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THE 7 THINKING HATS OF A CASINO MARKETING MANAGER

Hello to everyone! I`d like to start my presentation for the Marketing in Gamblin Forum 2018 with an evaluation and imagination exercise.

Let's suppose that you own a land based casino or resort, or gambling halls,  or a sports betting agency or a even an online casino website.

How satisfied are you with the marketing part of your business?

How important do you think the marketing is for your business success?

And the 3rd question is: What is the first things thatvare coming into your mind about John Lennon?

Maybe you'll say that  John Lennon is one of the 4 Beatles and that one of the most popular songs composed by him it`s called “Imagine”

And now comes what I call the “John Lennon Moment”: Imagine how it would be like for marketing to work out perfectly, with optimal resources and maximum results! Imagine how would you feel to have someone in your team who knows, who can, who wants and has the passion to efficiently and professionally organize the marketing in your casino!

Or, how John would say: “Imagine!”  Because if you want a simple personal definition, casino marketing means looking at our business, imagine how it should be and make it real.

 

In my presentation today I was inspired by this book that I very much appreciate.

In 1985 Edward Bono was publishing one of his most popular books “6 Thinking Hats”, a quick thinking method, simple and efficient, used by everyone nowadays. De Bono is famous for his contribution in developing people's ability to think and be creative, being the one who launched the methods of lateral and parallel thinking.

The book in the picture starts from the hypothesis that our main difficulty is confusion, because we are often overwhelmed by information, feelings, logic, hope, creativity, prudence, emotions and numbers. Hence the 6 hats of 6 different colors, which the author invites us to wear one at a time in order to separate information from emotions, the logic from hope and the prudence from creativity.

Being inspired by this book, I chose to talk in the following about the “thinking hats” that a casino marketing manager should wear.

Before I start, allow me to make a short statement which is also a promise. You will see on the screen an indicator bar that shows how many slides I have covered from my presentation. This way, you can anticipate more easily how much longer it takes and I promise I will finish the presentation when the indicator bar is complete.

So, here are the 7 Thinking Hats of a casino marketing manager the way I see them after more than 18 years of activity in this position. They are not the only ones, of course, but I chose these because are the ones we wear – metaphorically – the most. These are the ones that show us how we must change the roles we play on the professional stage, because being a casino marketing manager is a more complete and complex job that one might think at first sight.

From the very beginning I want to specify that there is no order of hats depending on their importance. So, I suggest we start with the White Hat that we wear when we are in the “Researcher / Explorer” position.

A passionate Marketing Manager always has a series of questions, such as:

  • Who are we? Who do we want to be? How is our casino perceived from the outside? But from the inside?
  • Who are our customers? How many tipes of them there are? Where are they coming from? Why did they choose our casino? How do they get to us? What are their expectations? How satisfied are they with the services we privide? Which are their most often complaints? What do they say about us? What do our reports and numbers say?
  • How could we have more customers? What kind of customers would we like to have? How can we communicate with them? What should we do to increase customer satisfaction?
  • How is the casino activity organised? Why is like this and not other way? What is the result of it now? How can we organise it better? How easy or difficult is to change it? What would be the results if we make the changes? What should we start with? What is important? What is urgent?
  • What resources do we have? What resources do we need? From whom can we get it? Who can help us? Who interposes?
  • Who do we colaborate with? Who do we compete with? Which are our arguments and strengths? Which are our weaknesses?
  • Which are the news in our field? New technologies? New competitors? What new devices have been launched on the market? How do our customers use them? How can we use them?

With this hat, math is not an option but an obligation. Numbers, statistics, charts, trends, mathematical models, and formulas are essential aspects of casino marketing.

With these being said, I'm taking my hat off in front of you and please receive this surprise gift from Game World team.

No matter how interesting the White Hat is, we can`t wear it too long because there are still 6 more hats waiting for their turn. One of them is the Orange Hat that we wear when we must prove our creativity and come with new ideas and projects as "Inventor / Innovator"

It is obvious that one of the main marketing expectations is creativity and innovation. And this is ok when the novelties we propose are anchored in the casino reality, are consistent with our activity field and, more important than anything, are thought from the perspective of customers. 

