• Kara Holm

Segmentation for Success


In my last blog I referenced a whitepaper produced by MGM Resorts International called “The Truth About Entertainment.” This paper reminded me of another set of insights that I found very impactful.

Way back in 2011 I saw a presentation, “Researching Players’ Needs and Motivations”, featuring findings of work done by The Research Strategy Group (RSG) for Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG). RSG had been commissioned to both categorize and describe the psychographic[1] profiles of various gaming segments in that province. In addition, the authors identify future opportunities for the gaming industry based on the profiles of both existing OLG customers and individuals they describe as non-gamers. While the study is not recent, many of the motivators relative to entertainment generally and gaming specifically that are listed in the 2011 presentation, also emerge in the 2018 MGM whitepaper.

It is important to remember that that our customer base is not monolithic. That there are different cohorts of patrons and corresponding prospects may seem obvious, but these differences are not always top-of-mind during business planning. By considering the motivations and needs of each segment individually when developing amenities, planning the gaming floor, implementing service standards, and creating marketing and promotions programs, casino operators can be more successful.

The RSG/OLG presentation identified five player segment profiles, that are still relevant and can be applied in other geographic markets.

  • “Ambitious Gamblers” – characterized as younger (25-44), male and interested in table games, they are motivated by status and privileges.

  • “Social Interactives” – described as younger (25-54), both male and female, social, they like video games, they don’t identify as gamblers, but are more likely to play slots, and are motivated by programming, amenities and products.

  • “Value Seekers” – this group is older (55+), female, they like the entire experience, not just gambling, they play slots and they are motivated by deals and incentives.

  • "Fun Seekers" – this group includes people from a wide age-range (35-64) and includes both men and women and the love the casino. They enjoy gambling and the thrill they get from playing, and are motivated by winning and being treated specially by the staff.

  • “Independent Gamblers” – this group skews female and is dominated by people 45-64, they gamble alone and feel badly about this. They’re the smallest part of the gaming population.

Many casino operators and government agencies involved with gaming are focused on acquisition of new players. While it is important to fill the pipeline, which we shall discuss in future blogs, there are lucrative opportunities within operators’ current sphere of influence that can be activated at a much lower cost.

This is a huge portion of any casino operator’s carded database, as well as the non-carded individuals who have signed up for news about entertainment and promotions. In my consulting practice, I encouraged operators to work on increasing engagement with casual customers, the entertainment customers – most of whom would fit into the categories above as “social interactives" and “value seekers”. In addition to being plentiful, this group is under-monetized.

Based on projects I have completed as a consultant in various markets these entertainment customers I understand entertainment customers:

  • Visit less often;

  • Gamble less than core customers (fun seekers, for example);

  • Spend more on food and beverage, shows and other activities.

Interestingly, they also tend to be more satisfied with the destination and service than core gaming customers.

By working to add incremental visits from entertainment customers, casino operators can grow both gaming and non-gaming revenue. The challenge is learning how to stand out to these customers, who are social and experience-seeking, when there are so many other options available to them.

The MGM whitepaper notes that one of the barriers to accessing entertainment is the overwhelming choice. For example, the authors note that many consumers spend more time deciding what to watch, than they spend watching. "46% of Americans say that they spend more time deciding what to watch than actually watching it, rising to 62% of Millennials." (page 23)

The RSG report from 2011 suggested that the gaming industry should consider video gamers, non-gamers and technology as growth opportunities.

Finding the right channels through which to access and engage customers is key. Since 2011 adoption of smart phones has increased. Casino operators are working to utilize smart phones and online platforms to reach both their core and casual customers.

Social casinos like MyVegas Slots and Caesars Slots have been successful at engaging core casino players ("fun seekers") online and through mobile apps, and then connecting that play with the destination experience through casino loyalty programs. But these experiences are more aligned with an audience that likes to gamble and likes casino games.

Play the Field provides a new kind of mobile entertainment experience for destinations. It is designed with the entertainment customer in mind. The experience will provide options to engage different segments of the population. For example, for “social interactives”, Play the Field™ can offer leaderboards[2], sharing functionality and other tactics. For “value seekers” the platform will offer loyalty program alignment, prizing and offers. We even have features for “fun seekers” including exclusive offers for players that will make them feel special, and of course the thrill of wining.

Our overall objective in building Play the Field™ is to create new kinds of entertainment experiences at the casino destination that both enhance and profile the work being undertaken by the operators. New games, bars, restaurants, services, and amenities can be featured within the scope of the platform, and conversions from the mobile app to measurable business results are tracked. Another important difference is that the game play offered in Play the Field™ is aligned with the eGamer, rather than the more traditional casino games featured on current, popular mobile and online casino gaming platforms.

​Advice for casino operators:

  • Look inwards to grow revenue. Your best customer opportunities have already told you they like what you have to offer by signing up for a loyalty card or email updates.

  • Leverage technology to meet your customers where they are most comfortable. Employ new engagement platforms and tools to stand out from competitors.

  • Make sure the experience you have on offer meets your customers’ expectations: from products to amenities to programming to service to pricing. These are what customers expect and these are what the casino operators must deliver. What Play the Field™ is aware of is the requirement that operators pay attention to the differing needs of their various customer segments.

  • The opportunities provided must be aligned with what customers value without interfering with enjoyment of others. Operators must balance sustaining revenues from core customers, with developing new experiences to appeal to casual patrons and new customers who are inspired differently from the core customer. Casinos need to serve both their core customers and the casual, entertainment seekers to maintain and grow revenue.

[1]Psychographic refers to behavioural traits and preferences that can be used to group people, beyond the more traditional demographic segmentation strategies.

[2]A leaderboard is common in the video gaming world and shows the people with the highest scores in a given game.

Future blog topics:

  • People who like to win

  • “Prosumerism” and other trending terms

#Millennials #Segmentation #CustomerExperience #Loyalty

hello [at] karaholm.com

©2019 BY KARA HOLM.