Reach Advisors is pleased to welcome a new guest blogger, LeAnne Ruzzamenti, Director of Marketing Communications at the Crocker Art Museum. We have long been impressed by LeAnne’s work at the Crocker, and are delighted to learn where she finds inspiration. Thanks so much, LeAnne, for contributing to Museum Audience Insight!
A few days in Las Vegas had me inspired: what lessons can museums and marketers learn from the marketing and retail pros? Here were some of my impressions:
These people know how to get a message across. From the moment of departing the airplane, I couldn’t help but be taken in by the advertising that appeared everywhere: in baggage claim (posters, billboard, standing signs on my carousel), on the “subway” within the airport (ads wrapped around the standing doors), on the cabs (roof signs AND trunk signs), and then as we approached Vegas Blvd.: billboards everywhere (ones with video, that light up, change, boast really great creative), buses completed wrapped with beautiful ads (the cost of producing the wrap alone probably accounted for one-third of my museum’s advertising budget). Over stimulation for sure, but after all the goal for the casinos is to get you to come through their doors – to play slots, eat, and shop in their high-end shops, and every message is strongly leading you to that end. As a marketing maven, I couldn’t help be impressed. I was hooked into reading nearly every billboard, video, cab, and bus ad and trying to decide who had the most powerful messages and creative.
They deliver on brand promise. Vegas promises that if you come, you are guaranteed to have a great time and feel good even while you gamble your money and spend sums of money on items that you’d consider outrageously priced back home. They know their brand now, “What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas,” and they hit it from every angle. Everything points to entertainment, and rest assured you will find the activities that energize, refresh, and entertain you.
Customer service is supreme. I was impressed when we walked 8 feet from the parking garage and were met by a hotel host who escorted us to the specific check-in line that we should join. After that I was harder to impress. A security officer stood outside the guest elevator doors and greeted us each time we went to our room, a presence for our safety, to feel as though we were “approved” to leave the casino floor and enter the guest room area, although they didn’t check keys or question us. Beautiful girls in matching suits wandered the casino floor and pool asking what we’d like to drink. Waiters, maître d’s, bus boys, sommeliers, all attended to our needs while dining. Why the emphasis on customer service? There are lots of options. I can easily walk across the street to another casino.
They sell in smart ways. While I snacked on nachos at a shopping mall, I heard a woman sell and upsell frozen daiquiris in such persistent ways, it made me want to recruit her to sell memberships at my museum’s front desk. We were offered opportunities to join frequent players’ clubs, spin wheels for free gifts, upgrade our show seats to premium location, shop during special hours, attend clubs with VIP status. They ask and sell and most of the offers were to customize our experience.
So while taking all this in, I still wasn’t finding the direct ties to the museum field. After all, the Las Vegas Art Museum closed early this year and the Guggenheim at the Venetian closed nine months prior to that, closures that were blamed on Las Vegas abandoning the family and cultural tourist and not committing to greater cultural experiences. Then I happened by the Ferrari dealership in the Wynn Hotel where they charge $10 admission (most museums I frequent have admission rates at $10 or less) and this was a car dealership. It was then that I realized that there was much museums can learn from Vegas.
LeAnne Ruzzamenti is the Director of Marketing Communications
for the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, California.
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