Yesterday we went to an Indian Casino with my husband's 88-year-old grandmother. She had the time of her life! I can't say that I really enjoyed the casino - there were clouds of cigarette smoke everywhere and I'm a horrible gambler - but I did observe some classic marketing techniques:
1. Call to action! Nowhere have I ever felt such a strong internal drive to participate in something as I did walking onto the floor filled with slot machines. Everywhere you look, there are colorful machines begging you to take a chance - and just 5c a try! How can you resist? The pull is actually physical!
What a marketer can learn: always have a call to action - your customers should know exactly what they are supposed to do at all times.
2. Sensory control: Casinos are well-known for controlling our sense of time, space and reality. There are no windows to the outdoors, and the lighting stays the same whether it's noon or midnight. There are no comfy chairs or places to relax - the only thing to do is play their games.
What a marketer can learn: if you have a retail store or restaurant, remember that the lighting, decor and sounds will drive your customers to behave in certain ways. Take advantage of the opportunity by thinking carefully about what you want them to do.
3. Possibilities: The fundamental drive to gamble is the opportunity to make a lot of money, but ask any casino owner the truth, and you know that the house always wins. In our group of five, all of us lost between $15-$100. We had also all been up by between $50-$300 at some point in the day. It's the "up" moments that drive us into the "down" ones at casinos - we think that if we try just one more time, we may win it all back (plus more!).
What a marketer can learn: always have something aspirational that your customer can "reach" for with your product. The diet industry and get-rich-quick schemes are other good examples of this.