There is light at the end of the tunnel. Slowly Countries are crawling back from under the rock and ‘normal’ life is starting up again. I am happy to learn that casinos are re-opening their doors in some Countries in Europe. So back to business, are we?
I am afraid most of us will pick up where they left business and will go on like they did before. We are working in a very conservative industry, often run by dinosaurs giving away cars and bars of gold because we always have been giving away cars and bars. My question to you is: what did you learn from this last year? And how did you change your business and made plans to be different than before? When we reopen, what do we need most: guests. We need them to come back and start to play. So the simple goal when reopening is in sight should be: invite your guests again to come to the casino! Here my first insight in “Lessons Learned” with the subtitle “Did we?”
To begin with: do you know your customers? And with knowing I mean: do you know what their name is, where they live and how you can reach them? I bet you you don’t. Already in the first lockdown, last year March, I saw a lot of casinos struggling in reaching out to their customers. Facebook posts or Insta Stories, how well meant and executed they were, only got a couple of dozens response, two or three hundreds when casinos were lucky. Casino visitors don’t go and like their casinos on Facebook or Insta when a casino only posts the obligated things before. Only some casinos that had a clear Social Media strategy that answered the whats-in-it-for-me properly were engaging with their audience. 9 out of 10 casinos I monitor on socials did not get any kind of response there.
OK, if we cannot reach them by socials we must be able to reach them via e-mail or snail mail. In my home office I have a stack of over 80 Loyalty cards from casinos literally all over the world. And I think I had to fill out a form stating my contact information for almost every card. When I have to fill out a form I make sure I state my e-mail address always very very clear. I do that because as a Marketer I am always curious on how casinos contact their ‘Loyal’ members. Side fact: the registration form is usually small and has small areas for writing, which makes completing all the information very difficult. So let’s say my contact details are known to at least 50 casinos. Do you know by how many casinos I was contacted in the last year? 1! Only Holland Casino, that has a team of 4 people on this Direct Marketing alone, e-mailed me on a regular basis, staying in contact with me. In all those months I knew what they were doing, how they were going through this crisis and the y also did some competitions and draws.
A good Marketer should know the value of customer data and should have a plan to collect and update that data. Don’t come crying to me that all customers do not want to give their contact data. Yes, of course we have a group of players that don’t want to be linked to our casino, probably because they don’t want their partner or other official body to know that they spend money there. But we also have a very big group that consider themselves a friend of our casino, participating in events, draw and what have you. That group is more than willing to share their contact details with us. Of course you don’t get something for nothing. You have to come with a good plan and a strategy to collect their contact data piece by piece and of course, along the line, also make sure that they allow you to contact them. Don’t get scared off by those lovely colleagues from compliance slapping you around the ears with GDPR. GDPR is like the boogey man, nobody knows what it really is, so people are making up stories to scare others. GDPR is saying that you must protect the data very well so it is not leaked or stolen. GDPR says you cannot sell your contact data to others for marketing purposes. GDPR is NOT saying marketing to those who have given their consent is forbidden. If your compliance colleague is letting you believe that they are trying to control you or they are lazy and do not want to work.
KYC, Know Your Customer, is a much used term nowadays in the light of responsible gaming and AML, but I would rather as a Marketer focus in Customer Intelligence: get to know your customer better, before you know it you may have to close and you cannot contact them anymore. So I hope the lessons that you learned is that you have a concrete plan on what you are going to do with your socials and how you can collect the contact data of your clients immediately after you reopen. That will keep you busy for at least two months. In one of the next issues I will come back to other lessons learned.
Stay safe and stay open!
Bio Arjan Korstjens – Consultant, Speaker & Trainer
Arjan Korstjens is now Interim General Manager for Merkur Casino Netherlands, a consultant, speaker and trainer in the international Casino industry. Working from his own company, Explayner, he helps casinos improving the result and effect of their Marketing in both the online and landbased world. He has worked for, amongst others, Holland Casino, SBM Casinos Monaco, Sun Monticello Chile, Partouche Casino Oostende, Casinos Austria Viage Brussels, Casinos del Sol Paraguay and Olympic Entertainment Group.
Arjan specialises in promotional strategies, Responsible Gaming on the casino floor and database marketing/loyalty programs. He is a course director for the Totally Gaming Academy and speaks and chairs at various conferences around the world.