We are fortunate as an industry to be so data rich—lotteries continuously generate volumes of data across channels, systems and topics. With this treasure trove of data, you might think that lotteries are fully capitalizing on their business intelligence. Unfortunately, it’s rarely the case. Most lottery data just accumulates and remains locked away in data centers. Similarly, lottery research results are often delivered then swiftly moved to a shelf, never to be viewed again.

Tim Bucher, an accomplished technologist, innovator and businessperson—and now Scientific Games Chief Product Officer—was once quoted, “Data at rest is storage, while data in flight is an experience.”

Bucher’s observation holds universal truth, and it is directly applicable to lottery. If you have data accumulating and you aren’t doing much with it—that’s storage. If you use your data, which might require moving, integrating, transforming, analyzing, and unlocking its value—that’s experiential.

Two Paths To Valuable Insights

Lotteries have two overarching paths to obtain valuable information about their business. The first path is data organically generated from the systems that power their retail network such as central gaming systems, logistics systems and terminal devices where they can see transactions that cross products and retailers. But lotteries are challenged to extrapolate real value from systems data because it lacks a substantial amount of detail. Are the transactions at 10:15 a.m. and 10:25 a.m. at the same retailer, with the same game and purchase amount, by the same player? Is the sales volume increase due to new players, or have existing players increased their spend? In isolation, this data can be incredibly valuable. But it can also leave many unanswered questions.

The second path to valuable information is through primary research methods. Here, lotteries can engage players in activities such as tracking attitudes and usage, segmentation studies, concept tests and focus groups. This data isn’t at all reliant on retail transactions. Instead, it’s based on a sample of consumers. You can also run into challenges with this kind of information. Your consumer sample size will always limit the depth of research, you are relying on players’ recall, and you simply won’t be able to gather the level of detail associated with transaction data.

With traditional lottery products like instant and draw games, if you don’t view these two overarching data paths side-by-side, it will be impossible to form a cohesive understanding of your market.

One way to get a full understanding is to integrate your transactional data and consumer research data into a business intelligence platform. Generally, the data from industry systems becomes lottery business intelligence, but rarely does consumer research. This is likely for several reasons, including the data may be difficult to work with, is regularly inconsistent, has complex metadata, or is very time consuming to process manually.

Engaging & Activating Fans

Scientific Games sees a tremendous opportunity to bring new life to lotteries’ data. Even more so when we can tie motivational segmentation into the mix, enabling an understanding of consumer market size and opportunity. By quantifying where market segments are over or under-served, you can begin to engage in strategic planning that involves closing each loop. You can prioritize your focus based on where the money is, rather than guessing.

One of the common questions our Analytics & Insights team gets from lotteries is about core players (the motivational segment we call “Fans”) is “Are you really trying to get this group to play more?” The answer is more complex than simply further engaging those already engaged. Are all of your Fans active, or have some Fans lapsed? The more important question is “Are we sure we’re actually engaging with ALL of the potential Fans in our market?”

How do you then engage and activate your Fans in a meaningful way? One answer is where they’re most likely to consume media. This may unlock insights, and the lottery can partner with its ad agency to execute on those findings in social media and ad campaigns. Fan visitation of some social media websites is much higher and trending upward, compared to Non-Fans.

Take a new look at previous research projects to find insights that can be infused with current sources of business intelligence to give you a more complete understanding of your market. If you have a segmentation model in place to understand what motivates your consumers and how they differ, you’ll be able to create lottery experiences and marketing messages for every type of consumer, connect with them more effectively, and ultimately help drive profits.—Written by Cameron Garrett, VP Insights & Analytics, Scientific Games

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