Geofencing Leverages GPS to Elevate ROI on Digital Campaigns

Posted by | blog, Digital Strategy, Education, Gaming, Health | No Comments

Data drives everything we do here at Marshall Fenn. We get to know customers’ journeys and experiences by collecting demographic data. But how do we use this data to inform our strategy and successfully reach potential customers?

We use cutting edge marketing techniques to tap into customers’ goals, needs and desires. A location-based digital marketing technique called geofencing can enable your digital campaigns to speak specifically to each of your customer personas, on their smartphones at the places they frequent. Geofencing is a powerful way to reach more users interested in your product or service.

“Geofencing, put simply, is a way to localize targeting and only reach specific people going to specific places,” according to Ahmed Daoud, Digital Media Specialist at Marshall Fenn. “Geofencing uses mainly GPS technology to create a virtual parameter. When the users enter the virtual ‘fence,’ their phones are tagged and ads are served if they match the targeting criteria.”

Geofencing enables digital marketers to put to rest old “spray and pray” techniques; ads can be finely targeted to each potential customer, with custom messaging and creative to match their unique needs and desires. With finer targeting comes less irrelevant impressions, which results in higher ROI.

Marshal Fenn leverages geofencing in a number of verticals including gaming, real estate, healthcare and senior living. We were able to geofence relevant locations like retirement homes, car dealerships and more. These ads “are resulting in a consistently high CTR as well as a lower CPA, because we’re reaching people with the right ads at the exact right time,” says Daoud.

Geofencing can also be employed in other, more creative ways, in order to collect data about customer habits and learn more about a business’ direct competitors.

“Another great advantage of geofencing is understanding the number of people of a certain demographic passing by a particular area,” describes Aneet Hundal, Digital Media Coordinator at Marshall Fenn. “If you had an OOH campaign, you may want to gain a better understanding of how many people who fit your specific target audience pass by the OOH ads. By setting a geofence around the ads, you can gain insights that would have otherwise been impossible to obtain.”

Marshall Fenn has also been utilizing the GPS technology behind geofencing to leverage other experimental tactics, like geoconquesting. “We geofence out clients’ competitors, and track on site visits from said tactic. Results have been very promising, where we were able to shift customers away from competitors to our clients’ locations,” says Hundal.

Geofencing can enable your campaigns to speak clearly to your potential customers, and collect critical insights on customer habits. And, according to Daoud, refining mobile ads through geofencing is a logical response to the data that proves customers’ changing habits. “With the increasing prominence of mobile consumption, people are more on the go than ever before. Data has shown that customers don’t consume content on desktops the way they once did. As such, it’s imperative to target them on their phones and tablets while they’re on the go,” says Daoud.

No matter your field of business, geofencing is a critical addition to mobile ad campaigns that will attract new customers. If you’re curious about how geofencing can work for you, contact us today to learn more about how this cutting-edge digital tactic can make your campaigns more effective.

