Is Social Media Worth All the Hype?

Posted on: August 16, 2011

There’s a lot of buzz these days about social media and its use in business. In casino marketing, email blasts are beginning to replace the old standard of postcards and self-mailers to invite guests to special events. Room offers are being sent through email. Special deals are being “tweeted” and “facebooked” (sidebar: interesting that tweeted and facebooked are now very well known verbs in the English language) so friends and followers can obtain the same deals, or maybe better deals, than loyal gaming customers. However, because social media has become such an overnight success, I am left to wonder if anyone has really taken the time to evaluate whether these online tactics are actually more beneficial, or have a higher response/success rate than snail mail?

I came across an article that addressed this point. At a recent Casino Marketing Conference, three marketing professionals argued that social media is not worth all the hype it is receiving. When it comes down to what your customer really wants, the most important things are as follows:

1. Program Transparency: Every casino tracks and rewards players differently, and customers want to know how they can maximize their rewards. The most successful tracking systems allow customers to readily view and track their points and comps. In a tiered system, they want to know how to reach the next level. And when they receive rewards or offers, they want an easy way to redeem their offers, rather than a bogged down system full of long lines and paperwork.

2. Free stuff: Ok, clearly everyone likes free stuff. But, for example, having a free tournament with a decent prize structure versus having a tournament where a guest has to pay, but with a higher payoff will end up being more attractive to the majority of guests, and will not cost you as much. Focus on the free. What kind of promotions can you run that will benefit the most guests and will still not cost you an arm and a leg to execute. Which leads me to…

3. Creativity: This goes back to one of my previous posts about chasing your competitors. Customers want something new and different. They like new ideas and creative promotions, rather than the same ideas that your competitors are promoting down the street. Simply copying an idea that you think is successful won’t cut it with gaming customers who have so many choices in the marketplace.

4. Direct mail vs. social media: It seems that direct mail is the way to go. Customers value room offers and offers with high dollar values. They also like calendars, so they can plan their trips in advance. Of the almost 40 million people who check social media sites and email several times a day, few are actually gaming customers and even fewer actually hold value for your business. Also, casino databases do not have comprehensive email information for their customers, and often many of the email addresses are incorrect.

Do you think that social media will eventually phase out traditional “snail mail” direct mail campaigns? Or do you think that direct mail will always be an important part of the casino business?


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This blog is devoted to the gaming industry news and information - keeping you up to date on the happenings in the gaming world. My personal expertise lies in event planning and entertainment in casinos.

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