Which of these surveys should you be doing, and why?
Like most people, I love Wikipedia. I rely on it if I need to get a quick shot of knowledge without much effort. Sometimes though, a Wiki definition is way more than I need. For example, I looked up “marketing research” (because that’s what I do, so I wanted to see what Wiki had to say about it) and decided that, yes, I can do better.
You don’t have to take my word for it though. This is the first sentence of Wikipedia’s marketing research page: “Marketing research is the process or set of processes that links the producers, customers, and end users to the marketer through information – information used to identify and define marketing opportunities and problems; generate, refine, and evaluate marketing actions; monitor marketing performance; and improve understanding of marketing as a process.”
Say whaaat?! The rest of the topic in Wiki is just as hard to mentally digest, so I decided to condense a few key concepts for this article.
So here it is, a basic primer on some common types of marketing research that may be just what you need.
For a casino marketing person, the concept of marketing research is that you collect specific data to help you better understand your customers. By analyzing this data, you can be more successful in marketing.
Most marketing research is quantitative, such as surveys that measure how satisfied customers are, and the result is that you end up with numbers explaining “how many.” There is also qualitative research that explains “how” and “why.” Most research is quantitative, and focus groups are about the only qualitative research used by casinos. For example, if you conducted a satisfaction survey that showed a 50% reduction in the number of customers who say they are “satisfied” with your buffet, you might conduct a focus group to really delve into why customers are reporting less satisfaction and what you could do to change it.
The three most common types of quantitative market research conducted by casinos are Customer Satisfaction, Competitive Analysis, and Attitude & Awareness surveys. Your casino would probably benefit from all three types of research, so here is a quick review of each.
Customer Satisfaction Surveys
Customer satisfaction surveys measure how your customers rate every aspect of your operations. You may think that you’re doing great in certain areas, but your customers may think very differently. Just using comment cards or anecdotal feedback from customers to frontline staff is dangerous, because you could end up making decisions based on faulty information.
- Use this type of survey to determine what your strengths and weaknesses are from the viewpoint of your customers.
- I always include visitation questions asking what other casinos respondents visit, why they visit those casinos, and spending patterns at your casino and competitors. This tells you who your competitors are and what their appeal is.
- Ask survey respondents their age and gender so that you can compare differences between different segments.
- Recommended frequency is at the very least annually.
Competitive Analysis Surveys
Competitive analysis surveys help you understand precisely what you’re offering, and what your competitors are offering, to customers. You might be one of the few casino marketers who work at a property with no competition, but most casinos are in highly competitive markets. You’re trying to increase share of wallet to generate more visits at your casino and less at your competitors. The first step is conducting a competitive analysis of exactly what you and each of your top competitors are offering.
- Use this type of survey to drill down into your position in the market.
- List every aspect of your operations – club reinvestment percentages, senior days, military discounts, table game limits, valet, etc.
- Send an objective “shopper” to each property (including yours), and have that person rate each area.
- Raving uses a 100-point competitive review – you should also have this many points of measurement.
- You can supplement this with a quantitative survey sent to a sample from your database.
Attitude & Awareness Surveys
Attitude & awareness surveys can encompass many different areas – advertising, brand positioning, attribute ranking, and much more. At Raving, we tailor these to fit the customer: What do you want to know, and how will you use it? Here are some situations where an A&A survey would answer key questions:
- Use this type of survey if you’re planning a new ad campaign. You can measure awareness before and after to gauge campaign success.
- If you have a new competitor in the market or an existing competitor has made major changes, use this survey to find out what effect it has had on your property and customers.
- How well are you communicating with your customers, and how well are your competitors communicating? You spend a huge amount of money on advertising, direct mail, promotions, and other marketing initiatives – are you hitting home runs with your customers, or do you need to change your game?