When you’re deep into creating casino marketing programs, finding inspiration can often be challenging. I get to work with some pretty smart marketers that inspire me on a daily basis. I often wonder what inspires them. So, I asked a few of them to share the quotes they like to live (and work by).


Steven Neely is Chief Operating Officer for Casino Del Sol. He tells me, “If you are not making some mistakes you are not trying hard enough.” You read about learning from failures in almost all the smart business books, but you seldom know someone personally who is really open to the concept. “Basically, I use this for my team to encourage innovation and understanding that failure is a part of the process.  Certainly, this is not a free pass for not putting the work in and for good planning, but the reality is that sometimes we just don’t know how something will go until we ‘light the fuse’.  I would rather have a team of people willing to try things, than a group of people who are unwilling, or scared, to take some risks.” Accepting an element of failure is going to open you up to experimentation. With experimentation comes advancement. In one of my latest Casino Journal columns, I talked about giving yourself a get out of jail free card. Give one to everyone on your team.


Potawatomi Hotel & Casino’s Tom Malloy gets to change hats on a daily basis. One is his assistant general manager hat and the other is his CMO hat. So, he pretty much must motivate everyone on that property. He tells me, “Motivation is what gets you started.  Habit is what keeps you going and then gets you there!” He knows that good marketing habits, i.e. programs, are what get us to our strategic goals. The habits Tom and his team choose to develop and set into motion set a foundation. He knows that marketing, like running a marathon, takes more than a spurt of energy (or a flash of an idea). It takes months of training to become fit enough to run a marathon. It takes months of consistency (or habits) for customers to understand your brand as it truly relates to them.


Rush Street Gaming CMO Mark Lunter has only been in his role for a short time, but is certainly experienced when it comes to marketing. Having worked his way up from the career ground floor, he has found “Two things define you. Your patience when you have nothing. Your attitude when you have everything.” I loved this quote because it is wisdom applicable to your life as well as your work. I often mention (to anyone who will listen) that some of my proudest moments were working for Isle of Capri Casinos. We had to be very careful in making decisions that had a financial impact. From the top down our leadership always had the right attitude at all points along the success and/or struggles of the company. I believe that was a big factor in the longevity of the company.


Suzanne Trout is CMO of Foxwoods Resort Casino. She finds her inspiration from Libba Bray’s A Great & Terrible Beauty. “There are no wrong decisions ― only different ones.” Trout says, “This perspective allowed me to take chances and take new opportunities.  Losing the fear and anxiety around making the ‘wrong’ choice is very freeing.  It also can help force action when you really need it.  Sometimes you just have to take a shot.  Don’t get frozen in the decision process.” Understanding there are no wrong decisions can help relieve the pressure of actually making the decision and may allow you to move forward.


Vincent Lentini is a longtime friend and CMO of Affinity Gaming. One of his quotes is especially relevant as business pundit continue to point out the importance of a CMO-CFO partnership: “Driving revenue and cutting costs are diametrically opposed forces for marketers that are a guarantee for failure.” I’s mind-boggling how often you come across leaders of some regard who believe they can save their way to success. Vincent is very focused on his job as a marketer. He is guided by a singular focus, “A marketer’s only job is to profitably influence consumer behavior.” See what he did there creating a truly balanced marketing and finance POV?

As you look to the beginning of a fresh new year, new ideas and new programs, I hope these smart people will influence some of your decisions.

Have a 2018 guiding mantra to share?

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