At the end of 2022, 981 casinos were operating in the United States, according to American Gaming Association (AGA) data. The economic impact of casino gaming is undeniable, with the AGA attributing more than 230 billion dollars and 1.8 million jobs to the industry. In a rapidly expanding and increasingly competitive sector, your casino marketing strategy could make or break your business.
In this post, we’ll cover the value of building a comprehensive casino marketing strategy. We’ll explore what a marketing strategy really is, why it matters, and how to create one for your casino. Whether you’re new to gaming or looking for ways to reinvent your brand’s advertising, you’ve come to the right place.
Create a casino marketing strategy that works
What is a casino marketing strategy?
A marketing strategy entails all the marketing and advertising efforts businesses use to get customers in gaming chairs and keep them there. In addition to attracting visitors to the casino, a thoughtful casino marketing strategy aims to keep gaming patrons playing for longer and keep them coming back for more. Successful marketing campaigns help nurture consumer relationships.
Casino marketing strategies are more in-depth than a general to-do list. They outline what tactics, channels, and content styles venues will use to reach new audience members and retain current customers. From tourists and event planners to private parties and corporate gatherings, your marketing strategy outlines which pieces of business (i.e., market segments) you’re targeting, why you want to capture them, and how you intend to measure the success of your efforts.
The importance of building a marketing strategy
Establishing a cohesive marketing strategy helps keep teams on the same page. It details what your business intends to accomplish from a marketing standpoint and how to achieve it. In addition to naming significant sales goals, developing a marketing strategy enables teams to create step-by-step action plans and specific marketing campaigns to meet them. It establishes casino sales goals and helps keep your team on task, on track, and working toward a common goal.
What marketing strategies do casinos use?
Casinos choose marketing strategies based on advertising and revenue goals, target demographics, and customer preferences. Gaming-based businesses strive to meet consumers where they feel most comfortable using a variety of different marketing channels, including:
- Email marketing. A powerful form of direct mail marketing, this channel uses email to promote the casino, games, and events. Email marketing campaigns may include new product promotions, exclusive discounts, or a customer newsletter.
- Digital marketing. Advertisements on your phone, tablet, or another device are examples of digital marketing. This channel covers various forms of online marketing and digital content used to connect brands and customers via the Internet, including display ads, banner advertisements, pay-per-click ads, and search engine marketing campaigns.
- Content marketing. Similar to digital marketing, content marketing is related to online advertising materials, like blogs or video content. It covers the process of planning, building, and distributing marketing content through online channels. However, unlike digital marketing, the primary goal of content marketing is to stimulate interest in your business, not to promote it explicitly. Think brand awareness here.
- Social media marketing. Many companies use Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and other platforms to build their brand and interact with consumers. Create a viral hashtag campaign, branch out into influencer marketing, and boost sales by driving more traffic to the casino's website.
- Print marketing. Using printed marketing materials (e.g., newspapers, rack cards, flyers, magazines), casinos promote their businesses to consumers. Stickers, coupons, invitations, letters, and brochures are popular forms of print marketing collateral.
- Loyalty marketing. A player-focused marketing strategy, loyalty marketing is critical for casinos. Loyalty advertising promotes the casino’s loyalty or rewards program. These campaigns encourage consumers to continue using the casino’s services, boosting customer retention and increasing sales.
- Affiliate marketing. This advertising model relies on third-party retailers and publishers to generate traffic and drive more leads to your company and its products. Sales are generated through third-party referrals, for which the casino pays a commission. There are many affiliate marketing programs casinos can work with, including Gamesys Group Partners, BONS Partners, and 7StarsPartners.
- Co-branding. Whereas affiliate marketing focuses on opening a new revenue channel, co-branding is a marketing strategy that involves creating and fostering a real-world, living relationship. Business-to-business marketing, event sponsorships, and cross-promotional opportunities are examples of co-branded partnerships. This casino marketing strategy relies on relationships that may grow or change over time, while affiliate relationships require little to no maintenance.
