Leveraging Players’ Emotions (To Re-frame A Category & Unleash Category Growth)

First- The-Trousers had the opportunity to carry out a project for the Hoosier Lottery (Indiana State Lottery) last year with the objective to help them identify new growth opportunities in the draw game category and fuel their new product pipeline. The outcome were a new way to look at the category, the identification of several new white space opportunities centered around consumer emotions and playing occasions, around 60 new product ideas (of which a dozen are currently tested) and an opportunity to re-position several of the existing brands within the portfolio.

A summary of this project was just published in Lafleur’s Magazine, the leading global magazine in the gaming industry, and can be found below.

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The Hoosier Lottery, similar to other state lotteries, is subject to the volatility of the national jackpot games, which makes it more challenging to deliver revenue growth. To help counter this effect, GTECH Indiana, working on behalf of the Hoosier Lottery, is using innovative techniques to refine and promote its in-state, non-jackpot game portfolio.

The product development and marketing teams partnered with brand consulting firm First-The-Trousers- Then-The Shoes to identify new growth opportunities and better align its current draw game portfolio with Hoosiers. The project focused on identifying, organizing, and quantifying the emotions and needs consumers tried to fulfill when playing various lottery games.

“We knew consumers played the lottery for many different reasons, but we had never validated or quantified our hypothesis on emotions players tried to satisfy, depending on when and where they played lottery games, how they felt while playing, and who they were with during the play experience,” said Jessica Powell, VP, Product & Marketing Innovation, GTECH Indiana.

“The multi-faceted project included internal workshops (to capture our own hypothesis), focus groups with various player segments (to ensure we did not miss any key insights from the consumer’s perspective), and a quantitative study to substantiate the findings,” she added.

The outcome was a “map” that highlighted 14 core motivation clusters. Each cluster included several emotions and “need states,” representing the emotional universe on why people play lottery draw games.

“These findings suggested to the Hoosier Lottery’s product development and marketing teams that it was no longer solely in the business of selling draw game tickets, but rather, should incorporate mood management into its strategy,” said Ulli Appelbaum, Founder and President, First-The-Trousers-Then-The Shoes. “We found adult Hoosiers play games to manage, enhance, or change their momentary moods.”

People are complex, so the lottery’s findings suggested they often buy a product or a brand for more than one reason. Building from those 14 emotional clusters, the study also revealed and quantified 11 “ideal playing occasions” and the relevant emotions associated with each occasion.

Consumers were also asked how well the current draw game products fulfilled their different needs, enabling the lottery to both understand which needs were not yet satisfied by the existing products, representing new product opportunities, as well as how well individual lottery products were aligned with the relevant playing occasions and associated emotions.


One of the products reviewed in the draw game differentiation study was Bingo To Go. The game was launched in August 2014 and was not performing to projections. The initial launch campaign focused on generating awareness and was rational in its messaging of matching numbers to win the top prize of $100,000.

The study revealed that Bingo To Go was not clearly aligned with a relevant playing occasion and the corresponding needs and emotions. Rather, the game was situated between two different occasions: the Dream/Risk and the Dream/Believe clusters, respectively. Further, the data indicated that, from a consumer perspective, Bingo To Go overlapped with Poker Lotto, another draw game offered by the Hoosier Lottery. Therefore, consumers viewed two draw games as delivering the same needs.

Based on these findings, the Hoosier Lottery marketing team decided to reposition Bingo To Go through a full-scale marketing campaign. The campaign focused on how the game and mobile app could transport players with a more engaging, interactive experience. The call to action was download the app.

The repositioning of Bingo To Go was supported by a fully-integrated campaign, including mass media, online marketing, and point-of-sale messaging.

Bingo To Go is a completely new draw game product to the Hosier market, so the player base was in the beginning stages, but sales responded immediately to the re-positioning campaign. In the first four weeks after re-launch cumulative sales were up 17.6%. Further, the new campaign impacted the adoption of the Hoosier Lottery mobile convenience app, with downloads increasing approximately 18%, helping the Hoosier Lottery to strengthen relationships with players and provide an engaging consumer experience.

“Reviewing the draw game product category from a human perspective and focusing on why people play the lottery helped us identify several unfulfilled need states that were not satisfied by the current games, giving us further opportunity for portfolio growth. The study also helped us realign existing products before considering new or different games in future fiscal years,” said Powell.

Overall, this new, innovative approach will guide the Hoosier Lottery’s portfolio strategy for years to come as it strives to reduce dependence on national jackpot games in Indiana.

Originally published in the Lafleur’s Magazine, March/April 2015 issue.

Ulli Appelbaum is Founder & President of brand strategy and innovation firm First-The-Trousers-Then-the-Shoes (www.first-the-trousers.com) specialized in brand growth, (product) innovation and brand storytelling. He has extensive experience in the Lottery industry having helped lottery agencies re-position their brand for growth, develop new white space opportunities and new product ideas, optimize their internal innovation and go to market processes and develop communication strategies for a variety of new product launches. He’s also a regular contributor to the Public Gaming Magazine (www.pgri.com) and speaker at conferences. Feel free to contact me to explore how I can help you grow your lottery and/or gaming business. 

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