The Expansion of Casino Amenities Can Open Untapped Markets

Posted by | blog, Business, Commentary, Gaming, Marketing | No Comments

by James Kabrajee

In the past, expanding casino amenities was usually for two primary reasons:
1. To attract players from a competitive property.
2. To retain and increase the satisfaction of existing players, generate more trips or hold players on property longer.
But today, we should consider a third reason:
3. To attract entertainment-seekers and non-players to the casino and open new markets.
In the past, attracting entertainment-seekers and non-players was always a low priority as it was too expensive to do, it took too long to nurture them and they provided low economic returns. The argument was that we could never get them to play on the casino floor; understandable given that gambling was our only product. The casino industry is being forced to re-think some of its past assumptions and models. We used to wait for new customers to “age” into our demographic sweet spot and that kept the player pipeline filled but that’s not happening any more. Market share gains came from our competitors based on formulas we knew would incentivise players to switch, but our margins are getting thinner and there aren’t as many of those dollars available any more.
So how do we keep the casino customer pipeline filled? Well we might have to re-think our definition of a casino customer.
Consider this statement published in the Harvard Business Review in 2004.
“Industries and business change when they are threatened, until that happens very little changes.”
The threat to the casino industry is the shift away from terrestrial gaming by younger population segments and the tracking suggests they have little future interest in casino gaming. Additional threats come from increased competition (there are over 1000 casino in North America) plus competition from the proliferation of online casinos and lastly, player attrition due to changing age demographics. But there’s also a macro change occurring across ALL consumer sectors, gaming included, and it has to do with the overall purchasing behaviour of consumers.
Trends indicate consumers are rationalizing the “value” for almost everything they consume and this isn’t just concentrated among millennials and Gen Y’s. It doesn’t mean that consumers are demanding more stuff (although sometimes it feels that way) but rather that they are researching and thinking more about what they spend their money on and applying some measure of value to their spending.
Non-players don’t see casino gaming as providing sufficient entertainment value for the money, but the new suite of amenities being built at casinos could change that.
In a recent 2016 IPSOS research study (an article appeared in CGB titled Not Your Grandpa’s Casino) some of the top barriers to visiting a casino by Non-Casino Players and Millennials were:
• “Playing casino games is not good use of money”.
• “I would rather take part in other forms of entertainment”.
Clearly these groups have low interest in casino games, but IPSOS posed the question whether amenities could be used to attract non-player casino customers and even Millennials to a casino?
If marketed as “value for their entertainment dollar,” there is reason to believe in revenue potential here. IPSOS noted the effect that a lack of marketing and advertising has on customer awareness of amenities. When non-players were surveyed for their awareness of casino amenities, one casino with 12 amenities saw 66% of non-player respondents indicate they were not aware of any amenities at the casino and at another casino with 19 amenities, 51% of respondents had zero awareness.
But simple awareness isn’t the answer either. It’s going to take some time for people to shift their perceptions of what a casino is. To many people casinos are all about gambling and they don’t link gambling to entertainment. But with the abundance of restaurant choices, spas, hotels and entertainment centres casinos can offer a diverse entertainment experience and make that link. Using these assets to connect to new audiences in the form of small events like cooking classes, scotch tastings, wine education, wellness seminars or other small events can attract non-players and Millennial’s and provide “value for money.”
It’s marketing’s job to change perceptions of what a casino is and how it fits into a customer’s entertainment portfolio by focussing on value and entertainment options. A refined definition of what a casino is.
And yes, I recognize we are not only talking about a marketing shift but also a business shift. We aren’t just competing with other casinos for our share of the gaming customer, this is an opportunity to compete for our share of any customer’s entertainment wallet.
Businesses pivot and shift all the time when threatened. When Starbucks first started its business it only sold espresso makers and coffee beans. They did well but Howard Shultz realized this business model wouldn’t scale well. So after a trip to Italy, he became inspired to shift Starbucks to a coffee brewer and café-style company. That worked out nicely.
Even Wrigley didn’t always sell gum. In fact when William Wrigley Jr. moved to Chicago and worked as a soap and baking powder salesman, he got the idea of offering free chewing gum with his household products. Eventually the gum proved to be more popular than his products. Of course Wrigley went on to manufacture his own chewing gum brands and today the company grosses billions in revenue and is one of the most recognizable brands in American history.
Building and designing new amenities is an opportunity for the casino industry to address a market it has historically avoided. It’s an opportunity to change perceptions among an important new audience part of their entertainment portfolio. It will require a shift in marketing, not away from gaming but “in addition” to gaming and it will take patience, because behavioural change doesn’t happen overnight.

The New Kids on the Block

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Marshall Fenn’s Approach to Real Estate Marketing

The traditional approach to marketing in the Canadian real estate sector had, for years, been a derivative of the same formula. It used to be that you could drag and drop the same basic suite of tactics into the marketplace and voila – instant brand, instant campaign. And that worked for a while.

But then of course you had the soaring cost of housing in major Canadian markets and everything changed.  Higher stakes. More competition. Real estate became this century’s gold rush and the frenzy has pushed us into the hyper-market we know and love today – one that’s rife with uncertainty, instability and, most importantly, opportunity.

Now that we can shed ourselves of the lazy habit of formulae, these are exciting times. New ideas and new strategies are evolving in step with a new environment that demands it.

Just look at the new cultural ‘meta’ of buying a home. Proud, humble, dignified home ownership has been a social staple since, forever. It’s been a marker of growth and a symbol of independence and financial maturity. But buying a home has become so expensive in major Canadian markets that many young adults are shying away in favour the low cost of renting – and the freedom that comes with it.

Today, it’s no longer a cultural requisite to own a home and many young people are loath to risk their savings in an unpredictable market. And as the real estate landscape is shifting away from tradition, it stands to reason the marketing approach needs to follow.

Take the first step toward a fresh and effective real estate marketing strategy.

Understanding the changes in real estate is crucial to running effective campaigns. Because of the high cost of buying in major cities, the marketing spotlight is now on rental properties.

