iGaming 2023: Navigating the Regulated World via Your CRM
With the seemingly infinite amount of data points operators have at their disposal in today’s digital market, the capabilities of the most advanced CRM systems stretch far beyond automated promotional emails! Now these systems can be used as tools to engage customers on a much deeper level, allowing you to create robust player profiles and provide a maximised gaming experience.
We caught up with Robert Civill, Chief Commercial Officer for Gamanza to hear his thoughts on the future of CRM, the role of gamification and most importantly how we, as an industry, can best leverage these tools to help drive sustainable growth well into the future.
As regulation around advertising becomes increasingly strict, how will this impact an operator’s reliance on its CRM system for player engagement? How can CRM tools be best leveraged to plug the gap and maintain market exposure?
“As painful and restrictive as I can imagine it is for operators, I think these advertising changes make those markets very interesting to monitor. It would also be an interesting task internally to be reallocating such a significant part of the marketing budget. And it will also reveal an accurate picture of the real ROI of television advertising and sponsorships. It also logically puts even more impetus on the importance of retention and re-activation.
“There are of course many factors that contribute towards player retention, but a big one is making the right offer to the right player at the right time and delivering a personalized experience. A quality CRM will be building a profile of each player’s betting preferences and playing habits such as the days and times they tend to be active on-site. This information can be used to ensure that they are excluded from receiving irrelevant messages and offers and instead see the stuff we know they like.
“Gamification is a way for operators to differentiate and stand out from the crowd. This will help acquisition as something out of the ordinary captures the attention when potential players do come across the brand. Gamanza offers what we refer to as a ‘player engagement platform”, which combines our CRM with its personalization engine and our customizable gamification system.”
Gamification has been a buzzword for some time but what exactly is it and how can the iGaming sector be making better use of it?
“There are different interpretations and perspectives on what is gamification, which is valid because it can take on different forms in the iGaming context as well. For me, it’s the combination of a loyalty programme with points and levels and the accumulation of an internal branded currency that can be spent in a reward shop, then it’s also the video and mobile gaming mechanics, such as achievements and objectives where a player can collect or earn rewards, and it’s competition – so in the iGaming context that would be sports betting games and tournaments, as well as slot races with leaderboards and prizes.
“Many brands have a loyalty system with levels, but that alone offers very little. Many of the loyalty systems are quite ambiguous as well, with no clear view on progression and often times the benefits are only really ever going to be enjoyed by VIPs, hence many are referred to as VIP programmes. This alienates a large part of the player base. By introducing a branded coin or token that players can accumulate and a reward shop with a range of appealing items available, it gives them something to aspire to get their hands on. This also affords an opportunity to reduce reliance on the traditional up-front bonuses that come at great cost and potential risk. Instead, players are spending money first and then purchasing or receiving rewards afterward which is an easier cost to manage. It’s even more useful in markets where bonusing is restricted in fact.”
In key growth markets such as LatAm or Africa, there is still a strong retail gaming presence. How can operators give players in these types of regions more of an omnichannel experience?
“Gamanza is in fact owned by a land-based casino group, Stadtcasino Baden and we provide our PAMS solution to five operators in Switzerland and one in Germany, all of which are land-based operators primarily, or originally. As a result, we have always had an omnichannel view towards our product development, and we strive to enable our customers to maximise the advantages that come with having both physical venues and an online operation.
“Ideally you want a completely integrated loyalty and reward system between the two operations, as well as cross-registration and the ability to transfer cash balances. Our gamification system supports an internal currency (which is effectively a brandable digital currency) that players accumulate as they wager or are awarded for completing missions. The gamification system also offers a reward shop feature, where an operator can set up items for purchase, such as online bonuses and free spins, brand merchandise, electronics and luxury items, but also vouchers for a casino’s restaurant or upcoming events. This helps with cross-selling and nurtures affinity and loyalty for the company.”
Not all players are regular bettors. It’s well established that VIPS account for A large portion of an operator’s revenues. How do you view the balance between VIP and the so-called “casual” players? And how can operators leverage Gamanza tools to improve retention across the player base?
“VIP management has always been an important part of the business, but the percentage of how much of overall revenue is generated by VIPs can be quite staggering, so it creates a pretty risky model. If you can improve retention and increase loyalty and spend within the wider player base, it will have a significant impact on the bottom line. That is the eternal challenge though.
“I strongly believe that gamification offers a compelling case to operators, to be a central part of their retention strategy. At the very least, I feel every operator should have a loyalty system (not VIP programme) of points and levels and an internal currency that can be used to purchase rewards. This way players are accumulating something of value and can clearly see how it can be used to obtain something tangible.
“Where it gets really cool is with missions and objectives. This is where we’re starting to utilize mechanics that drive engagement in video and mobile gaming – And they can be non-monetary based, so as not to alienate the lower-value players. Missions can relate to number of spins, big wins (high multiplier), consecutive successful sports bets, high odds combination bet win, placing bets on different markets and sports, etc. Always things that are very much achievable for any player. However, to ensure the reward is appropriate and not one-size-fits-all, our system allows the operator to create dynamic player value categories, so higher-value players receive higher-value rewards for completing the same mission.
“Ultimately, whether they know it or not, I believe online operators are striving to create an experience more akin to video and mobile gaming, to emulate the same levels of engagement and loyalty. Gamification will be key to that, by bringing a different dynamic to the gambling experience with a new layer of entertainment that gets more out of casual players and really appeals to new generations.”
Robert believes that the recent shift in the market, regarding advertising restrictions, means that there will now need to be a heavy focus on retention and re-activation, instead of the usual acquisition mindset.
Taking advantage of gamification and other CRM-driven tools will be the key to navigating the increasingly restricted marketing landscape, whilst remaining competitive. We look forward to seeing how solutions such as Gamanza’s can help take the industry into the next generation of player engagement!