Effective marketing is crucial to the success of all gambling businesses in the current business climate. Competing gambling operators are increasingly taking their gaming software, machines, and content services from a similar pool of suppliers. If operators cannot get an edge over their rivals through the gambling activities on offer, then the way they promote those services to attract, retain, and re-invigorate their customers becomes even more influential in growing revenues.
Gambling companies’ annual reports show the costs required to run their marketing campaigns in order to keep revenues growing. Bwin.Party’s marketing expenditure (including affiliate payments) was EUR 218 million on pro-forma basis in 2011, equivalent to 27% of the company’s total revenues.
For the UK’s Rank Group marketing was its biggest cost after employment and taxes and duties at GB£ 56.9 million, amounting to almost 10% of total revenues.
William Hill reported net revenue growth of 28% in its online division in 2011. But in achieving this growth costs rose by 31% “primarily as a result of a step-up in marketing investment”, the company explained. William Hill Online’s marketing investment was equivalent to 27% of net revenue in 2011.
It is interesting to note William Hill’s use of the phrase “marketing investment”. As with financial investments, clearly marketing is an activity upon which William Hill expects to see a return. And, as with financial investments, gambling operators should be doing everything possible to maximise the returns on their marketing investment.
Given the amounts being spent on marketing and the need to generate ever more conversions and revenues, it is no surprise that some gambling operators are turning to technology to improve the efficiency of their marketing and reduce the problem faced by the US merchant John Wanamaker a century ago, who lamented:
“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”
One such company is the international casino operator Genting. Genting runs the Resort World in Malaysia, its home market, and the Resort World Sentosa in Singapore. In the UK Genting operates casinos across the country, including Crockfords and the Palm Beach in London. Genting also holds an Alderney licence for online casino gaming.
For the last few years Genting has been using Afinium’s DataCentre software platform very successfully to run its “Getting Better Odds” customer loyalty programme.
Afinium’s proprietary database software enables marketing departments to create a single customer view from multiple customer data sources within the gambling business and then develop and manage “closed loop communication” (1) campaigns based on customer insights, tracking and measuring effect and return on investment.
The strength of Afinium’s DataCentre technology is that it allows non technical marketers to perform strategic and operational marketing functions easily, which enables them to:
1. Acquire more customers – through the synchronisation of sales and marketing activities.
2. Cross and up-sell products and services – identify a customer’s likes and dislikes through the games they play or bets they place, and offer them new suggestions or incentives to try new games/services
3. Retain customers through proactive marketing – increasing customer loyalty by being relevant and timely with communications. Better understanding of customers’ behaviour patterns will mean recognising why and when they are likely to lapse or switch to a competitor’s website/casino etc.
4. Create highly refined groups of customers and prospects, selecting from a customised choice of criteria, to ensure the right message gets to the right person.
5. Easily carry out complex marketing campaigns using customers’ data profiles without the need of technical help.
6. Plan and manage direct marketing campaigns using any combination of the marketing mix (e.g. direct mail, email, call centre, SMS, fax, website) directly from their PC.
DataCentre provides accurate “closed loop” reporting on campaigns as incoming responses are automatically tracked and fed back into the database on a daily basis, to give clear and consistent measurement of return on investment.
Genting has used the DataCentre software to encourage repeat visits to its casinos by new members, identify lapsed members and get them to return to one of Genting’s casinos. Genting has seen 1,000% ROI for most campaigns, employing a test and learn strategy.
Stephen Powell, Head of Marketing for Genting UK, explained:
“The creation of a single customer view from extremely complex data sources has enabled us to create a platform where we are able to review a member’s daily interactions with us, both online and offline and react to them in a highly personalized way on an individual basis.”
“The data insights that now come from DataCentre are used across the business to help us with propensity modelling, commercial decisions regarding new casino license applications as well as the facility mix to offer in our clubs. In addition we also use DataCentre to run consumer panels and conduct customer satisfaction surveys, all of which provide valuable feedback for product and communication enhancement.”
Genting’s use of Afinium’s products is a clear demonstration as to how technology and database software is increasingly being combined to create greater efficiency, cost savings and incremental revenues for gambling operators’ marketing efforts.
Afinium’s platform has clearly proven itself in the gambling sector and Genting won a the prestigious Customer Relationship Marketing Gold Award for its loyalty programme at the 2010 Marketing Society Awards For Excellence.
And Afinium’s Alex Hobbs explains there is much more in development:
“The current thing we are doing is creating personal web pages (“pearls”) for customers based around their interests, behaviour, and playing patterns using our DataCentre data analytics and Flex products. This seems to be the way that the gaming industry is going, or wants to go, and we think we are the first to actually do it.”
Links and contacts
Alex Hobbs, Afinium
00 44 7877 821 663
Contact Alex for a free marketing and CRM consultation
(1) Closed Loop Marketing refers to the measurement of results from marketing and communication campaigns. The responses and actions of targeted groups are tracked. They are then used to further refine future campaigns to select groups based on their previous responses. So marketing campaigns are more dynamic and efficient, evolving to target and meet customers’ wants and needs.