Traditional agencies start with those old formulaic campaign tactics like “glossy brochures or a page in the Saturday paper,” says Marshall Fenn President David Zbar. With changing audiences and industry practices, this is no longer the most effective approach.

Marshall Fenn recognizes that a departure from tradition is necessary to effectively market rental properties in the new real estate market. “We bring insight into reaching these new people in the space,” says Zbar, referring to Marshall Fenn’s strategic ethnographic research and audience persona mapping.

Marshall Fenn’s research approach starts at the ground level, with an interview process involving people who fit the property’s key demographics. Through these interviews, new data comes to light about their goals, values and lifestyles; the facts gleaned from these interviews help inform the approach of the campaign in all aspects. With these initial characterizations, the persona journey is mapped. From the time prospects realize they’re in need of a rental property, to when they’re first introduced to the brand, all the way through to signing the lease, how these personas will act in each stage becomes a predictable certainty. The technique ensures audiences are kept aware and engaged with the brand and its offerings.

But rental properties aren’t immune to the changes of the industry. An increasingly popular trend in real estate is purpose-built rentals: properties that have all of the amenities of a condo, but come with a traditional rental agreement, rather than a mortgage and maintenance fees. In the case of purpose-built rentals, many developers are faced with the challenge of having to rent out units before construction is complete.

Marshall Fenn partner, Oren Tal, recognizes this as another unique trial in real estate marketing: “How do you pique interest, create demand and keep those leads warm through the construction and development of a unit? I might have to keep you interested for a year or two. Building loyalty – that’s where the challenge lies.”

Keeping potential customers engaged is another steep departure from traditional real estate marketing; traditional campaigns are grounded in a unit that the customer can see, touch, and imagine themselves in. Marketing for purpose-built rentals must ground itself in conceptual imagery and a strong brand. It must use new technologies like virtual and augmented reality so prospects can see themselves living in a property that hasn’t even been built yet.

Marshall Fenn’s latest project, Kings Club, is a purpose-built rental property that boasts great  amenities, retail, convenient all-inclusiveness, and an unparalleled location in the heart of Liberty Village in downtown Toronto.

After hitting the streets and interviewing numerous potential renters, Marshall Fenn narrowed down three audience personas to target. These personas included:

  • A millennial hoping to live as comfortably as possible within their means,
  • A retired couple who is hoping to sell their home and enjoy the freedom of renting downtown, and
  • A pre-family couple who can’t afford to buy downtown and aren’t ready to move out of the city.

Marshall Fenn then mapped the rental journeys of these personas and analyzed their criss-crossing paths to learn what common goals these demographics share. The conclusion was that all of these personas sought the ‘Liberty of Rental Living’. Translation? They prefer the freedom of renting over the commitment of buying. Marshall Fenn went on to use this approach to develop a striking brand for Kings Club; it conveys the stylish architecture, bustling neighbourhood and attitudes of freedom and convenience through strong graphics, bold colour contrasts and crisp messaging.

Marshall Fenn sees the big changes in the real estate industry as a unique marketing opportunity where ethnographic data is used to inform a creative approach in the category.

Marshall Fenn president David Zbar sums up the agency’s innovative application of ethnographic research to real estate marketing: “We’re using the real-life goals and attitudes of the people we interview to help build our audience personas, to inform our design, to guide our keyword research. We’re building a customer journey to inform a media strategy.”

Because of the fluctuating nature of real estate in Canada today, Marshall Fenn employs concrete data to get ahead of the market and predict what techniques will be successful. The target is a new real estate audience with a multi-channel, creative approach that is constantly informed by data. It’s the anti-formula that keeps clients ahead in an ever-shifting sector.

Take the first step toward a fresh and effective real estate marketing strategy.

Digital Stress Test – Is your website meeting customer expectations?

Posted by | Digital Strategy, Frontpage, Gaming, Marketing | No Comments

By Lindsay McLeod
Published on: Canadian Gaming Business Magazine – Fall 2016

Many companies are applying stress tests to their corporate websites to see how they measure up against their competitors and to validate whether they are meeting customer expectations. You should be doing the same with your website. It’s your point of differentiation and likely your greatest acquisition and retention tool.

You need to make sure it’s up to par and ensure your customers needs are being met every time they visit. Take this simple 7 step stress test. If you can’t answer yes to all 7 questions you should be making plans to revise your site and improving your customer experience.

1. Do you know what your customer journey looks like?
Where do they start this journey? Is your customer standing on property with a mobile device looking for a promotion? Did they see a billboard on the interstate and are now trying to find you online? It is important to acknowledge that the journey doesn’t start simply at your website. It could start minutes, or even days before coming online. Understanding where your customers come from and then driving them through a journey that satisfies their original question is paramount. Removing any barriers from that journey is the first step to success.