Creating a casino marketing strategy in three simple steps
Although casino marketing strategies are complex, building one doesn’t have to be. Instead of running with the first campaign idea that comes to mind, come up with a game plan before getting started. Craft your casino’s marketing strategy in three easy steps.
1. Collect data and research
Before writing your marketing to-do list, do your homework. Get to know your customers, the market, and the competition. Compare and contrast your venue to other gaming facilities and casinos nearby. What do your properties have in common? What amenities and services do competitors offer that you do not?
After reviewing competing venues, research their advertising strategies. Complete an in-depth analysis of your competitors and their marketing efforts.
- Where does the competition advertise?
- Which types of content do they use in casino marketing campaigns?
- Are they advertising on a channel that your casino is not?
Figure out which market segments your competition is targeting. Have any consumer demographics been looked over? If so, that could open an avenue for your casino to shift market share.
2. Outline marketing objectives
Establish your overall business goals, including more than just revenue objectives. Do you want to increase memberships, expand the business, or break into hosting events? Are you striving to create a welcoming work culture that fosters personal development?
Set realistic, attainable short-term and long-term marketing goals. Short-term (or annual) goals might include improving cash flow, optimizing the casino’s win-per-device rate, or boosting loyalty club membership. Establish long-term goals like improving the casino’s community reputation, increasing market share (becoming the market leader), or solidifying your position as the leading entertainment destination in your region.
Use long-term casino goals to develop a mission statement. Moving forward, you can refer to the mission statement to ensure that all casino marketing strategies align with (i.e., in support of) larger brand initiatives.
3. Create a plan of action
Now that you know what you want to accomplish, you must develop a casino marketing strategy to achieve each goal. Outline the dates of various campaigns, who will work them, and what each employee will oversee. Decide which marketing channels each campaign will run on, how you’ll monitor them, and which metrics will be used to measure their success. Create step-by-step instructions for how each action will be performed, who will do it, and when.
9 casino marketing strategies that work
Drive website traffic, increase repeat casino visits, or build a more substantial partner network with these advertising tips.
1. Boost casino discoverability
Make increasing discoverability a central part of your casino marketing strategy. Build digital marketing campaigns that make it easier for customers to find the venue online.
Widen your audience reach with casino advertising that actually works, like search engine optimization, well-placed online advertisements, creative landing pages, and captivating social media pages. Look for ways to use sensory elements, like audio or short-form video content, in discovery-driven campaigns to increase your chance of grabbing consumers’ attention.
2. Design targeted marketing campaigns
Use the market research and data collected during the planning stage to pinpoint your target audience. Which customers spend the most time at your hotel? Which demographics would you like to attract? Travelers, gamblers, and holiday-seekers respond to different forms of marketing, primarily based on age and sourcing habits.
Although Gen. Xers and Baby Boomers spend most of their casino money (70%-80%) on games, younger age groups show opposing spending habits. For example, Millennials use approximately 70% of their casino budgets to cover non-gaming expenses, like travel, entertainment, and food. Create personalized marketing campaigns that speak to your target audience and appeal to what they want most.
3. Pursue groups and events
In addition to individual consumers, casino marketing should target significant revenue drivers, such as large groups or events. Casinos are popular venues for charity fundraisers and corporate events. They are also sought out for private parties, like bachelor and bachelorette events, birthday parties, and other celebrations.
Capture the attention of busy planners with all-in-one group and event packages. Include reserved seating, entertainment, and specialty services to streamline booking. Promote event space on the casino website, social media pages, and via email. Link a virtual tour of the property, and invite viewers to explore the casino online in photo realistic 3-D.
4. Explore sensory casino marketing
Some consumers are more attracted to visual advertisements, while others are drawn to audio or physical ads they can hold in their hands. Sensory marketing attracts customers by appealing to their primary senses. It uses sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell to capture consumers' attention. Multisensory advertisements appeal to multiple senses, making branding more captivating and memorable.
Experiential marketing is designed to elicit emotions from consumers and leave a lasting impression. By connecting to a viewer’s memories, thoughts, beliefs, and feelings, brands can emotionally connect with their customers. Advertising campaigns employing both strategies can create an engaging, memorable consumer experience.
