or two messages can be effective. This might be a general brand message and your monthly promotions, or it might be split between your promotions and an upcoming concert. Limiting the messages allows for each one to carry a significant enough weight to penetrate the market while maintaining a limited budget.
For mid-size and larger properties, it is still important to properly layer messaging to ensure that each one is carrying enough weight. The messaging mix can differ based on what is going on from a promotions and entertainment standpoint, but the one thing that cannot be overlooked is how the messages are layered. Certain aspects of your advertising should focus on creating awareness, while other aspects should look to reinforce your call to action. For example, most properties will deliver monthly promotion information through direct mail and email, so utilizing targeted digital would reinforce the message. To create additional awareness, TV and radio can be employed to expand the audience, while also reinforcing the message to your player base.
If you also have a concert coming up on top of your promotion, it’s important to give appropriate weight to each message. There are a number of things to consider when determining which message should carry more weight or if they should be equal. One example is taking into account the revenues and expenses associated with each. Another is if one has been advertised in the market already or both are being introduced at the same time. If one has more revenue potential or significantly greater expense, then the goal may be ensuring that message has more reach and frequency. If that message has been in market for some time and a second message is being introduced, you might pop that second message for a bit to seed the market and then settle back into the primary message taking a higher weight.
Since messaging around promotions and events has an expiration on their timing, established brand and amenity-based messaging should be balanced against them. The volume can be increased or decreased based on the importance of other messages. Unless there is a number of events happening that cause you to back off of general branding, it’s important to keep that core message going, even if it is at a lesser volume.
When combining messages in the market, it is easy to see how they can end up competing with each other. Developing a strategy that allows for proper layering and appropriate adjustments is a key part to any overall messaging strategy.