As a marketing manager, one should be:

  • Focused on change.
  • Willing to give up your comfort zone and make others do the same.
  • Capable to adapt your casino status to actions and changes that you`ve seen in other casinos or even other areas of activity from which we may learn: hotels, restaurants, clubs, hypermarkets, airlines, airports etc.
  • Incapable of copying 100 % what you see on others.
  • Eager to test new actions and then appreciate them objectively so you can select those that have potential, improve them and apply them again with better results.
  • Interested in having results and profitability, and not in being spectacular, funny or interesting.
  • Open to rely on the creative potential of your marketing team and other casino colleagues; many of the successful actions originate in comments received from customers, directly or given by front line colleagues; or in the suggestions of colleagues from different departments.

 

The "Orange Hat" belongs to the "Leader"

In marketing nothing is made alone and the importance of your team is huge:

  • Build your team with caution and requirement. If you are not satisfied, don`t hesitate to make necessary changes, but that doesn`t necessarly mean giving up on people, but making them work the way you need.
  • Say often and sincerely the magic words: Please! Thank you! Very well! Congratulations!
  • Be present, listen, understand, discuss. 
  • Appreciate the effort and performance, don`t leave unnoticed the achievements, show how much their work matter for the casino success, give constructive feedback.
  • Help your colleagues to professionaly and personally develop and insist for them to work as a team.
  • Choose to focus on the possitive side of things: „Every problem has a solution, NOT every solution has a problem”
  • Try to be a model and an exampe for your team and don`t ask them to make things you don`t make.
  • Create systems, methods and procedures to help them approach and solve the most frequent works.
  • Trust your team, delegate and observe how they work in your absence. A performing manager is one whose team works just as well when he is not present.
  • Keep your promises and do your best to earn the trust and respect of your team.

The Black Hat you must wear when you play teh "Negotiator"

Very often in the position of a Marketing Manager we are in the situation of having to negotiate. Offers, rewards and customer services, budgets and resources with top management colleagues, working conditions and salaries with the team members, collaboration details with managers in other departments, prices and delivery times with suppliers and collaborators, and so on.  

Some ideas in this regard are:

- Marketing is an investment not an expense.

- Measure and demonstrate the results of marketing actions, focus on profitability and ROI.

- Adopt the Win - Win negotiation style. In our case it is not a zero-sum game, meaning that if someone wins the bargain, the other one loses. The goal is to have better results in order to have a bigger "pie" that we can all share.

- Prepare your negotiations carefully and take note of the negotiating objectives and partners. I can`t say that I miss it, but I certainly have learned enormously from the negotiations with the organizers of the Israeli and Italian junk groups with whom I have collaborated.

- Learn and apply the negotiation techniques, influence, persuasion and pre-suasion. Study Robert Cialdini!

- Negotiate with determination when you must, but never compromise with what is not   negotiable: fairness, professional ethics, brand values, reputation, work quality, given promises.

 

The "Pink Hat" makes you "The Communicator"

Marketing is first of all communication and here there is no secret: success means to deliver the right message to the right person, in the right moment, in the right way and through the right channels. Easy to say and almost impossible to make it perfectly. 

However, some suggestions for the moments when wearing the Pink Hat would be:

  • Try to be as visible, as present, informed, prepared and available for communication. It is OK to send Whats Up messages, but nothing is more effective than face-to-face conversations.
  • The office is the least recommended place to make casino marketing!
  • Listen before you speak.
  • Don`t forget that hearing is not listening, and listening is not the same as understanding
  • Separate facts from feelings and emotions.
  • Focus on dialogue not monologue, ask questions and try always adressing the problems to the one you are talking to; in other words, talk about him not about you. Mabe it doesn`t seem, but it`s a big difference between saying: „Casino awards 10 prizes” and saying: „You have chances to be among the 10 winners”
  • Marketing actions will never be successful if not communicated to customers and employees and it`s your responsibility as a marketing manager to organize this process as efficiently as possible.
  • Attention to commercials: their purpose is to correctly inform and convince, not to be spectacular, intelligent, funny or eligible for creativity awards given in the advertising industry.
  • Sometimes you are in the position of representing the company in front of different publics and so you must master the Public Relations techniques. Communication with media is never simple and easy (present people of course are excluded!) and you must be very careful when your saying or doing gets "on screen" or "on print"
  • An image says more than 1.000 words.
  • Non-verbal communication transmits much more information than para-verbal and verbal communication.
  • Romanian language is not an option but an obligation. If you do not know how to speak and write correctly you can not aspire to be a good communicator.
  • Foreign languages ​​really help, especially English. Don`t forget that the major annual events in our global field are in London and Las Vegas.

