The traditional means of getting promotions in casino patrons’ hands hasn’t changed much (if at all) in the last few years.  As a matter of fact, it really hasn’t changed much in any other industry either.  Vehicles such as direct mail, email marketing campaigns and phone campaigns are employed on a regular basis by marketers everywhere.  And why not?  No need to reinvent the wheel, right?

Yes and no.

All of the above vehicles work, but they have a common downside – a flaw not easily discerned if not examined with a fresh eye from a different perspective.  These vehicles have a dependency that renders them effective only up to a point.  The reality is that every business has limits on the amount of time and budget they can expend on delivering promotions to their current and prospective customers.  Even if all marketing campaign cylinders are firing as planned, only a relatively small number of customers (or prospective customers) can be reached.  What’s more, there is often a substantial time lag between a customer’s triggering behavior – the behavior that prompts the business to send out a promotion – and the business’ follow-up promotional message.  And it’s during that lag time that the current or prospective customer may choose to make the decision to go to a competitor.

Northern Quest, a gaming property located outside of Spokane, Washington realized they needed a promotion solution that would give them a leg up over their competitors while creating a population of loyal players.  As is often the case in many situations, success can sometimes be found by simply taking a new look at the old way you do things.  What they found, and how they addressed it, proved to be a game changer for the way they deliver promotions to their slot players.

They sought a solution that would alleviate the time, budget and time lag issues that hampered even the best of their promotions.  At the end of their search they implemented a promotion/bonusing tool that allows them to reach out to each of their players individually across the entire slot floor of 1800 games.  The difference between how their promotions were designed and deployed in the past and how they’re currently handled now has been like night and day, a true game changer for their marketing department.

They decided to go with a promotion/bonusing system that delivers coupons directly into the hands of the slot player, in real time.  This software system speaks to players in a manner they can easily understand and respond to, a coupon dispensed directly to them from the machine they are playing.  With the ability to speak to both carded and uncarded players, the massive flexibility of the system allows their marketing team to be creative and communicate with their guests in an almost limitless variety of ways as each promotion is tailored to the specific needs of each guest.   Implementation of the system has   allowed them do provide bonuses and free play coupons, something they were previously unable to previously.

From an infrastructure standpoint, the system interfaced well with their existing slot system.   It has a high degree of flexibility, and will work with any slot system, regardless of manufacturer, should the casino choose to switch systems in the future.

Results after implementation were dramatic and continue to be so.   New member enrollments in their players club increased significantly, with a 27% increase in enrollments (as compared to the previous six month average) the first two months of use.  That works out to approximately 600 new enrollments per month.  In addition, their rated play percentage has grown beyond pre-launch expectations with a 4.3% increase in the first three months of use (as compared to the previous six month average).

While the numbers and percentages are impressive, there have been other changes as equally impressive.  One of the most striking transformations has been a change in the behavior of carded players who receive a randomly awarded “cash” ticket.  The cash tickets are an integral part of the new program branding the casino rolled out to coincide with the implementation of the promotion/bonusing system.  On average the system is providing over 400 tickets a day in amounts of anywhere from $5 to $500.  On the days when a player wins a cash ticket, they increase their playing time and average spend by significant margins, well above what can be accounted for from their cash ticket winnings.

Of particular interest is the fact that the amount the players win from the cash ticket seems to have little impact on their overall behavior.  For many players just having the experience of receiving the award tickets right at their slot machine provides them with a fulfilling experience that they will continue to play for to recreate.   Instant gratification is a strong motivator, and all the more reason to keep coming back for more.