2. Do you know if your website supports all types of visitors?
Is it usable on mobile, tablet and desktop? And even more importantly does it meet current accessibility standards? It is crucial (and required by law) that all these user needs are met as customers become more savvy and fickle, we have to be inclusive of the many devices in the marketplace.

3. Do you know what your digital cost of attrition is?
Knowing this is the crux of many successful digital strategies and sets the foundation for truly understanding and improving your ROI. You have allocated marketing dollars to billboards, radio and digital ads. But do you know how much money you spend to acquire and retain customers in your digital journey? And not just impressions and clicks. No longer can you throw money against digital ads and assume they will stick. You need to know what brought the user to the site, what converted them and more importantly where you lost them.

4. Do you offer and reward your customers with exclusive content?
Technology has given us the ability to segment to a level that we now know what pair of shoes a customer last looked at online. Customers expect a personalized experience. Generic content does not satisfy the masses. Custom content is key and only half of the equation. You need to put in as much effort producing rich content as you do providing it to your customer. Do you house it in a member based mobile app? Do you have to register to get access to this content? Customers are willing to work for content that is rewarding. Asking for preferences and personalized data to access this content is a win for both marketer and customer.

5. Do you know what content you are posting/sharing/saying 2 weeks, 3 months, 6 months in?
Taking a reactionary position or even worse ignoring social content is a thing of the past. Having a content strategy that supports a customer throughout their digital journey is key. Knowing what that content looks like weeks ahead is even more important. This ensures your content is on brand, is strategic and delivers on your digital promise. It also gives you more time to focus on the organic discussions, humanizing your brand and if need be – deal with a negative situation.

6. Do you know if you are you paying for inefficient keywords?
On the surface it looks like you are generating awareness and traffic, but from qualified customers? Unlikely. So many times when reviewing a client’s paid search setup that we uncover the ugly truth – you are paying for broad match keywords that have nothing to do with your vertical let alone your segment. The opportunity is endless to target very specific customers and tie it back to your ROI when done correctly. Knowing how to leverage that opportunity and implement a keyword strategy for both paid search and organic search that supports your customer journey is where many fall short.

7. Do you know how your email is performing?
Emails have become a commodity in the digital space. At times worse than regular junk mail, with some of the messaging not even making it to our clients digital doorstep. Yet email continues to serve a purpose – but you need to make it work even harder than loading up a generic blast and hitting send. Email is the delivery mechanism of your customer journey that you have control over. Ensuring it is personalized, exclusive and timely will prove of great value to your customer. Measuring open and click rate will no longer suffice. You need to understand where and what your customer does after they have opened and clicked. Tying email into your digital journey will give you the visibility you need to understand which customers to attract, retain and just how much you need to spend to keep them.

If you answered yes to all 7 questions, congratulations you get a gold star!

If you didn’t and you believe your digital strategy doesn’t measure up, we can help.
We have been helping companies differentiate their brands from the competition, drive acquisition, create meaningful conversations through social media, and use mobile technology to increase customer traffic. Contact Us Today

Social Media Engagement – Creating the Bigger Brand Story

Posted by | blog, Branding, Business, Gaming, Marketing, Social Media | No Comments

By Jim Kabrajee

While it was common a couple of years ago to view “customer engagement“ as just another marketing channel, with the access your customers have  to your brand through mobile and Social Media, the power of balance has changed. As casino marketers recognize this growing power, we need to rethink all our marketing strategies and be ready to engage our players on every front, at every point of contact. We are well beyond using social media marketing as a bullhorn for marketing promotions. Today we need to build our casino brands through social media engagement strategies that not only enhance our marketing, but also reap additional benefits throughout the organization.


Before we begin, let’s talk about how we define customer engagement and how the most successful marketers do it. Engagement is an effect, a reaction, a connection, a response and an experience of players with one another and your casino. Social Media marketing in 2016 is about crafting brand experiences based on player insights and leveraging these insights to increase customer engagement. Our observation is that most casinos still use social media as a bullhorn, as a one-way message rather than crafting strategies that take advantage of the opportunities for connection, engagement and dialogue.

So how do the most successful marketers develop strong Social Marketing strategies? They start by making sure their overall casino brand translates into a social marketing brand. You’ve probably heard that the best Social Media programs employ brand “storytelling” and communicate with customers and prospects with engaging content. Well it’s not just a brand story for the marketing department – you need to look at multiple strategies that plug into that brand story and then make sure that every program, promotion, and public communication you deploy in social media adds something to that brand story.


