Marketing Strategy
What Casino Marketing Can Teach You About Building Long-Term Customer Relationships

What Casino Marketing Can Teach You About Building Long-Term Customer Relationships

December 27, 2019
4 min read

A lot of this site has unique marketing insight learned from some of the top marketing strategists in their industry. You can learn unique strategies from tech giants and startups on content marketing, from the mortgage industry on competitive paid search, from healthcare organizations about the power of empathy, or social strategies from leading fashion brands.

One industry that recently got on my radar was the casino world and how those marketers have an extreme upper-hand when creating long-term customer relationships. Customers who come back not only deliver more lifetime value, but they give the brand a boost by sharing that affinity with others.

But building those relationships isn’t as simple as pulling a lever and hoping for a series of 7s. Casino marketers spend enormous amounts of resources trying to understand the differences between one-time gamblers and repeat players.

Quick Takeaways:

  • Casinos can build loyalty by appealing to customers’ basic instincts and emotions.
  • Freebies and gifts are instrumental in attracting customers to casinos.
  • Not everyone has the same propensity for gambling. Segment customers by demographics.
  • Gambling is not a social good. Establish deep relationships with and contribute regularly to your local communities.

Whatever your personal beliefs about casinos, you can’t deny that they’re masters of customer retention. Even in Las Vegas, few gamblers spend tens of thousands of dollars on their first visit. High rollers know they have options, so casino marketing focuses on making top customers feel comfortable.

What Is Casino Marketing?

Casinos attract some of the most loyal customers who tend to come back again and again. Marketing to these customers requires appealing to their emotions to get them in the door.

For example, testimonials can be a huge catalyst to get those high-dollar clients to visit. When someone wins big, the casino itself is more than happy to announce it. The reason is that it helps customers see themselves in that person’s shoes: “I could win, too” is the single most powerful motivation to keep playing.

Once you get them in the door, there are some key on-site tactics to keep them at your establishment. People who spend a lot of time at casinos are looking for more than games. Patrons get hungry after a few hours of playing, they grab a drink at the bar after a big win or loss, or they invite family members to see a live show on-site. Casino marketers know non-gaming attractions keep players on the property.

Each of those are general casino marketing techniques. How, exactly, do casinos cater to their top customers?

Tips From Casino Marketers

Casino marketers stack the deck for long-term customer relationships in five ways:

1. Be generous.

Complimentary rewards, often called “comps,” are a hallmark of casino marketing. Yet only 42% of companies across industries give to customers or prospects, according to gift marketing expert John Ruhlin, who works with several major Casinos on important customer nurturing.

Free rooms, drinks, and meals are the most common “comps” given by casinos. For those at the very top end of the spectrum, though, casinos gift everything from cutlery to vacation packages.

Think about what your customers want most: If you’re an outdoor brand like REI, some complementary tent stakes might go a long way. For B2B companies, go for gifts working professionals would enjoy: a massage gift card or housekeeper credit could be just the ticket.

2. Invite them to events.

Another way to make your best customers feel like VIPs is to give them the inside scoop on brand events. Chances are, repeat customers also have a lot in common with one another. Why not get them together for a night of fun?

When Primm Valley Resort & Casino has a concert coming up, it pushes Facebook ads to customers who’ve liked the band on social media. Not only does doing so send a signal to customers that Primm Valley Resort & Casino is thinking of them, but it brings them in the door for pre- or post-concert gambling.

3. Dig into demographic preferences.

Although they share a gambling interest, not all casino goers are the same. Research suggests that Boomers and Gen Xers spend around 80% of their casino money on slots and table games — leaving 20% for food and entertainment — while Millennials spend about 30% on gambling and 70% on non-gaming services.

Look for demographic similarities between your top customers. Cross-reference those with their spending habits. Invest first in the products or services sought by your biggest fans.

If you’re a grocery chain, for instance, are working parents your bread and butter? A glance at their buying behaviors may suggest that they’re looking for ready-made meals. Stock up on those, and then check whether those shoppers spend more.

4. Highlight community contributions.

Most high rollers know just how much money they’re spending. Although it’s fun for them, they also want to see that money do good in their community. Much casino marketing centers around sharing those benefits.

Pennsylvania may not be a gambling center, for instance, but its 12 casinos generate more than $6 billion in economic activity each year. Tax revenues from those properties produce an equally impressive $2.4 billion.

Make big spenders feel good about doing business with you. Charitable donations are good, but in-kind contributions are even better. Invite your top customers to join your team for a day of service, or offer to match their donations to a charity of your choice.

5. Partner up.

Even the most ardent of gamblers do more than gamble. Casino marketers know that, so they partner up with other companies in order to cut deals for high-value customers.

For that very reason, Caesars Entertainment Corporation, a casino conglomerate, just extended a 20-year partnership with hospitality group Wyndham Destinations. Caesars customers get special prices on Wyndham’s travel and entertainment services, while Wyndham can market to Caesars’ customers.

Think about what other brands or products are popular with your top customers. Be sure, though, that you have something to trade, like a marketing list or a discount on your own products, before proposing a partnership.

People don’t repeatedly put their money in machines without a good reason. Deal yourself a winning hand by applying these five casino marketing techniques to your own customer retention strategy.

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Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula", and Founder of Marketing Insider Group. Recognized as a Top Content Marketing expert and Digital Marketing Leader, Michael leverages his experience from roles in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as his leadership in leading teams and driving growth for thriving startups. Today, Michael delivers empowering keynotes on marketing and leadership, and facilitates actionable workshops on content marketing strategy. Connect with Michael today.

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