The Raving Engagement Laboratory: The Results Are In!

Jerry Epstein

How a casino-specific gamification promotion was adapted to an industry conference, and what marketers can learn from that

In the months leading up to Raving’s 20th National Indian Gaming Analytics & Marketing Conference and Raving NEXT this past January, the team here at Engaged Nation had been noticing a trend developing, based on our conversations with current and potential casino clients. Many small or mid-sized regional tribal casinos were experiencing greater difficulty generating awareness, interest and participation in their monthly on-floor promotions. And feedback from casino marketers indicated that using traditional methodologies, like single touchpoint emails and direct mail, were becoming less effective. Our suspicion that this situation wasn’t limited to just our smaller sample size was resoundingly confirmed at some of the sessions and from speaking with countless casino marketers who attended the Raving conference. Like our current clients, casino marketing teams are beginning to understand that ongoing, direct digital engagement with their players can serve to reverse this trend and/or increase the return of promotions that have historically been successful.

Obviously, this growing realization is very exciting for us, since our award-winning REACH System and field-proven REACH 30 product were developed to directly address this challenge. We describe REACH 30 as a 4-6 week customized “online to on-floor engagement sprint” that is specifically designed to drive awareness, participation, and ultimately visits to a property. How? With customized “edutaining” activities that produce engagement and excitement 24/7 during the entire promotional period. The results below from one 6-week promotion generated this property’s most successful online to on-floor conversion ever and their most successful Sunday in more than six months with:

  • 20,000+ unique online participants
  • $1.6 million in net revenue
  • 16,000+ on property visits during the 6-week online event
  • More than 2,000 incremental visits for the property grand finale event
  • $200,000 in net revenue lift during the grand finale on-property event

We’re sure that you’ll recognize how impressive those numbers are, but you may be wondering what this has to do with the Raving conference and our participation as a sponsor. Let’s take a look.

As a strategic partner with Raving, we began brainstorming with them many months before the conference about how we could enhance the experience of all the conference attendees and take it to another level. What became clear was that a hybrid version of our aforementioned REACH 30 would be an ideal way to raise awareness and excitement for everything going on at Raving NEXT and, more importantly, drive online to onsite participation for a conference-ending prize event – just like we do for a casino and its players. It was from this that Raving Play was born.

In the same way that we initially engage with a casino’s player database, registrants of the conference were invited to participate in Raving Play online via a gamified email. When they reached the customized site, participants were greeted with information about the conference, including links to the keynote speakers, presentations, workshops, conference registration, sponsor logos, a floor map of the booths, and much more.

In addition, players were able to earn virtual currency, called eBucks, and drawing entries for the $10,000 Raving Riches grand finale event by playing all the same types of games and activities that we use for casino players. In a similar fashion, participants were able to redeem their eBucks for discounts on products, services, and other prizes provided by the conference vendors.

The content for the games and activities was created by using key conference information whenever possible. We even used headshots of the keynote speakers and sponsor logos for our “edutaining” Match 3 and Memory Match games. We also created and beta-tested a number of new activities. One, called Blackout Bingo, required conference attendees to visit all the vendor booths for a code that checked off a square on their bingo card when it was entered in Raving Play. This same game is now being used to drive players to different areas of our clients’ properties.

But the biggest challenge for the Engaged Nation team was not building the platform, creating the finale drawing contest, or even adapting content for the various daily earning methods from the typical casino-specific to an industry conference. It was modifying our REACH 30 platform from a 4 to 6-week engagement “sprint” to essentially a 3-day conference engagement “100 yard dash” with the Bonus Code Networking program. This was truly a beta test for us that we were excited to undertake.

As is the case whenever there is a beta test, there were a few technical glitches here and there along the way. At the same time, those of us on the Engaged Nation and Raving teams were thrilled with the results generated by Raving Play. Here are just a few:

  • 307 unique participants
  • 4.36 sessions per participant
  • 12,975 games and activities played
  • 9 minutes and 12 seconds average session duration

But the one that really defied typical behavior was the participation level for the $10,000 Raving Riches drawing. More than 100 industry professionals – who, just like you, clearly know how these on-floor promos work – showed up for the drawing. Even more impressive was the fact that we held the drawing as the LAST event late in the afternoon on the LAST day of the conference. And while nobody won the $10,000 prize, it was clear that the conversion from the digital program to the final event turned out a record number.

Because of the success of the Raving Play beta-test, we are already working with our strategic partners at Raving to improve and enhance Raving Play as an ongoing key element of their marketing efforts. We’re excited for new elements that will be incorporated in the future.

We’ll leave you with this final thought: If our REACH 30 platform can draw one-third of all the online participants at an industry conference to a grand finale on-floor promotion, imagine how successful we can be for you and your property’s on-floor campaigns.

Jerry Epstein