And the brand storytelling is not just outward-facing, not just for your customers; the best ones are also integrated into an internal brand employment strategy for your employees and prospective employees. An internal brand strategy needs to be embedded in your corporate culture and influence all departments in the casino, not just marketing.

Here’s an interesting example of what I’m talking about.

Our client, Miami Valley Gaming is a racino located in Lebanon, Ohio. We opened in December 2013 and despite having four other properties, including full-service casinos, in the immediate vicinity we lead the market. We did this by differentiating ourselves by tapping into Ohio loyalty and pride. We created a set of fictional characters that Ohioans related to and enjoy. It centers on a fictional company called the “Lucky Buckeye Company” and the Buckeye is Ohio’s State symbol.


Through the various media campaigns; TV, radio, social media, online marketing and Out-of-home the market enthusiastically embraced the brand. This brand is trusted and respected. It is seen as friendly, fun and progressive. Just what we needed in order to begin leveraging the storytelling into other non-marketing areas for the casino.

Miami Valley Gaming is not only competing for local customers but for local talented employees, we also needed to find a different way to approach recruiting to separate them from other casinos. To stand out in a crowded market, we realized Miami Valley Gaming needed a social recruiting strategy that leveraged the appropriate social property to recruit candidates with differing skill sets. Our approach needed to be engaging so applicants could learn the benefits of working at the casino and make the application process as seamless as possible.

What made this strategy a great success story is that MVG appreciates the importance to the community of the fictional brand. The Lucky Buckeye Company brand and characters have been present since MVG’s inception, and they knew that is was wise to continue the brand story with the characters that made it so meaningful to customers. Whenever people see the characters’ faces on billboards or on digital and social channels, they have an authentic connection to the characters which is unique within the gaming industry.


We wanted to extend that story by reaching out to prospective employees on Miami Valley Gaming’s social and digital properties and the MVG website to build their social community and promote MVG as a great employer and a great place to work. At the time of launch of the social recruiting strategy, Miami Valley Gaming was introducing a new character to be called Lucy. We showcased her recruitment process and Lucy applying for a role at the Lucky Buckeye Company. Miami Valley Gaming saw this as an opportunity to attract new employees and at the same time build their internal culture.

During the TV campaign when Lucy was joining the “Lucky Buckeye Company” as the new Lucky Buckeye Inspector, we ran a Facebook contest to not only introduce Lucy to the audience but also asked the audience to provide their own videos explaining why they should be the next Lucky Buckeye Inspector. This grew engagement with the brand and became an integral part of our employee acquisition strategy.

Miami Valley Gaming employees started to promote MVG’s social properties to their own base of friends and colleagues and had fun telling their stories about what it’s is like to work for MVG. The casino’s brand and reputation grew even stronger.


 Our goal was to increase the number of candidates applying at the casino. Since the inception of the social recruiting program in January 2015, Miami Valley Gaming is thrilled that their candidate pool has increased by 39 per cent and their patrons have Lucy, a new and beloved character to engage with.

It is evident that social recruiting has come of age due to a demand from both candidates and recruiters. Younger candidates want lots of insight into an organization’s culture before they are ready to investigate compensation and benefits. Our social strategy enabled Miami Valley Gaming to do so in a fun, engaging and most effectively a cost effective manner.

Engagement in social media channels illustrates that it is not only passive job seekers that you reach, but active recruitment activity is also acceptable by these communities. Today we are seeing more opportunities for candidates to share their CV’s on social platforms as more companies invest in recruiting tools and platforms designed to operate on social platforms.

Social media engagement is an ongoing hot topic for every brand and everyone is trying to integrate it into their marketing plans. Some brands make it look easy, but it isn’t. It takes lots of patience and, foremost, a social strategy that is rooted in the brand story.

The need to cultivate authentic relationships with your audiences has never been so important because the next post you share could be the one that lands you your next high roller, brand advocate or star employee. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to use that brand story to build an ongoing relationship through your HR department, Operations, and Player Services.

Cassie Awards, Marshall Fenn

Buckeyes Are Our Lucky Charm: Marshall Fenn Wins Silver at The Cassie Awards

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The casino company used Ohio values and symbols to offer something different.

This story appears in the February/March 2016 issue of Strategy Magazine.

