My current position has involved nearly a decade of direct decision-making for the branding and advertising of a mid-sized casino and hotel property in the mountains less than an hour west of Denver, Colorado. Although my employer directed branding style, logo, and tagline requirements from the top-down on an international level, the actual ad buys and rep relationships for local advertising are smartly left to the individual marketing teams at each property.
I have more experience with an individual ad buying strategy than employing the services of an agency. This is primarily due to the size of the property justifying marketing towards local and regional reach, as it is a physical location offering hospitality and casino services with a specified capapcity (such as twenty-six hotel rooms). It is also because the size of the marketing budget and the nature of the business emphasizes strong relationship marketing principals from the top-down, that focus on an internal CMS feeding direct mail marketing and offers as primary spend. Branding buys must then be smart and consistent in placement, highly efficient for reach, and arranged and evaluated through direct relationships with media account representatives.
Traditional television is expensive, particularly in a top 20 market even at the local level. It's not out of the question but a broad local television campaign has not been part of the mix I have most recently managed. Rather, our engagement with television advertising involved a very strategic buy: placement through local cable advertising through USA Communications. This small and independant provider only serves two towns in Colorado: Black Hawk and Central City; the two primary gambling towns in the area (located about a mile apart).
This means that for many of the larger Black Hawk properties who weren't using satellite, for minimal monthly spend we could move our message right into the competition's hotel rooms in a fairly heavy rotation. In the spirit of thriftiness, most of the talent you see pictured are employees of the casino. We used these same spots for YouTube advertising for a short time as well. In future, the way to accomplish our targeting and spending goals for video advertising would be via OTT and streaming insertions.
I'd be happy to demonstrates examples of this copy and the resultant spots upon request.
As a property with a strong direct mail program, focused on generous player and VIP reinvestment, we allocated a small percentage of the overall marketing department budget to traditional advertising. And without a national or regional brand campaign, every dollar spent needed maximum reach and effect. There was no room for the shotgun approach. What was needed was a sniper rifle. So working with the GM, we made the early decision to drop an I-70 billboard and buy sports radio. We're now the benefactor of a multple year brand association with both the Denver Broncos and the Colorado Rockies through KOA/iHeart and Voice of the Rockies, and a burgeoning association with the Denver Nuggets and the Colorado Avalanche through Altitude Sports radio.
Although the selection of creative from this association spans years, none of which are posted and publicly available. I'd be happy to demonstrates examples of this copy and the resultant spots upon request.
Billboard & Bus Skin
The majority of the billboard advertising in our feeding market of Denver has been handled via a cooperative buy funded via machine fees collected by the Central City Business Improvement district. Most of our individual billboard placements have been along the Central City Parkway, the connecting highway into town from the nearest interstate, I-70 via Exit 243. With my background in design for outdoor & transit, I have handled these designs myself, conceiving copy and intent in collaboration with the property GM. Our interest in bus skins is a simple desire to secure one of the few outdoor advertising positions we can that appears in the competing market of Black Hawk.
Print advertising has of course faded to a shadow of what it used to be as digital placements and digital inbound offer more cost effectivenes in its targeting and measurability of its effect. For a long time before that, print in our market was a bimonthly part of the mix, as Colorado had for a time two periodic newsprint publications dedicated exclusively to covering the casino industry in Colorado.
Signage, Collateral, & Merchandise
Most brick-and-mortar businesses do a poor job of utilizing their paid-for real estate to provide enough internal promotion, but this is something I have championed and enacted for a long time. This internal signage has transitioned over the years from print-based poster and backlit translucent displays, to digital signage displays using both still designs and video, saving significant monthly collateral expense on an ongoing basis with an initial outlay in modest capitol. External signage in the Central City market is strictly managed and regimented due to local Historic Preservation Committee guidelines and requirements, yet I have maximized its impact for years. Finally, casinos smartly traffic in logo-printed merchandise, whether sold or distributed promotionally, to provide volunteer walking branding signage to a patrons friends and relatives.
Although the selection of creative from this association spans years, none of which are posted and publicly available. I'd be happy to demonstrate examples upon request.
General Manager at Augustine Casino
February 19, 2010, Jef was senior to Dana but didnít manage directlyDana is a highly creative, technical whiz kid in the marketing arena. He has the very unique ability to not only create gorgeous, effective, compelling artwork but also possesses the proficiency to use his advanced database querying skills to determine who the message should target and why. It's rare to find this combination of expertise in a marketer and Dana definitely maximizes both sides of the brain to deliver amazing results. I highly recommend him for any marketing project large or small.