“The majority of casino promotions are the same kind of promotions the industry has been doing for a long time,” says Arjan Korstjens. “And I am pretty sure most managers plan their marketing without knowing what the return will be.“

Arjan is course director of the Casino Marketing Academy, a three-day training program for marketing professionals in the land-based casino industry. He has a wealth of experience in marketing both outside and inside the gaming industry and has advised many clients, including Holland Casino, Lottomatica and Grand Casino Luzern. Arjan’s motto: “Marketing shouldn’t be just about cooking up some nice promotions. Marketing should be a profit center.” His goal: to teach the participants essential marketing skills they can immediately apply in their day-to-day work.

Gaming in Holland attended the second day of the most recent Casino Marketing Academy workshop in the city Haarlem, twenty minutes west of Amsterdam.

The diversity of the participants at this workshop is remarkable. They hail from all over Europe and work for widely differing employers. Among the attendees are the casino marketing manager from a large international cruise line; a marketing manager from a high-end private casino club in London; and the gaming manager from a group of German casinos.

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As a trainer, Arjan takes fundamental marketing principles and shows how these can be applied to your casino in order to rethink your entire marketing strategy. Some of the topics during the three-day program include branding, CRM, loyalty programs and media planning.

An important leitmotif throughout the workshop is customer segmentation. Who are your visitors? Are they “fun players”, who come twice a year for a James Bond-like experience? Are they hard-core gamblers who visit your casino for the kick? Or are they players who come to the casino mainly to socialize and while away the afternoon playing low-stake games?

Not only is one type of player more valuable to the casino than the other. Different types of players are also incentivized by different types of promotions. The chance to win a trip to Las Vegas will appeal to your first-time visitors, but is not a good way to attract your time-on-device players. A 100 euro mystery jackpot will be a boon to a low-stakes punter, but could annoy the hard-core gambler.

Arjan comes up with lots of informative (and often amusing) examples of casino promotions. Some marketing managers did a great job targeting the right customer group. Other promos spectacularly failed or even were counterproductive. These case studies are fun to watch and generate more than one “aha moment” among the participants.

Part of the Casino Marketing Academy is dedicated to developing ROI models and calculating the ROI on promotions before creating them, so you can see if marketing efforts actually add something to bottom line.

Arjan also gives guidance on creating a marketing year plan, including a solid financial justification for every activity – an important piece of munition in the endless power struggle between the marketing department and the bean counters of the finance department.

Casino Marketing Academy is part of Totally Gaming Academy. The next session will be held in Haarlem again on June 19-21, 2017.

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