When it comes to planning your events calendar do you follow the herd and promote the same events each year or do you study your options and choose the best marketing opportunities for your business needs?
Every year thousands of poker players flock to Vegas to take part in the best known offline poker tournament in the gambling world. Amongst these is a large percentage of online qualifiers who have won their seats via satellites through one of the many online gaming sites across the globe. Every one of these online qualifiers is in no doubt how they feel about being part of this iconic event but in reality how much value is there in these large events for the poker room through which the player qualified?
During my many years working as an Event Manager in this industry, I have experienced these events along side the online qualifiers. No matter what level of poker they play it´s a memorable time for the players and for some its the experience of a lifetime to be part of the “Big Time”. There is no mistaking the positive effect winning a package has on most online players but what did their online poker room gain by sending them?
The truth is that in the majority of cases, very little. These events are so huge that unless you are a main event sponsor or have a player at the televised final table then your gain from a marketing prospective could be close to nil.
Large scale marketing is limited, expensive and almost muted by legislation. Meanwhile player branding just gets diluted amidst the sea of logos in a large auditorium. Buy-in´s are high making the overall online package more difficult to qualify for and more expensive to guarantee. In addition to this, it´s more difficult to continuously market the same package and come up with promotions that will make you stand out from your competitors.
It´s vital that you weigh the pro´s and con´s of each event before deciding to support it. If you really want to get the best from your event budget then you need to devise an events calendar that fully compliments your marketing strategy whilst meeting your players needs. You need to have a clear vision of what you wish to achieve and find the event that best meets the criteria, be it player retention, acquisition, promotion or reward.
For some poker rooms being part of a marquee festival in the poker world is solely about being seen with the pack and therefore will be supported each year without question. Regional and National events could provide more value for your budget dollar. They can be more effective within your actual market thus allowing more effective player acquisition and retention. However with low buy-ins they won’t attract the big name pro´s and will not be viewed as an aspirational package for high end tournament players or VIP´s. Mid range tours do often tick more boxes for a mixed group of qualifiers and there is no shortage of venues, dates and buy-in´s.
Remember to ensure that your events are reaching their full potential you need to take a number of factors into account when planning and as I have said before SMART Managers maximise marketing through offline events.
SMART Event Management:
S – Specific Strategy
M – Meaningful Marketing Spend
A – Allocate Appropriate Budget
R – Research your Options
T – Touch Base with Clients
Offline events provide Poker Rooms with a lot of opportunities that online promotions could never achieve but it takes careful planning and skilled management to ensure that the experience it a positive one for both the player and your marketing budget.