First Glimpse at Industry Marketing Survey

ROI Data Analysis

Raving reveals highlights of first industry survey – where do you fit in?

Dennis Conrad called me not long ago and asked if I would be interested in doing a survey to measure what is happening with tribal casino marketing. Say WHAT?! Is the Pope Catholic? Does a bear, well … I obviously thought a survey that would gauge views about the current state of casino marketing at tribal gaming properties would be just about the best thing to happen since sliced bread. Enough already with the sayings, now let’s talk about this groundbreaking new study – Raving’s 1st Annual Indian Gaming National Marketing Survey.

Dennis, the staff at Raving, and some expert volunteers helped develop the survey questionnaire to make sure we covered the areas that will be most useful. The objectives are:

  • Assessment – Determine what casino marketers are doing and how they rate the effectiveness of activities.
  • Challenges – Understand the challenges facing casino marketers in Indian Gaming.
  • Opportunities – Identify opportunities that will help casino marketers perform more effectively.
  • Trends – Gain insight into trends of Indian Gaming marketers.

Raving sent the online survey to its mail list of casinos. Each property was asked to designate one key person to complete the survey. Our goal for the first year was to have 50 casinos participate; we got 53.

That’s 53 tribal casino properties across the United States that told us about their reinvestment ratios, percent of carded play, entertainment program performance, whether they’re working with Big Data, how they’re faring financially compared to their competitors, and lots more information that will help us to help you. We want to grow this survey into an increasingly important tool that provides a measurement you can use to look at industry ranges and see where you fit in.

This is so typical of Dennis and the way that he’s always done business, and why he’s always been so good at this business. If he doesn’t know the answers, he finds the answers, and he’s an open textbook for sharing. Online articles , books, conferences, workshops, training, consulting – for the past 20 years, Dennis has been at the forefront of expanding casino marketing knowledge.

The 2016 industry survey is just the latest tool that Raving is bringing to tribal gaming marketing. Some highlights of the study were revealed at a presentation on January 30 at Raving’s 19th Indian Gaming National Marketing Conference, held January 30 – February 1 at Choctaw Casino Resort, Durant, OK. Here are a few results from the study:

  • Every survey participant knows what percent of their gaming revenue is coming from carded play. About 80% of casinos have carded play somewhere between 40% and 80%, and less than 10% of casinos have less than 40% carded play. Detailed breakdowns are in the study report.
  • We asked how casino entertainment programs are performing financially (excluding gaming revenue generated from comp tickets): 44% are losing money, 38% are breaking even, 11% are making a profit, and 7% of respondents aren’t sure how their entertainment program is performing. What category are you in?
  • Another question was: When comparing paper mail pieces and email messages, what percent of your marketing communications are being sent to your customers using their email addresses?

Communication channels are among the fastest-changing areas of marketing, so this is a topic that every casino marketer should be tracking. Here are the results:

  • 13% of casinos are not using email to send any of their marketing messages;
  • Just over half of the casinos in this study – 56% – are sending from 1% to 25% of their marketing messages via email;
  • Another 19% of casinos are sending 50% to 75% of their marketing messages via email;
  • 2% are sending from 75% to 99% via email, and
  • The final 2% have gone exclusively to sending marketing messages via email.

This type of information is what makes the industry survey such a valuable tool for tribal casino marketers. It shows what other casinos are doing so that you can see where you fit in, and where you might need to go. The more casinos that participate every year, the better the data will be.

Deb Hilgeman, Ph.D.