North American lottery marketers were surveyed on the biggest trends impacting instant game marketing today. Their responses revealed the cataclysmic forces that are fundamentally changing this consumer transaction—consumer connection, price worthiness, millennial touch points, social interaction, product transformation and retail convenience.
“Players are seeking more ways to interact with the games they regularly play. At Arizona Lottery, we have measured a significant increase in the number of unique players entering our second chance games. Whether we’re marketing a licensed property or promoting a new ticket concept developed internally, players want to be engaged in both experience-oriented and cash opportunities. Simply put, they expect more out of the games they play and that means we need to continue to raise the bar.”—Chris Rogers, Director, Products & Marketing, Arizona Lottery
“People expect to consume products when and where it is most convenient for them. Clearly, a portfolio that encompasses paper, online and mobile experiences is key. But equally important is addressing pain points in retail. Digitized services that eliminate friction in the purchase journey or add convenience like mobile pre-ordering, mobile validation and real-time service through chat bots represent huge opportunities. There are a growing number of consumers that are seeking authentic experiences—the advent of adult coloring books and vinyl’s revival being recent examples. We have the product – we need to find ways to make playing more convenient.”—Merrill Fullerton, Senior Brand Manager, Instants, Atlantic Lottery
“For BCLC’s instant ticket marketing, one of the biggest trends is how we’re taking a channel-agnostic approach to our media spend. We are moving more of our media spend from traditional media over to digital media like online video, programmatic display ads and social content posts. This year, we’ve allocated approximately. 23% of our total media budget to digital, whereas last year, this amount was less than 10%. We are monitoring our results closely to ensure that we’re seeing positive results on these changes.”—Heather Tryon, Category Manager, Instant, B.C. Lottery Corp.
“One of the biggest trends that I see impacting the way we think about our products and how they’re marketed is the seemingly daily shift in how our audience is consuming media and engaging with brands. We are no longer living in a world where marketers are leading the conversation regarding their product by simply blanketing the marketplace with their message. Consumers are now, more than ever, in charge of the conversation, so we need to get smarter about where and how we’re disseminating our marketing messages.”—Sharon Allen, Deputy Director, Sales & Marketing, California Lottery
“The strength of the housing market
is driving our strategy right now. It’s a seller’s market and we’re seeing a strong economy continue to fuel our higher price points. The $10 launches aren’t cannibalizing $20 sales, and at the same time we’ve added additional $10’s to our product launch schedule, $5 sales are growing. Our instant marketing strategies include boosting our order quantities to create bigger and better games, promoting the heck out of the product and giving the players what they want in a winning experience, cash! The timing couldn’t be better for Florida to introduce a $30 ticket with a $15,000,000 top prize.”—Justin Rock, Director, Product & Research, Florida Lottery
“Launching a ‘family of games’ provides the opportunity to promote more than just one product at one price point. Rather, it offers a spectrum of price points under one brand that may appeal to several player segments. The ROI on marketing several games as a family certainly yields a higher return than one single ticket. Social media continues to grow in value, allowing lotteries to create promotions and responsive customer engagements that drive product sales and awareness. Such promotions create user-generated content (players may post a picture of a particular instant ticket in order to be considered for a prize drawing), reducing marketing cost. Further, these promotions create perceived brand ambassadors who act as influencers within their social network.”—James Hutchinson, SVP, Marketing and Product Development, Georgia Lottery Corp.
“The purchase funnel is no longer a linear player experience. Players have many options to receive marketing messages and brands have diminishing control over content. With this insight, we are driving efficiency of our communication with more audience driven messaging, leveraging our newly built CRM tool to influence our media choices, as well as creating more digital and mobile friendly messaging. Despite the headlines, brick and mortar retail remains critical as we work to reach new players in disruptive and new places. Retail partners have supported these efforts, recognizing that messaging can be impactful in non-expected placements and especially when in sync with their brand priorities, and when connected to their loyalty programs.”—Melissa Pursley, VP Marketing & Product Development, Hoosier Lottery
“The use of planograms, family of game strategies, and oversized tickets are three trends helping sales. Planned games ensure stores have the right games, at the right time, in the right amount and in the right place. Family of games create awareness and efficiencies i.e. launch a $20 in September with a media campaign, complete the family in January using the same ad campaign while advertising price points $1 through $20. Oversized tickets bring newness to the marketplace and special dispensers isolate the game and improve awareness.
In addition to trends, attention to detail still provides the most consistent ROI. Eliminating out of stocks, making sure inventory levels match rate of sale, improving product awareness though placement, footprint and multiple facings, all these elements play a role in making sure sales remain strong.”—Tom Delacenserie, President & CEO, Kentucky Lottery Corp.
