How to create successful marketing strategies and avoid wasted resources
I’m lucky enough to travel the country and help casino companies revive their marketing strategies and departments. It’s a gratifying opportunity to help nice people toward the road to success.
Along the way, it occurred to me that evolving marketing at a mature property is more like Moneyball and less like Babe Ruth.
Let me explain.
For those of you who are not familiar, Moneyball is a 2003 book by Michael Lewis and a film starring Brad Pitt, about Oakland A’s manager Billy Bean’s analytical approach to assembling a team of undervalued players despite Oakland’s small budget.
“Marketing Moneyball” is the use of Moneyball-like tactics while exploiting inefficiencies in the face of competitive disadvantages.
With mature casino companies, big revenue home runs are often scored as new products are introduced. Or will arrive again only with the introduction of disruptive technology or breakthrough database or promotional programs.
Like Moneyball, evolving a marketing department is about analytics and placing the right players in the right slots in the lineup. In baseball, they call getting on base with singles, doubles, base steals and triples, “small ball.”
We’re looking for the singles, doubles and triples by finding edges and advantages to improve how each marketing program works. The highest revenues are earned when programs are running with efficiency, with the right people in the lineup and using best practices.
As we look to evolve marketing at mature casinos, we try to get on base more than swing for the fences! Trying to boost short-term revenue with a home run strategy often leads to overspending and disappointment.
Going ‘Round the Horn
To understand “Moneyball Marketing,” let’s go ’round the horn and see which programs score.
Singles: To get on base with a single, first review existing strategic documents to ascertain the present direction of the company and determine baseline criteria. Here we are attempting to deliver new marketing strategies through appraisal of existing market data and planning documents. The Moneyball here is to review all pertinent documents, such as business plans and budgets, marketing plans; database, media and digital plans, to determine where your marketing strategy stands today.
The Double Plays in Doubles: To reach second base, you must understand how marketing departments function.
The next step is to assess each marketing department’s programs to determine if improvements can result from more efficient and effective procedures. Understanding how each department functions can mean the difference between successful marketing and wasted marketing resources. It takes experience to investigate the inner workings of each marketing department and understand what’s working and what’s not working … and why.
Triples: The big swing for mature properties is to perform analysis in key areas that will uncover red flags at your property. Below are the kinds of analysis that move runners around the bases.
Develop a competitive analysis to understand your property’s current market rank. Perform a database valuation, including player segmentation, guest acquisition and retention, player attrition/churn, free play analysis and reinvestment.
Evaluate your loyalty program to review loyalty club tier offers and investment rates. Create a free play promotional benefit analysis, target market analysis; market share of wallet, player-based hotel yield management analysis; promotional and comp reinvestment analysis, entertainment and event ROI.
Home Runs: In the book Moneyball, the essential strategy that changed baseball was the use of analytics to uncover players whose skills were unappreciated and place them in the lineup.
In “Marketing Moneyball,” the home runs really come from putting the best marketing team members in slots where they can perform.
I can’t overstate that the key to success in marketing is your people.
One of the biggest traps for a company is to place untrained marketing team members in positions and expect them to gain knowledge on their own. The keys to making marketing work through people is a progressive training program, outside training and attending seminars.
Assess your current management’s effectiveness and establish leadership tracks for current marketing personnel. Create a map for growth based on qualitative benchmarks established in a success plan that includes training and personal development.
The real money in “Marketing Moneyball” is to do the hard work of uncovering your inefficiencies and not take the big swings looking for dingers and round-trippers.
Appraise existing market data and planning documents
Know what’s working and what’s not working and why
Perform analysis in key areas that will uncover red flags
Create progressive training programs for your team