What Vegas Can Teach You About Marketing

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In a place best known for accidental weddings, expensive hangovers and overly plasticized lounge singers it may seem that there isn't much to learn when it comes to marketing. In fact, to amend a Vegas cliche, it may seem that what works in Vegas (for marketing), only works in Vegas. That's not entirely true, though. Looking at some stalwarts of Vegas culture, there are actually many unexpected lessons that you can learn which may help you in your own marketing challenges. Here are just a few:

  1. Only reward behaviour you care about. What do Casinos in Vegas care most about? You probably managed to answer that without too much hesitation … they want you to gamble and gamble frequently. That's why all casinos have no windows or clocks inside. Day could fade into night, and you might never realize it. A core part of their ability to keep you gambling hinges on a so-called loyalty program that most casino's call their "player's card." A players card works mostly like a frequent flier card, except unlike those frequent flyer cards where you can earn points for dining, or buying gas, or paying your water bill – a player's card rewards only one thing: the money you spend on gambling. This single minded focus on the behaviour they really want to encourage may strike you as misguided, but there is no denying its marketing logic.
  2. Know what you can afford to give away. In Vegas, the term "comps" refers to activities that are complimentary. Comps may include room nights, food and show tickets. The interesting thing about Vegas, however, is not that comps exist – but that they are so prevalent that ticket holders with comp tickets have their own lines. If you look at hotel room nightly charges, on average, they are significantly lower than any other major city in America. What marketers in Vegas know is that they can afford to give away quite a few things in order to make it back based on the time that you spend in their property. While your economic model may be less profitable than gambling, the lesson is an important one. Too often marketers worry about making sure to make some amount of money on everything they have rather than understanding what they could give away without problems.
  3. Create lots of entry points. The one thing that is immediately obvious about Las Vegas is just how many entrances most places have. You can go in through the front, the side, the back, underneath, above and (it seems) any way in between as well. Parking is usually free, and escalators always lead into a casino and only go the opposite direction in some places. The end result is that no place has only one front door. Whether you are talking about a physical location, or an online destination, the lesson in this is clear: invite people into your experience in as many places as you can.

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