Silver: Canadian Success on the Global Stage


Situation Analysis

When Miami Valley Gaming (MVG) planned the launch of a new racino (racetrack/casino), halfway between Dayton and Cincinnati, they were entering a crowded market, with six established national brand-name casinos that were much larger in size and had many more amenities within a 55-mile radius. In addition, a further three casinos were slated to open during 2014.

The issue for MVG was how to launch and sustain a smaller, local casino amid the aggressive marketing efforts of established national brands, with targets to generate annual revenue of $100 million and sign up 50,000 player membership rewards in the first year.

Insight & Strategy

Research highlighted that, while MVG’s competitors were national chains with the advantage of superior amenities (i.e. table games, hotels, universal reward cards, properties in Las Vegas and national gaming experiences), their brands were virtually interchangeable, offering the “proxy Vegas” gaming experience. Whereas Ohioans didn’t want Vegas, they wanted an entertainment option they could “own” and feel proud of, one that was in touch with the values of Ohioans – their independence, uniqueness and their fierce love of all things.

MVG would be positioned as “Ohio’s casino,” a brand that was welcoming, entertaining, exciting, yet accessible and homegrown.

Ohio is known as the Buckeye State, and many Ohioans refer to themselves as “Buckeyes.” Further research revealed an acorn-like nut from the state tree, Aesculus glabra, commonly known as the Ohio buckeye, was a symbol of good luck to Ohioans. The Buckeye – the state symbol, a source of local identity and pride, and a symbol of luck – would drive the campaign.


Launching on November 18, 2013 in Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio, and running throughout 2014 with a support of $3 to $4 million, a multi-disciplined campaign featured two affable characters representing a fictitious company called the Lucky Buckeye Company, whose prime product was to ensure that every buckeye at Miami Valley Gaming was a “lucky buckeye.”

It ran across conventional and cable television, radio, OOH (billboards and bus wraps), print, website, digital, social media, place-based ads (Dayton Airport/Cincinnati Outlet Mall) and community engagement through various local sponsorships.

The two pitch men anchored a series of spots that introduced the casino and delivered the story of The Lucky Buckeye Company and how having a buckeye in your pocket could bring you luck. To support the idea, MVG offered free buckeyes to patrons at the casino. The TV characters made appearances at the casino and in the community, becoming local celebrities.


In its first year of operations, MVG exceeded its objective for revenue by 20%, raking in over $119 million, making it the third-largest casino amongst the closest competitors. Also, the original objective of acquiring 50,000 MVG Club membership sign-ups was beaten three-fold with just over 150,000 sign-ups. The industry standard of “revenue per slot machine” was second-highest in the market at $207 per machine per day. As the additional revenue had very little additional expense attached to it, the company’s net income increased more than 25%.

Cause & Effect

All launch and promotional efforts centered on the “Lucky Buckeye” campaign idea. MVG had budgeted on spending 4% of revenue on advertising, but held investment at the planned dollar value, resulting in a lower advertising-to-sales ratio. Within six months of opening, MVG gave out an estimated 40,000 buckeye nuts, creating Ohio’s first-ever state-wide buckeye shortage.


Client: Miami Valley Gaming

VP of Marketing: Deborah Murray

President & GM: Domenic Mancini

Sr. Director of Marketing: Rob Swedinovich

Director of Marketing: Jerry Abner

Advertising Manager: Pat Shaw

Promotions Manager: Taylor Gilliam

Agency: Marshall Fenn Communications

Co-Creative Directors: Daniel Couto, Mike Vinakmens

Jr. Art Director: Daejoon Kim

Jr. Copywriter: Kelly O’Neill

Partner, CEO: Jim Kabrajee

Account Director: Lesley Dikeos

Account Executive: Roberta Weisbrot

Media Director: Tammy Silny

Producers: Clare Cashman, Lisa Moore, Gill Gardner

Director: Craig Brownrigg

Other Partners: Radke Films, School, Sonic Kore


For more information, visit:


real-time bidding, digital marketing, digital display advertising

3 Crucial Steps for Digital Display Advertising Success

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Digital display advertising goes by a lot of names:

Programmatic, Real-Time Bidding (RTB), dynamic advertising, display advertising, and many more.

Chances are at some point in time, you’ve been confused by them all and begrudgingly spent money on something you didn’t quite comprehend.

Trust me, you’re not alone.

Collecting data is easy – finding smart ways to use it and drive conversions (or sales) can often time be seemingly difficult.

That’s why we put together these 3 crucial steps to bleed every last ROI dollar from your digital display advertising campaigns.

