by Dean Macomber
PART I: A MARKETING PRIMER
I. BEGINNING AT THE BEGINNING
The practice of marketing is part art, part science, and part voodoo.
A. THE GOALS OF MARKETING
The goal of business is to generate profits . To the task of achieving profit goals, business applies a multi-disciplinary approach including such disciplines as Human Resources, Accounting/Finance, Operations, and Marketing. The objective of the marketing discipline is to create demand for the business utilizing two primary approaches: Product Marketing and Program Marketing.
The goal of Product Marketing is to stimulate demand by conceptualizing and delivering a good or service that meets or exceeds a consumer need, want, or expectation at a price that creates a real or perceived value.
The goal of Program Marketing is to stimulate and channel demand among consumers who would otherwise not patronize the business unaided (i.e., for product reasons alone) by using various marketing techniques, promotions, and incentives.
An effective marketing effort must have both an effective Product Marketing and Program Marketing effort. It is difficult to develop successful Program Marketing efforts around products that are sub-standard or misaligned with the marketplace. Likewise, it is difficult to develop successful product lines without effective advertising, promotions, and loyalty programs.
B. A DEFINITION OF THE GAMING PRODUCT
The product of a gaming resort -- i.e., what a gaming resort sells and consumers come to buy -- is an adult gaming related entertainment experience. As such, gaming resorts do not sell tangible, ‘hard’ products such as automobiles, CD players, or sport coats. Rather, they sell an intangible, entertainment experience. Any given gaming project, therefore, is not only in competition with other gaming resorts, it must also compete with all other non-gaming activities that fight for the consumer’s disposable dollar and leisure time.
To compete, a modern gaming resort offers a rather broad smorgasbord of entertainment, relaxation, and recreation activities. These include but are not limited to: the many varieties of gaming, bars, lounges, restaurants, live entertainment, sporting events, shopping, theme park rides, animal habitats, and virtually anything else that the human imagination can conjure up and technology can deliver. While most guest visits will be motivated by a desire to patronize one primary activity, a guest’s entertainment experience comprises the sum of all of the space-time contact the visitor has during their visit with the building, activities, employees, other guests, and the environment created by the gaming resort. These visitors will determine their satisfaction with the trip and, in turn, their desire to return for a repeat visit, not by whether they win or lose, per se, but by the Entertainment Value created from the total experience relative to their out-of-pocket expenditures.
The gaming product -- the experience -- is determined by a combination of both Production and Consumption Variables. The responsibility for the first half of the product equation resides with the gaming resort that is responsible for ‘producing’ the experience. The production process is complex and involves a number of elements, e.g., the design of the building, the service levels provided, the courtesy/professionalism of the employees, and the price/cost of the various services provided. Additionally, it may involve X-factors, or more esoteric forces such as the gaming resort’s ability to create a reputation as the ‘in casino’ to see and to be seen in.
The value of the gaming experience is also subject to consumption variables and the consumption process, i.e., how each person experiences that which is being produced. Despite thousands of visitors each day that might appear to be ‘one customer,’ no two guests experience the gaming resort the same way. Even couples walking hand-in-hand through the same trip will come away with two similar but different experiences because of their own expectations, priorities, and subliminal filters of what occurs.
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Date Posted: 10-Apr-2001