Recently at the Casino Marketing and Technology Conference in Las Vegas, MMW caught up with Angel Suarez, Executive Vice President at Red Circle Agency, to discuss what’s hot and happening in the gaming industry today.
MMW: Tell me about Red Circle?
Angel: Red Circle is a full service casino marketing agency. We have worked with nearly 100 casinos over the last 16 years. We help companies with everything from branding, media buying, digital marketing, database marketing, and custom software development. Most of what we do is powered by our proprietary database marketing software called RECON. We’re a unique mix of advertising agency veterans, marketing veterans, and people who have actually come from the casino side and sat in the chairs of our clients.
MMW: Tell us about your product called Recon and how it helps casinos manage mobile offers for players?
Angel: From a mobile standpoint the things that we’re doing are unlike anything in gaming right now. We’re able to geofence properties; so if somebody pulls into a competing casino or if somebody happens to be driving by your casino down the freeway, our clients will have the ability to push a targeted offer to their mobile device based on their historical value to the property. If you and I are sitting in the same car; and if on average I’m worth $10 a day, but you’re worth a $1000 dollars a day, our software knows that. It’ll push me a specific offer, but it might push you a completely different offer based on your value. The data that we’re reading from the player tracking systems of the property, allows us to do this no matter what system the casino is using.
Beyond that there’s also things that are automated, that we call “triggered events.” So if somebody comes into the casino and hits a jackpot, it’ll alert our software. Our software can then push them an offer instantly to their phone for rewards like a free hotel room. Another example is if somebody comes into the property that is very valuable to the casino, but they’re having a really bad day on the machines, our software will be alerted and it will push them an offer to their phone for some free play as a kind of “virtual hug.”
MMW: Tell us what you see happening with mobile technology in the Native American casinos?
Angel: I think that Native-owned properties are finally grasping the fact that the older demographic are first of all online, but secondly that the vast majority of them have smartphones. That being the case, they finally understand the importance to market through mobile devices. As marketing agencies we need to educate them on the best practices of leveraging the mobile space; making sure that the right offers are going to the right players and at the right time. For such a historically data-driven industry (gaming) many properties have been slow to adopt, but we’ve seen a nice uptick in the last year and will only continue to go up moving forward.
MMW: What are some of the challenges or opportunities in your industry you currently see?
Angel: A big opportunity I’m seeing is in automation by leveraging technology. This will allow for sophisticated targeted offers, without the marketing team having to lift a finger. The software is constantly working in the background and looking at the data, determining what needs to happen and when to maximize loyalty and profits for the casino. An added bonus is the level of reporting technology like RECON can provide where marketers are not overloaded by too much data, rather they are seeing the KPI’s that matter most and at the simple click of a button.
MMW: What is the biggest takeaway for you having attended the conference this year?
Angel: It is still mind boggling that millennials have been the focus of many discussions. We see from gaming data that they account for 5% of revenue for our clients. It takes four millennials to account for one baby boomer. I’m not suggesting we forget about them all together, as they are now the largest living generation. However, there are more cost effective ways to begin brand loyalty, much in the digital space, without severely jeopardizing the ROI of your marketing budget.
MMW: What trends or current events are impacting your business and industry today and what does it mean for how you will approach the second half of 2017?
Angel: One thing I’m very excited about is our ability to overlay data to measure things like never before, so that we can continuously optimize digital campaigns. The days of “set it and forget it” are over. We need to keep the finger on the pulse day in and day out, because if we are not doing it for our clients than the competition may thrive.
For example, we have a feature in RECON called, SCOUT. Scout allows marketers to look at a heat map of a certain geographical region, which tells them where their players are coming from. Then drills down to how much value an individual player has to the property; and we’re able to marry that data with both the traditional and digital media plan we’ve put together. This ensures our ads are being targeted to pockets where the players actually live, and on top of that we can identify geographical areas of opportunity. Areas where we’re not getting a lot of gamers to sign up for the players club; we can leverage the data and leverage our software to create measurable lifts of new guests to the property. Essentially, tying something like a billboard to actual revenue for the first time ever.
MMW: What makes Red Circle unique within the gaming industry?
Angel: A perfect marriage of data dorks and creative geniuses.