Put the Green Hat  on when you need to be a "Professor/ Trainer"

In order to be a good trainer you must be first a good student. Thus, the first condition to share to others of your knowledge is for them to be convinced of having things to learn from you.

  • Never stop learning and stay informed about the latest casino and related news. Always strive to be better, know more and apply the new things you`ve learned.
  • For marketing actions to be successful, it is necessary to be communicated to colleagues involved in their execution, but this is not enough. They need to understand their role, the best way to perform these actions and, last but not least, contribute to general success. For example, there is no point in advertising, promoting or giving prizes to guests, if the ability to work with customers is generally missing / weak.
  • Therefore, colleagues need specific training for each department: casino operations - games and live slots - reception, casino hosts, F & B, even security and surveillance.
  • A good trainer is characterized by elements such as:
    • The Knwledge he has
    • The prfessional and trainer abilities
    • The pening of sharing his knowledge
    • The experience
    • The training methd and tools.
    • Charisma
    • Reputatin
    • Language
    • Hw up to date he is with the latest news
  • It is generally believed that people retain:
    • 10% of what they read
    • 20% of what they hear
    • 30% of what they see
    • 50% of what they hear and see in the same time
    • 80% of what they say
    • 90% of what they say and do in the same time

One of the strategies that lead to success is specialization and focus on a limited field, being the customers` first choice. Similarly, a marketing manager who specializes and becomes an expert on his field is an advantage for the casino.

The "Blue Hat" belongs to "The Expert"

If you aspire to become an expert as casino marketing manager my recommendations in this regard are:

- Understand the principles of games and casino activity

- Understand how a casino works as a whole and what are the interactions between departments at all levels.

- Understand the challenges and skills required for casino jobs. Whoever thinks it's easy to be a roulette dealer should be able to calculate in mind the result of: 35 x 19 + 17 x 21! (the correct answer is 1.022)

- Identify the main casinos` success factors and how they manifest in your casino.

- Understand the specificity of casino marketing and how our classic marketing and management tools and methods apply in our field.

- Inform yourself about developments in your field; technology, IT, communication, internet, they all have an extraordinary dynamics, and if you don`t follow them you will not be able to take advantage of the benefits their development offers.

- Read everything you can about your activity field (starting with Casino Life & Business Magazine)

- Make the effort to correctly and objectively evaluate yourself; Perhaps you did not know, but 84% of French men consider themselves "above average lovers" and 93% of American students think they are "above average drivers". Unfortunately, math disappoints them because only 50% can be "above average".

 

These are the 7 hats that marketing managers wear the most. There are certainly others, but what I wanted to convey is a simple idea: marketing is an essential aspect of any business and even more of a casino business. It is a combination of art, method, logic, talent and inspiration, and, in order to be successful in this field, determination, passion and effort is necessary.

Finally, I included in my presentation 7 quotes from 7 authors. I had much to learn by reading their books..

 

"The success of any casino is truly tied to how effective your Marketing is"

Michael McNamee / Understanding Casino Marketing

 

"Marketing is not a department”

Harry Beckwith / Selling the Invisible

 

„Ads are not written to entertain”

John Romero / Casino Marketing

 

„A casino is a happening. No other place has such an incredible non-stop excitement”

Robert L. Shook / Jackpot

 

“Our business is gambling and all that implies. It’s the gaming experience. It’s lust and greed and anticipation. It’s fun and excitement and adrenalin. It’s hoping to win and expecting to lose, and above else, wanting to have a good time. It’s about possibilities because that’s what we sell. Possibilities”

Steve Browne / Gambling and Service

 

„There are as many reasons for gambling as there are gamblers and each has his own preferences for casino treats”

Deke Castleman / Whale Hunt in the Desert

 

„The difference between a good casino executive and a great casino executive is about 10.000 customer interactions”

Dennis Conrad / Conrad on Casino Marketing

 

The 8th quote is my choice of answer to Mihnea Popescu's question for this year's Forum:

"How to attract new players?"

And in this respect the answer is no longer a secret and I am referring to John Romero, the author of two great books for our field of activity: Casino Marketing and Secrets of Casino Marketing:

 

“Driving casino traffic is an art dominated by promise, clarity and brevity”

John Romero / Secrets of Casino Marketing

 

As you can see the pointer bar is not full yet, but I will finish the presentation before it is completed. It's my choice to do a little more than I promised. Thank you all for your participation and thanks again to my team who inspired me and helped me to organize this presentation, which you can also find on www.andreifrimescu.ro

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