Growing up one of the “traditions” that came with large family meals around the holiday season was the incredible consistent tardiness of one of my uncles. He would routinely show up after the meal was supposed to have started. It didn’t really bother anyone all that much since we’d been eating finger food for the last two hours, but eventually, we all got smart to the fact that if we told him the meal started two hours before it actually did that he would show up on time. So from that point forward that is what we did, and wouldn’t you know it, it worked.


I bring up this story because I think it illustrates an important conversation that needs to be had about how companies and brands approach marketing during what will be the most unusual holiday season in recent history. We all know that we are heading towards a season that will require incredible amounts of creativity, agility, flexibility, and all that. The choice that we have to make is, what are we going to do given that we already know what is about to happen. The list of strategies and ideas below are based on actual data analysis and collective decades of industry experience, and I hope that you find them helpful for your company as we all work to get through this year together.


Holiday Marketing Tip #1: This year is going to be noisy, your marketing material better bring it.


Given that this is a holiday season that not only features a global pandemic but also the aftermath of a presidential election the competition for customer’s attention and interest is expected to be higher than ever. This is not the time for your marketing graphics. This is not the time for generic promotional copy.


*Perhaps insert a post comparison of a good example and a bad example*


This is the time to seriously think about what content you need to serve your customers that actually connects with them and addresses a legitimate need you can meet in their life. Why do people come to casinos during the holidays? Some of our guests don’t have families. Some of our guests have so much stress in their life that all they want on their one day off is for someone else to do the cooking. Some people don’t care about the holidays at all and just want to have fun. Whatever the reason is, your marketing should address that. Your content should address that. People are not going to care about what you have to offer unless you can directly connect what you have to offer to what they want or need in a way that makes them remember you.


I think this commercial is absolutely GENIUS for this exact reason. They identified their target customer, the problem they wanted to help solve, and they delivered that message in a refreshing and relatable way.


Holiday Marketing Tip #2: Don’t try to be everything for everyone.


If this year has taught the gaming industry anything at all it’s that we must remain incredibly focused on the things we do the best. First and foremost it starts with gaming. What you choose to promote after that is up to you and what your property needs but the more things you try to promote the more fragmented your messaging gets. 


If you are absolutely attached to marketing a whole bunch of different things, at least target your campaigns to very specific parts of your audience. This is even an option with organic social media posts, and definitely something I would recommend if you plan on maintaining an aggressive marketing calendar. The new Facebook Creator Studio has a lot of advanced options for both paid and organic content. If you haven’t explored the new Facebook Creator Studio you can find our overview of that here.


Holiday Marketing Tip #3: Act fast and be flexible.


The holiday season is going to be won by the teams and properties that prioritize speed and adaptability in everything that they do. As nice as it may be to have a routine I’m not sure how much good it will do you given the way this year has gone. Even after you have your content and promotional calendars finalized continue to brainstorm new ways to push the envelope. Some of the best promotions and social campaigns I have ever done have come after my plans for the month were “already set”. Even if you have something that you consider to be half-baked, talk to your boss and vet the idea with tribal gaming or compliance about what it would take to pull that off. The last thing you want is to come up with a great idea and not be able to execute it. Preemptively lay the groundwork now even if you might not use it because that extra level of preparation could really pay off.


This is also not the time to get overly attached to performing specific tasks. Ask for help if you need it. Delegate where you need to even if it makes you uncomfortable. Casino teams are nearly always greater than the sum of their parts and the teams that can embrace this are the teams that will thrive during what is shaping up to be a challenging end to a challenging year.