What excuse do YOU have for not doing market research?
There is NO GOOD REASON to not integrate this tool into your strategy!
Deb Hilgeman, Ph.D.
I recently conducted two workshops on Attitude & Awareness surveys at Raving’s 18th Indian Gaming National Marketing Conference. This is the type of survey that you use to find out what advertising messages appeal to which customer segment, how your casino compares to your competitors, what is driving visits to your casino and your competitors, and a lot more stuff that casino marketers need to know.
During the first workshop, I asked for a show of hands as to how many people were conducting any type of market research at their property. Any at all. Maybe that group was just very shy, but not a single person raised their hand. Gasp!! Really?! About three people in the second workshop said that they’re doing market research. Whew! A little better, but only a small percentage of attendees are using market research. Why is that?
Conducting market research has never been as easy and affordable as it is now. As casino marketers, we’re responsible for effectively spending our marketing dollars. If we’re not doing any type of market research, then we’re on a shopping spree with blindfolds on. I actually heard this comment at the conference: “Half of my marketing is brilliant; I just don’t know which half.” If you believe that, then you really need market research, because it will tell you what’s working, what’s not, and why.
If your casino isn’t conducting market research, I bet you have at least one of these excuses:
1. We can’t afford it.
If you can afford a hundred bucks a month, you can afford some type of market research. Yep, it’s that cheap. Online survey software like QuestionPro and Survey Monkey cost about one Franklin a month. These programs have free survey templates for customer satisfaction and other types of research, and it shows you sample questions. You just customize it for your property. Casino marketing is a huge expense, so if you’re not hitting the mark, you could be wasting a lot of money. So, can you afford NOT to be doing research?
2. We really know our customers and our market, so we don’t need research.
Can you accurately answer questions such as:
- What are the top drivers of visits to your casino by each of your key market segments?
- How do your customers rank your players club benefits in comparison with your competitors?
- What percent of your customers prefer to get offers via email vs. direct mail?
- What area of your casino is ranked lowest by your customers? Ranked highest?
- What promotions will increase visits and revenue the most?
If you don’t know the answers to questions like these, how can you strategically plan advertising, promotions and mail offers? How do you know which programs and attributes to focus on so that you can allocate expenditures, retain and grow your customers, and increase revenue?
3. We don’t have time to do market research.
I know from experience how busy a casino marketer is. Long hours, juggling too many projects, putting out fires – there’s never enough time. Consider this; if you invest some time now into setting up basic market research for your property, it makes your job easier by defining exactly what you need to do in order to execute more successful marketing initiatives.
4. We already get so many reports, data and numbers; I don’t need any more.
Part of being a successful casino marketer in today’s rapidly changing environment is being able to filter and prioritize. You will be more successful if you understand what type of business intelligence you can get from market research, and how to use it to make better decisions.
5. I don’t know anything about market research, so we just haven’t done any.
Market research isn’t rocket science. There are plenty of resources out there and, as a marketing professional, you owe it to yourself and your company to master some fundamentals of market research.