Generational twist on the giveaway gimmick – part 2

by Frank Cotolo

Part one of this subject took to task the once tried-and-true marketing gimmick of “the giveaway” (full story here). Part two targets making important amendments to the concept, aiming a refreshed giveaway concept at younger generations. To take a shot at developing ideas, the track-marketing executive must explore purchasing characteristics of betting-age generation with a goal to purge old, stale gimmicks.

First, let’s clear this generation fog about age. Right now, millennials hoard the workforce; they are the primary people shopping retail. Forget about them. It is too late to inject a pari-mutuel pastime into their lifestyles. The sharp marketer is looking ahead to the next group — Generation Z.

The definition of Gen Z is any person with a birthday in 1996. By 2020, these boys and girls will account for one-third of North America’s population.

Charted to be almost two million people larger, Gen Z is “the technology-based” generation, a layer of humans born into a post-digital-based lifestyle. The Zees, if you will, are poised to deliver billions to the retail market.

Yet, having grown up learning and living on digital platforms, the Zees are used to “giveaways,” because the Internet was built upon “sharing,” which, once marketers realized was not profitable to define as “stealing,” adjusted tactics appropriately.

Today, the Zees have developed characteristics that track marketers must know in order to use the giveaway gimmick only when it may have a “takeaway” affect. So, pari-mutuels businesses, here are some suggestions to inspire new “giveaway-takeaway” campaigns based on Zees’ purchasing features.

Zees expect a lot. Fool them once, shame on you. Zees know no mercy. This makes solo gimmicks suck. However, long-term strategies could work. Why not offer a season-long giveaway? During your track’s opening week, pass out coupons worth one or two $4 wagers for each program, good for the whole meet. The overhead is minimal; make a simple design and produce the coupon packs in your office computer system. They do not have to be fancy. In this case, Zees expect value and function, not praise for creative design.

Zees have zero patience. You have to hit this group quickly and right between their purchasing peepers. We tell you this to strengthen the importance of respecting the Zees high expectations when you consider any giveaway gimmick. There is little time to experiment. You have to strike the first time.

Zees won’t care as much about prices as did their predecessors. This is great news because, in the case of the pari-mutuel business, Zees will not be cash-conscious about making wagers. You may be able to come up with initiatives that have a price tag. For instance, put up an ad-hoc kiosk on the track apron and in the clubhouse and sell whatever branded items you used to giveaway. Yes, sell the old giveaway items and here is the brilliant side of the gimmick — double all the prices. The higher price may sell fewer items, but more Zees will be attracted due to the higher price. This addition to other gimmicks is a cash cow, or a cash colt, if you will.

Zees online and Zees at the tracks are equally and easily distracted. You should have read that sentence and already have realized the imperative change that your program needs to make. Of course, we mean the time between races must be reduced to the lowest possible time able to be calculated by the human brain. That space of time is impossible to duplicate for presenting harness races only if you take it literally — but you should, because a track should never be satisfied with any time between races — it is always too long.

Zees have in common the same impatience as most modern generations that came before them. A Zee at a slot machine pokes the “play” button as quickly as a Baby Boomer. A Baby Boomer may stay at one slot machine longer than a Zee but they each play as quickly as their finger allows.

One answer to the time between races is simple — move ceremonial elements away from the public. For overnight races, scratch the winner’s circle activities. Work out special arrangements for owners to be applauded and photographed with their horses. This chops off a lot of time between races.

Another answer to the time between races is severely editing the post parade or scrub it all together. Let the Zees be distracted by the information you demand they hear in the post parades. Whichever individual wants to know who is driving, who is training, who owns, etcetera, has to look at the program. All that is truly important to a Zee is the number of the horse they wish to bet on.

One last characteristic that warrants attention is the fact that more than 50 per cent of Zees help their parents’ purchasing power. Elders are listening to what Zees do when Zees pay for products and services. That means, for the purposes of pari-mutuel racing, Zees who catch on to wagering on harness racing could influence other generations that previously dismissed the pastime.

I rest my case.