1. Start Slow and Build

start slow and build, digital display advertising

When you first discover a platform that you think will do wonders for your brand, it’s exciting. It feels as if the sky is the limit. The truth is, the sky is the limit, but your budget may be grounding you. It’s super easy to fall into a trap that says you have to build complex campaigns from the beginning in order to drive success and the fact is… you don’t. Similar to a high school science class experiment, it’s incredibly important to take small steps initially and grow your campaign based on results. We’ve found that brands that follow this approach have much healthier and more sustained results – something that is tricky in the world of digital display ads. This may mean that you begin by only focusing on one channel, level of targeting or CPM/CPA goals or keeping creative simple. Your campaigns will show you what’s working, but you should have a basic understanding before diving in the deep end.

2. Relevancy is King 


From my experience the best performing digital display ads are incredibly straight forward and easy to follow. The creative has to be clean and simple with a straight forward call to action. The best way to look at this concept would be to put yourself in your target customers’ shoes. If you were them, would you click on your banner ad? Leave ego at the door and think – if your honest answer is no, then you may need to go back to the drawing board. If you want someone to click your banner to buy a concert ticket or product, consider adding a “Buy Now” button on your banner. Simplicity and relevancy are in the details of your creative.

3. Test, Test and Test Some More

experiments and tests

Experiments are fun, right? Have some fun with your campaigns. Just remember, for every variable you change, keep everything else the same. This way you can tell which strategies are delivering the best bang for your buck. Think your audience is suffering from some serious creative fatigue? Change your banners. Think your ad is not reaching your desired audience at the right time? Alter your strategy to include ad scheduling. There’s a lot of different ways you can test your campaigns for optimal performance, just remember a ton of factors come into play, including: holidays, products/services may perform differently and etc. At the end of the day, you’re going to get better results because you are taking the time to test, measure and apply change.

What have we learned?

In short, we have learned that it’s important to not dive in the deep-end with digital display ads before you’ve had a chance to really know what works best for you. By starting slow, focusing on relevancy and experimenting with controlled variables, you will see healthy and consistent sales and conversions week-over-week.

Ready to drive more sales using digital display advertising? 

Marshall Fenn is here to help. We’ve mastered digital display and clients are loving it. They’re seeing website traffic and sales explode with well-structured and optimized digital display ads.

The best part? We provide analytics that are easy to understand and even easier to make decisions from. Tell us what goal you wish to achieve with your digital budget and we’ll help make it a reality.

No confusing platform names, no gimmicks – just measurable results.

About the Author

Jackie Awenus

Jackie is our in-house digital marketing maven. Always on the pulse of emerging social and search trends, Jackie blends these trends alongside her 6 years of experience in the field, to deliver high value results for clients. She has developed social media,  social recruiting strategies, crisis management strategies alongside social listening and monitoring projects, content development as well as paid social, search and organic search strategies for brands such as Bluenotes, T.G.I.Fridays, World Vision Canada, Citizen Watch, Amber Alert, Nabs, American Council on Exercise, #DevTO, Anytime Fitness, The Yorkville Club, Fit-C, Memory Ball, Miami Valley Gaming, Caesars Windsor, Waterfront Toronto, and many more.

Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian Cancer Society App, mobile fundraising, Marshall Fenn

Canadian Cancer Society: Our App Makes Fundraising Easy

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How many times has this happened to you? You have a big meeting planned with a potential donor, and after filing through a seemingly endless amount of paper looking for the right forms, your meeting ends before any documents are signed.

This is a problem most non-profits are facing. They have a passionate team of fundraisers who are ready and willing to knock on doors looking for donations, but get so lost in the paperwork that those fundraising dollars literally slip through their hands. You’ve given them all the tools that they need to secure donations, but they are seemingly getting lost in the shuffle of paperwork.

Don’t you wish there was an easier way ?

The Canadian Cancer Society had this very challenge. As they entered their next fundraising goal of $2.5 billion, they realized the immense pressure ccs2on its fundraising “Cabinet” comprised of senior Canadian business leaders. Their pressure, on top of reaching a very large fundraising goal, was that they have full time careers outside the Canadian Cancer Society and were not immersed in every aspect of the organization. The passion was there, but because they didn’t have the most relevant information and answers at the drop of a hat for potential large donors, it left them having to search through a seemingly never ending stack of papers or answering questions with “I’ll have to get back to you on that”.

The Canadian Cancer Society approached Marshall Fenn Communications looking for a way to streamline their fundraising efforts and provide their cabinet members with the information they needed at the tip of their fingers.

The Solution?

