Tracking Campaigns

How smart marketers successfully track their branding and advertising campaigns

As casino marketers, we often hear and use the word “branding,” but what exactly are we talking about? And what is the difference between marketing and branding?

In a nutshell, marketing is what you do and branding is what you are. Branding is the promise that you make to your customers. It tells them what they can expect from your casino, and it differentiates you from your competitors. An effective brand strategy gives you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets, so we really can’t afford NOT to understand branding.

One way to measure how well your brand is performing is to conduct a brand tracking survey. This measures your brand’s health by asking how aware consumers are of your brand, what they feel about your brand, what they expect from you and your competitors, and whether they plan to spend money at your casino venues.

If you’re a casino marketer, you know it’s important to monitor your brand health so that you can stay competitive. Tracking your brand’s health can also help you measure how you do over time, as well as measure the impact of marketing and brand advertising campaigns.

How a brand tracking survey can help with advertising campaigns

Let’s say that you’re planning to run an advertising campaign to attract more visitors from your secondary or tertiary market area. The ads will run on TV, radio, and you have a discount offer in your monthly mailer. To measure success, you can look at revenues and offer redemptions, but how did the campaign influence your target market? How do consumers feel about your brand as a result of the campaign?

When you conduct a brand tracking survey in conjunction with your advertising campaigns, you get a much better sense of the overall impact, and also get customer insights to help inform future campaigns. The key is to find out how consumers feel about your brand before you launch your ads, then reassess after. That way, you can see if (and how) your new brand strategy is affecting your target market.

If you want to create a comprehensive brand survey, make sure that you cover the following areas:

Brand awareness

Brand awareness is how familiar consumers are with your brand. If, for example, someone is asked to recommend the best casino in your market, which casino will they suggest? Find out where you stand with consumers with brand awareness questions.

Brand usage

How frequently do consumers visit your casino venues? Are they visiting your competitors more or less than they visit you? Understanding consumers’ brand usage will help you see where you stand in your market, and provide competitive analysis to help you find the right niche.

Brand attributes

What do consumers think your brand should do for them? Are you meeting their expectations? What benefits and pitfalls do they associate with casinos in general? A part of the reason consumers may think positively of your brand is based on how well you fulfill their needs. Getting consumers’ opinions about your brand attributes can help you understand where you’re doing well, and what you need to do in order to improve your message.

Visitation intent

Include questions that ask consumers whether or not they’re planning on visiting your casino in the future. Comparing visitation intent before and after an advertising campaign is a great way to see how you’re doing.

Brand usage

With brand usage questions, you want to measure if people have visited your casino in the past, if they are current customers, and how frequently they visit your casino. You should also ask if they’re visiting other casino brands, and what is driving those visits.
Who to ask about your brand (and how often)

Most consumer surveys today are conducted using online survey software, such as QuestionPro or Survey Monkey. These companies offer anonymous panels, which are people who have agreed to take surveys. You pay for each completed survey, and you can specify the characteristics of the respondents, such as age, gender, geographic location, income, and preference for gaming. This allows you to go outside your database in measuring how consumers in your target market feel about your casino in relationship to your competitors.

If your casino is in a quickly changing market, you should run brand tracking surveys on a quarterly basis. If your market is stable, you should run brand surveys once or twice a year. Whichever interval you choose, stay on a consistent schedule so that you can accurately monitor positive and negative trends, and so that your next brand advertising campaign will reach the right people at the right time and with the right message.

Deb Hilgeman, Ph.D.