Super Bowl Divulges Casino Marketing Secrets

The Super Bowl and casino marketing have three important things in common, three secrets that offer valuable lessons for executives in charge of marketing efforts for gaming properties.

I see strong similarity between the stories of the Super Bowl and casinos of today.  For example, you have the new and exciting prospect of Colin Kaepernick, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, versus the gritty and proven Ray Lewis, linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens.  That is happening all across the country with proven casinos going toe to toe with the new properties popping up all around them.

Here are the three lessons.

High Level of Competition.  Casinos are facing a level of competition like never before and must find ways to overcome it.  Troy Aikman, former quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys and a television sportscaster for the Fox network, said after the Ravens victory in last Sunday’s game that the team is ‘battle tested.’  He talked about how the Ravens have faced great teams all season and managed to survive key injuries.

Casinos are battle tested every day.  With states looking for more tax revenue, there will be more casinos approved and that makes an already competitive industry even more competitive.  Existing casinos face an uphill battle because people like what is new and there are plenty of new gaming opportunities.

Winners Learn from the Past.  Many casinos use mystery shoppers to generate data based on the shoppers’ gaming experience.  That’s not enough.  They need to follow the example of great sports teams.  Outstanding teams such as those that make it to the Super Bowl don’t just watch videos of past games and put them on a shelf.  They dissect all the plays, looking for each opportunity for celebration and improvement.  Looking for any opportunity for improvement is the key for casinos.

Little Things Matter.  The winner of the Super Bowl will reach the pinnacle by doing the little things better than the other team.  It could come down to a punt, an extra point or a delay of game penalty.

Casino success will come down to little things like customer service.  It’s fun to talk about $1 billion projects and huge hotels, but from the guests’ perspective, an outstanding gaming experience often comes down to service basics such as employees smiling, listening and being helpful.

The team that wins the Super Bowl also will have practiced hundreds, if not thousands, of times.  Elite athletes practice over and over so they have muscle memory that allows them to deliver specific behaviors flawlessly under pressure without even thinking.  But casinos often put employees through just a day of training and then expect them to perform like elite service providers.  That just doesn’t work.

There’s a proverb that says, “wise men learn by other men’s mistakes; fools by their own.”

Why not learn from the Super Bowl teams?  After all, they must be doing something right if they have made it this far in the competitive NFL.

To read other articles by Martin Baird, go to

Martin R. Baird
Robinson & Associates, Inc.


Lydia Baird


Tom Ellis

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