Marketing the Dream: How the Lottery Wins Consumer Dollars

November 1, 2018 Victoria Pallien

In one way or another, marketing seems to be about persuading consumers to believe in a better, dream-like future. Consumer participation in the recent Mega Millions jackpot shows the public is avid about creating, or winning, a positive outlook. In fact, Americans purchased more than 370,171,655 Mega Millions tickets leading up to the October 23rd jackpot drawing, according to LottoReport.com. Annually, we spend more than $80 billion on lottery tickets.

lottery players gender google trends digital media solutions chart

Who Plays the Lottery?

Almost half of all American adults, roughly 181 million people, state they’ve played the state lottery. The share of Americans who purchased lottery tickets hit a high in 1999, 57%, before lottery sales slowed. But in 2016, Americans once again became more interested in the lottery, with 49% of Americans participating. And, according to Google Trends, search volume for the keyword “lottery” has grown steadily over the past five years.

Demographics of Lottery Players

US gambling behavior annual income digital media solutions chart

  • Education: 47% of all Americans with high-school diplomas or equivalent credentials say they purchased a state lottery ticket, which is slightly lower than those with higher levels of education.

Psychographics of Lottery Players

The lottery’s consumer base is fairly diverse and presents a challenge for marketing, but the one thing most lottery consumers have in common is hope for the future and a jackpot winning. According to VisionCritical, 75% of consumers believe they will win the lottery eventually. Hopeful lottery ticket purchasers say they will use their winnings for the following:

  • 71% of lottery players will use their winnings to pay off debt
  • 62% will take a vacation
  • 58% will give to their families
  • 51% will buy new cars
  • 45% will give to charities

Which Lotteries Implement Compelling Marketing?

lottery marketing mega millions jackpot ticket sales

To showcase the record-high Mega Millions jackpot, the Georgia Lottery used a classic billboard display with illuminated numbers to draw in consumers and encourage ticket sales.

The New York Lottery has a portfolio of hilarious and impressive commercials that have been strategically cultivated to attract consumers. One of their most recent TV spots includes a musical number and focuses on the statistics of the game. It’s hard to fall in love, but one in nine consumers wins the #Take5.

Many lotteries persuade consumer participation with statistics of winning, while others paint compelling pictures of post-jackpot life, like Powerball inviting consumers to “get this kind of rich.”

The New Hampshire Lottery won over consumers by portraying the excitement of winning a jackpot. With one office lottery pool and lots of screaming, NHLottery expresses pure joy in 30 seconds.

How Can Other Industries Market the Dream?

What does the lottery industry do right when it comes to marketing? Most lottery brands stay ahead of industry trends and cater their marketing to speak directly to their audiences.

But the lottery doesn’t have a monopoly on dreaming. Here’s what you can do to connect with the aspirations of your audience.

Understand Your Audience, Identify Industry Trends and Match Your Strategy to Current Dreams.

Aside from capitalizing on big dreams and debt-less life, lottery brands keep up with gambling trends, making each game better than the last. According to VisionCritical, 40% of consumers play games for the fun of it, instead of the cash prizes, so non-cash lottery games are on the rise.

Learn about your audience, including their needs, wants and dreams, but don’t let your research get stagnant. In order to stay abreast of trends and provide your consumers with the products and services they want, you need to change as your audience changes.

Connect with Your Audience at the Right Time with the Right Message.

Omni-channel strategies provide a diversified approach to online and offline tactics. According to Statista, TV advertising spend has increased from $60.66 billion in 2011 to $69.87 billion this year, and the lottery market plays a role in that increase. Traditionally, lotteries used billboard advertising, but as consumers’ media consumption evolved, more lottery brands incorporated radio ads and TV spots into their strategies. Make sure you know what media your audience consumes so you can connect with them where they are most likely to be.

The lottery also leverages emotional connections to ignite immediacy with their consumers, and you can too. Tailor copy to both the emotional and logical triggers of your target audience, and test copy to identify which messages best connect with your consumers and drive them to act. Content marketing, paid search, email and social may all need subtle message differences. Optimize your channels and content based on performance. What drives social performance may not increase email engagement. Drive conversions by tapping into your prospective customers’ desires, needs or fears.

Whether appealing to consumers who are looking to pay off debt or take lavish vacations, lottery brands know one thing is certain: their consumers would love some extra cash in their wallets. Marketing to lottery players involves selling the idea of a dream-like life, but winning the lottery is not the only way to make dreams come true. From weight loss to women’s equality and from home ownership to the perfect set of Minnie ears, dreams come in all shapes and sizes. Marketers who successfully match their products and services to the dreams of their consumers are likely to win time and time again.

Reimagining Your Marketing Dream?

Contact Digital Media Solutions today.

About the Author

Victoria Pallien

Victoria Pallien is a Marketing Communications Writer at Digital Media Solutions (DMS), an industry leader in providing end-to-end customer acquisition solutions that help clients grow their businesses and realize their marketing goals. Since its inception, DMS has evolved into a full-service performance marketing company that services firms within highly complex and competitive industries including mortgage, education, insurance, consumer brands, automotive, jobs and careers. DMS has achieved incredible year-over-year growth, which has earned recognition on the Inc. 5000 list in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

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