5. Think beyond the gaming floor
Well-rounded casino marketing goes beyond promoting slot machines and table games; it reaches way beyond the gaming floor. Create marketing campaigns that advertise the atmosphere the casino offers. Strive to capture the venue’s energy and enthusiasm. Display food and beverage services, non-gambling entertainment, and event space to highlight all your business provides.
6. Serve consumers some social proof
Word-of-mouth marketing remains one of the most potent forms of advertising for any business. Consumers trust other consumers, which explains why so many of us turn to TripAdvisor, Yelp, and other review sites before deciding where to travel or which new restaurant to try. This concept is called “social proof” and revolves around the notion that consumers trust majority feedback.
Recently updated social proof reporting from HubSpot estimates that the average online shopper will read 10 customer reviews before purchasing a product or service. Look for ways to incorporate glowing reviews, event testimonials, and video recommendations from past visitors into your casino marketing strategy.
7. Pay attention to gaming trends
Stay ahead of the competition by keeping up with current and future gaming trends. Industry experts expect to see online gambling continue to expand, bringing in billions worldwide. Between 2020 and 2024, the online gambling market was projected to increase by $231.63 billion. However, with the rapid expansion of online gaming platforms—and new sites popping up daily—it could be more.
As gambling laws are rolled back or loosened in many states, there’s also been a significant rise in online sports betting, Esports, and crypto casinos. Keep a close eye on gaming trends that could affect your market to curb customer loss to online platforms. If you’re unsure how casino guests feel about online gambling, ask them! Send customers a survey inquiring about their mobile gaming habits, favorite sites, preferences, and so on.
8. Partner with outside businesses
Partner with a gaming tech startup business or esports team to reach a larger, more diverse audience. Branching out into online gambling services, entering the Esports realm, or adding a virtual reality (VR) component can widen your casino’s appeal and help set your facility apart from the competition. Seek partner businesses that could add a new entertainment element to your venue.
9. Incentivize repeat visits
Foster consumer loyalty by prioritizing the customer journey. Entice visitors to return to your casino time and time again by offering rewards that increase the perceived value of returning. Enable repeat customers to create custom profiles that log their preferences and buying habits.
Create personalized campaigns, promotions, games, and bonuses based on the behavioral patterns of each demographic. Design a tiered casino rewards program that offers more extensive visitor benefits for frequent visitors. The more guests stop by, the more money they spend, the more valuable their rewards will be.
Casino marketing FAQs
For more information on casino advertising and campaign ideas, we’re answering some of the most commonly asked questions about casino marketing strategies.
1. How much do casinos spend on marketing?
Marketing is one of a casino’s most significant expenses, with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Gaming Research and Review Journal noting that modern casino marketing costs can “easily exceed 20% of gaming revenue.” The amount each casino spends on advertising fluctuates based on its market, facilities, competitors, and other factors, like gaming trends and shifting consumer preferences. In 2022 alone, MGM Resorts International, one of the world's most widely recognizable casino brands, spent approximately $235 million on marketing and advertising.
2. What is a casino brand activation campaign?
A brand activation campaign is designed to drive particular consumer actions and build the brand’s image by connecting to customers on an intimate, personal level. Launching a brand activation campaign can help casinos form an emotional connection with their audience, securing their place in consumers’ minds. Run an activation campaign to introduce your casino to consumers and start planting seeds that enable them to have a positive experience with your brand.
3. Where do casinos gather customer data?
Casinos can reach more members of their target audience by identifying who their best consumers are and where they shop. Before launching marketing campaigns, casinos review consumer data and reporting to gain a deeper understanding of their customers. They rely on market research, data mining, ROI measurement, proximity reports, and guest reviews to learn more about who they’re attracting, who they want to, and where to find them.
Refresh your casino marketing strategy to remain competitive
If you want to remain a contender in the increasingly competitive gaming industry, your casino needs targeted marketing strategies made with high-quality content. Identify the types of content you want to create and the messages your audience wants to see. Discover more in the complete guide to successful casino marketing.