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Maryland Lottery to tackle budget constraints with social media

Maryland LotteryMaryland Lottery: Maryland Lottery to tackle budget constraints with social media

The Maryland Lottery will rely more on social media and less on D.C.'s massive media market to tout its games as the state slashes its advertising budget.

The state agency said it will look at Twitter, Facebook and other online networking sites to save money after statewide budget cuts slashed its ad spending by $5.5 million. And instead of buying pricey ads on local television stations that reach the entire D.C. market, it may buy Comcast cable ads that target certain neighborhoods, lottery Director Buddy Roogow said.

Maryland Lottery representatives also may hawk their games at more events. Lottery officials recently promoted their games at Artscape, and for the first time, they plan to sell tickets at a kiosk during Baltimore Ravens games this fall.

Using social media vehicles could help it reach the 18- to 34-year-old set that is less responsive to television and radio advertisements compared with interactive media. Because the lottery already has bought media for the next few months, its changes will not take place until the fall, Roogow said.

"You'll just see a much more focused advertising and less generic advertising," he said.

The changes also could help the lottery handle new budget constraints. Television and radio ads cost almost twice as much in Washington compared with Baltimore since it is one of the nation's top 10 markets, said Michele Selby, executive vice president of Media Works Ltd. in Owings Mills.

Baltimore, on the other hand, falls within the top 25 markets.

But a challenge for the lottery will be to figure how to market itself — a crucial source of revenue for the state — with less money. The state's cuts left it with a $12 million budget. The lottery hopes to pull in $516 million this year, compared with last year's $493 million.

"We will have to drive revenue but we'll have to be more creative," said Roger Gray, CEO of the lottery's advertising agency, GKV. The Baltimore firm will not cut any jobs as a result of the budget cuts, Gray said.

The lottery hired GKV to create ads in 2007 as part of a four-year, $17 million contract. It hired TBC to buy media in a separate $52 million contract.

TBC officials could not be reached for comment.

Washington Business Journal

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