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Six Ways to Use Market Research to Improve Your Business

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Why pictures of your players will drive more social engagement

We’re at the start of another year, so it seems like a good time to remind everyone about how market research can help you make better and more informed decisions about your casino marketing and operations. This article lists six types of research that you should consider adding to your plans so that you can boost performance in 2019.

1. BRANDING

Do you know how your guests perceive you? Does their image of who you are match with what you’re trying to project?

Branding research also compares your property with your competitors. Which casino is perceived as having the best guest service, best food venues, best entertainment? Is it you or someone else? This can be especially important if you or a competitor has added a new amenity or launched a new program. This type of activity can shift market positions.

You can also conduct consumer research to collect feedback on marketing content, such as your website, billboards, monthly mailers, promotions, and more. Do they align with and reinforce your brand image? How do your guests and potential guests perceive and rank your property’s messaging?

Most casinos can’t answer the questions I just listed. If your casino isn’t an expert on your own brand, then you should consider a brand survey to give you insight.

2. GUEST SATISFACTION

We get a huge amount of information about casino guests because we capture it when they use their players club card. But there is also important guest information that you can’t get from your database, such as how satisfied they are with your club benefits, your parking convenience, cleanliness of your property, and other aspects that can affect visitation and spend.

If your guests aren’t satisfied with something about your property, then it could lead to you losing them to a competitor. Satisfaction surveys show you what you’re doing well and where you’re doing poorly. If something needs to be fixed, a satisfaction survey is a good way to have an “early warning system” before you have a mess to clean up.

3. COMMUNICATIONS/ADVERTISING AUDIT

The ways that people prefer to receive communications is in rapid change mode. Smartphones are being used more and more for just about everything.

A communications audit will help you understand how to most effectively reach out to your guests and potential guests with your messaging. Which segments prefer all of their communication to be via email? Text messages? Is there certain messaging that guests prefer to receive via print mail and other types via email?

How about paid advertising? Are you sure that you’re buying ads in the right space and with the right messaging to influence your guests the way you’re trying to achieve? Is the look and feel of your marketing messages as effective as it can be?

With a huge amount of marketing budgets spent every year on messaging, and with consumer preferences changing rapidly with technology advances, a communications/advertising audit can help you allocate your dollars where they’ll be the most effective.

4. PRE-TEST BEFORE COMMITTING

What do you do if your new F&B director thinks that adding a 24-hour coffee shop is a great idea? Or wants to scrap your existing steakhouse menu and add all new items that were successful at the last place he/she worked at?

Whether it’s adding or changing an amenity, a new promotion you’re planning, or a club overhaul, you can potentially save a lot of money by pre-testing your plans with your guests before you commit to an idea that may not be popular or the best use of marketing dollars.

5. COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS

Another type of survey is a comprehensive competitive analysis. Raving developed a 100-point competitive analysis, and this is the broad scope that you should include. Familiarize yourself with everything about your competitors – from their signage to their tier benefits to attendance at their free Monday slot tournaments.

There is a good chance that many of your guests are also visiting your competitors. That’s why it’s so important that you know what your guests are experiencing when they’re visiting a competitor instead of you.

6. TEAM MEMBER ENGAGEMENT

This type of survey normally falls under the HR department, but it affects the entire operation of your property. Team member engagement is the extent to which team members feel valued and involved in their everyday work. At its core, it comes down to whether team members feel invested in their company’s mission and its success.

Running a team member engagement survey doesn’t just measure how happy team members are – it measures how dedicated they are to the mission and outcome of your company. Measuring team member engagement, then, is even more crucial: It’s an important indicator of the health of your business and a good way to spot areas for improvement.

Which of these six types of research is your property going to be conducting in 2019? If you need help or just want to discuss research options, contact Amy Hergenrother, Raving’s VP of Business Development, at 775-329-7864 or [email protected].

Deb Hilgeman, Ph.D.

Deb Hilgeman, Ph.D.