The CanCanadian Cancer Society Appadian Cancer Society Community App. Knowing that the cabinet was spread Canada-wide and would encounter a variety of scenarios and potential donors, they needed a solution that would provide access to the most recent information on a just-in-time basis. Marshall Fenn on behalf of The Canadian Cancer Society, designed an App. that is easy to use and empowered cabinet members and volunteers alik
e to have the information required at any time or place, making them feel more confident in presentations to prospective donors. The application made sharing easy and including everything from campaign messaging, success stories (including videos), research summaries and sample proposals.

The application, despite being relatively new to market, has enjoyed glowing reviews from the Canadian Cancer Society’s volunteer base. Due to internal demand, the app has been made available to all levels of volunteers and staff across the country. Now feeling more empowered at meetings than ever, Canadian Cancer Society volunteers are far better positioned for success.

Canadian Cancer Society has made fundraising for a good cause simple and they are reaping the benefits.

The good news? So can you. Learn more about non-profit fundraising application development by visiting

About the Author


Jennifer is the Director of Digital Strategy at Marshall Fenn. She is a learning and business professional with experience both with and within large organizations designing blended learning solutions, creating integrated strategy, managing high performing teams, and building effective relationships with clients and colleagues. Jennifer has extensive working knowledge of adult education principals, learning, technology. digital marketing and social media.

Miami Valley Gaming, Lucky Buckeye, Lucky Buckeye Company, Marshall Fenn Communications, Marshall Fenn, Cassie Awards

Miami Valley Gaming Gets Lucky

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When launching a new brand in unfamiliar territory, you want to make sure you get the introduction right. So Miami Valley Gaming picked us to launch their new property in Ohio.

We did our research and found that Ohio is the Buckeye state for a reason: They love their Buckeyes. Lucky for us, the Buckeye is also considered a lucky charm. (Not a bad coincidence when your client is a casino.)

So we launched not one but two companies: Miami Valley Gaming and The Lucky Buckeye Co. – two guys making sure your buckeyes are 100% lucky.

A TV campaign and a series of vignettes for social helped this new brand fit right.

So much so, the Buckeye State actually ran out of Buckeyes. True story.

This campaign has also been nominated for a Cassies award in 2015.

(*spit-shines buckeye)


2015 Cassie Awards, Marshall Fenn Nominee

Lucky Buckeye Earns Marshall Fenn a Cassie Awards Nod

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Marshall Fenn nominated for Cassie Award

Casino campaign caused shortage of buckeyes in the Buckeye State

TORONTO, ON (Nov. 17, 2015) Nominations for the 2015 advertising Cassie Awards have been announced and Toronto agency, Marshall Fenn, received a nod for a campaign so successful that it created a shortage in Ohio of the state’s symbol, the buckeye.

The campaign was for casino property Miami Valley Gaming in Lebanon, Ohio. A buckeye in the pocket is widely believed to be good luck in Ohio.

When it opened December 12, 2014, Miami Valley Gaming gave out an estimated 40,000 of the nuts in just 90 days, to welcome patrons with a “lucky buckeye” to put in their pockets. The promotion included television, radio, print, out-of-home and online ads touting the Lucky Buckeye Co., a fictitious firm hard at work keeping Miami Valley Gaming supplied with shiny, lucky buckeyes for the giveaway.

“Buckeyes became scarce over the summer and we had to count on the annual replenishment this fall to continue the campaign,” says Dan Couto, co-Creative Director, Marshall Fenn. “It got national media attention in the U.S. and greatly exceeded the client’s objectives.”

“We needed to establish a uniquely local flavour for Miami Valley,” adds co-Creative Director Mike Vinakmens. “The property is located between Cincinnati and Dayton, both of which have casinos, so we needed to attract patrons from both markets but keep the local feel. Using the buckeye as a symbol clearly showed that this is Ohio’s gaming choice.”

The campaign featured TV, radio, online and print. The TV was shot in Ohio with Craig Brownrigg for Radke Film Group and post production provided by School Editing.

The CASSIES are Canada’s premier advertising awards, the only awards focused on the effect advertising has on driving advertisers’ business based on published case studies. The winners will be announced in Toronto at an event in February 2016.

Miami Valley Gaming has been a client of Marshall Fenn’s since 2013. Miami Valley Gaming is a partnership of Delaware North Companies Gaming & Entertainment and Churchill Downs Incorporated.

Marshall Fenn Communications is a multi-disciplined agency based in Toronto, owned by its six partners. The agency has a specialty in casino and lottery gaming, having worked with casinos in 11 jurisdictions across North America for more than 20 years.