“I believe two things are on top of the trends list lately: Keeping the customer first in the key. Every decision made should be driven by the customer needs, or address his issues. Research gives priceless customer’s insight that must be taken in consideration. When creating our $100 Ultime ticket, we decided to address the winnability issue by putting forward a unique and strong statement: Your best chance at becoming a millionaire. Strong and clear positioning has a major impact. Design is another aspect to consider when creating a powerful product. For some project, it’s very interesting to see how the market reacts to a different approach in lottery design. We broke the lottery codes when designing Ultime, using the luxury industry approach. It has proven its success. We’ve used this recipe with classic products in our portfolio, and the sales went up immediately. Sales for our $1 ‘7 chanceux’ ticket are up by 22% thanks to a dramatic design change—same game, bold and modern design, surprisingly good results. There is something to consider here.”—Anne-Marie Voyer, Department Manager, Product Management & Development, Loto-Québec
“One of the biggest marketing trends on the instant ticket side that I and others have been grappling with is the challenge of marketing the alternative-sized instant products like the oversized tickets that have been launched in multiple jurisdiction. Products that cannot be sold from traditional countertop dispensers or ITVMs make it difficult to effectively leverage the ‘Place’ (or distribution) P of marketing’s ‘4 P’s.’ These products cost more to print and tax our internal resources to develop and launch. They can also strain relations between Marketing, Sales and agents as we struggle to get 100% distribution but in reality often achieve around 70%, thus suppressing the upside sales potential of the product.”—John Gorman, Managing Director, Chief Marketing Officer, Maryland Lottery & Gaming
“Over the last five years, we have seen a significant shift toward higher price points, with $10, $20 and $30 games accounting for approximately 60% of gross sales in the instant category. As the lottery industry continues to try to find ways to engage the younger adult population, the allocation of advertising dollars has become increasingly challenging. We face difficult decisions on how much to spend on initiatives to attract new players while still being able to dedicate appropriate resources to marketing efforts that focus on our core players.”—Lauren Luttrell, Instant Product Manager, Massachusetts Lottery
“Spending your advertising media dollars, where they will count. Traditional media, digital media, social media? Spend to reach the masses (traditional). Spend to reach those who are really interested in your product (social). Spend to reach new players (digital). In trying to reach millennials, are we expending too much time and energy to reach them? Maybe we’ll concentrate on fishing where the fish are . . . We have a 20th century product and we are marketing them in the 21st century, mainly through ever evolving technology. The bread and butter product has not evolved with technology. How do we overcome this?”—Maura McCann, Director, Marketing, New Hampshire Lottery
“With the rising trend of mobile apps and mobile payments, the North Carolina Education Lottery’s new Gemini Touch vending machines will soon be able to accept mobile payments, while our new player-friendly mobile app will be upgraded to include a ticket checker, giving players the convenience of using one mobile app to both check their tickets and to enter them in our loyalty program.”—Ben Bauman, Director of Product Development, North Carolina Education Lottery
“In game design, we have moved away from overly whimsical-themed instant games in favor of core money games and numbers-themed games. We made an effort to include bright colors and designs in these games, adding a playful energy. Finally, the trend toward increased play value and second-chance drawings / games continues to gain momentum. As a result, we increased the number of second-chance drawings from eight per year to 12 in fiscal 2017. We also added more interactive games to these second-chance drawings. We have seen around 23% of eligible tickets being entered into each of our drawings over the past year, and since both instant and terminal-based games are eligible for entry, we have been able to do some fun second-chance drawings involving both game categories.”—Stephanie Weyant Fidler, Deputy Executive Director, Marketing & Products, Pennsylvania Lottery
“Key trends impacting Instants are largely the same as those effecting the greater lottery category—declining frequency of visit to our retail channel impacting product accessibility/distribution and consumers’ seemingly insatiable desire for omni-channel entertainment and personalized experience. Our relatively new brand positioning campaign—#joyments—was designed to intercept new and infrequent players during their daily routine, encouraging them to see and share the little moments of joy in their every day. So far, we’ve received and captured more than 5,200 contributions from players and the next phase is certainly the most exciting, when we begin sharing peoples’ #joyments as user-generated content in integrated media channels. In terms of performance (especially considering the modest media spend) this campaign is punching way above its weight, with spontaneous brand awareness increasing by 7% and word of mouth among 18-34 year olds also increasing by 7%.”—Jill Every, General Manager, Lotteries, Tatts Group Limited
“In Texas, the biggest trend that is impacting sales of the scratch category is creating added value for our players. Oversized scratch tickets such as Super Ticket™, Pop N’ Pak™ and Game Book offer an enhanced value proposition and extended play opportunities for our customers. Introducing slight variations on the typical scratch game can also drive sales, including product features like Scratch Tab™ where players lift a tab before scratching the play area(s). These product innovations are important as they provide the lottery, the sales force and the retailer with new opportunities to ask for the sale by putting a fresh spin on traditional scratch products.”—Robert Tirloni, Products and Drawings Manager, Texas Lottery
“The biggest trend impacting instant ticket marketing now is the digital marketplace. Everyday there are new opportunities to effectively reach our players, and the tactics vary by platform. It is a pretty exciting time for marketing tickets! At the Virginia Lottery, we are piloting a handful of strategies to determine what is most effective. We’re excited to see the results in the coming weeks.” —Terri Rose, Director, Advertising & Gaming, Virginia Lottery
“We now have two full years of results from answering, for every game in the portfolio, the question: ‘What are the best prizes we can really deliver?’ We found ways to improve the winning experience, sometimes while also decreasing the prize expense. We used some of the savings to improve our $1 games and $2 games. This approach led us to build fewer, bigger games, so that the number of games on the market declined. Sales show that we have maintained play of our entry-level games, and greatly expanded play of the $5 games, which have a broad player base.”—Dr. Stephen Wade, Director, R&D, Washington’s Lottery
“WCLC is interested in the opportunity that digital can add to traditional Scratch ‘N Win game development. Digital play has the potential to add new ways to reveal prizes on printed tickets and improve the overall engagement of the category. WCLC plans to conduct consumer research in the fall to capture player reaction to these enhancements.”—Don Coleman, Manager, Big Play Products, Western Canada Lottery Corp.