With 19 trucks rolling into the Sands Convention Center unloading pallets and boxes that will compose IGT’s 2018 G2E product lineup as we speak, here are 9 ways defining how we got here, and how all of this comes together as a cohesive display of IGT’s vast and diverse product portfolio.
- Collaboration: First, none of this is possible without the teamwork and cooperation of an army of folks from all facets of the business. Pulling together is the only way to transform the largest gaming portfolio in the industry into the largest trade show booth in the industry, and almost every department within IGT plays a key role.
- May 1: That’s when planning begins, where project managers work with product owners on high-level strategies, and when initial product lists are sent to the Game Studios as targets. Over 350 machine orders are entered in our system, to provide Operations visibility and enabling them to plan show builds and not impact revenue-generating activities.
- 25,000: Is the square footage of IGT’s booth, home to around 400 cabinets and devices. Getting each piece of hardware and software placed and configured is a herculean task in and of itself, driven by around 50 folks: Field Services, Technical Support, Marketing Leads, and Project Management on-booth. But another challenge is determining how to take this overwhelming volume and create impactful stories and experiences for customers?
- Summer of Planning: In July, IGT’s Game Studios present G2E products to the PMM (Product Marketing Management) team that is charged with crafting market-facing narratives and training materials about the various products. Together with Marketing and Project Management, the booth is strategically laid out, placing key product along pathways. PMMs then begin their 500-hour quest to produce 3 total hours of game information and demonstration tips in e-learning modules as part Sales team product education and preparation.
- Wait, There’s a Pre-G2E?: If the preparation pressure and tight timelines of G2E weren’t enough, the finish line is moved up months because of an extended month-long event called Pre-G2E. During Pre-G2Eselect customers visit IGT’s Las Vegas showroom and receive a sneak peek of show products in 150-minute sessions. And…. We just finished. This year we hosted 32 unique customers with almost 200 total attendees representing around 20% of all North American casinos experiencing the 160 machines in our showroom. It’s like running 32 mini trade shows in a showroom the size of a small casino.
- Playoff Beards: All the planning in the world can’t overcome some down-to-the wire game tweaks and key developments, and our Game Studios often burn the midnight oil for weeks to ensure a late-breaking title is show-ready. It’s long days and great goal-oriented marathons that sometimes result in colleagues flying into Las Vegas with that final game program in their luggage.
- G2E Eve: The eleventh hour, the Monday prior to the show, is arguably the longest “live” day of the process, chock-full of events. Amazing execution from the Technical teams enables IGT to have a ready-to-open booth a day early, much ahead of the competition. This extra day starts with sit-down Sales training, then hands-on product tours on the floor in the afternoon. In the evening we host gaming analysts and investors for a couple hours of tours, a reminder that G2E is as much about customers as external Wall Street perception.
- It’s Here: And… there’s G2E itself, a frenzy of two-and-a-half days. Some key product highlights this year include: the unveiling of a new licensed brand displayed across three cabinets, the Adam Levine and Blake Shelton bro-mance as individual themes on our CrystalCurveUltra cabinet, Wheel of Fortune 4D and American Gods 4D, six total linked progressives on the CrystalCurve, five brand-new Keno titles including Ultimate X, PlayDigital and ETGs’ most aggressive showing, the three “Ms” of systems, our best foot forward with high denomination S3000, and awesome core themes such as Dragon of Fortune, Coin-O-Mania, Fortune Coin, Golden Jungle Grand, and too many more to list!
- On to Next Year: G2E is also the best chance to see what the competition is offering and peek into the industry’s future; and we take the time to benchmark ourselves vs the market during the show. This, plus garnering customer and internal feedback, drives the team to think of ways to make the show even more efficient and impactful next year, only 364 days away
Senior Director, Product Management