Customer Experience and Brand Building: The Cornerstones of Future Gambling Marketing
In our debut MarTech interview, Gaming Eminence had a captivating discussion with Mila Kryvko, Founder of SI1ICON, a marketing company specialised in iGaming and Web3 startups. We explored the profound influence of advanced marketing technologies, emphasising personalisation, precision targeting, and automation, while also touching upon the critical intersection of marketing technology and regulatory compliance, spotlighting trends such as blockchain and AI. Our dialogue extended to PR, media, influencer, and sponsorship technologies, exploring how online gambling operators navigate these areas amidst stringent industry regulations. Mila also shared her visionary outlook on the future of gambling industry marketing, envisioning highly personalised, data-driven, and interactive strategies driven by VR, blockchain, and AI, all underpinned by a strong focus on customer experience and brand development for success in this competitive sector.
GE) Technology plays a crucial role in shaping marketing strategies and go-to-market plans. Could you elaborate on how advanced marketing technologies are transforming the way online gambling operators develop and execute their marketing strategies, and what impact this has on their overall business plans?
MK) Advanced marketing technologies are profoundly reshaping how online gambling operators develop and execute their marketing strategies. This transformation is characterised by several key factors:
Personalisation: Technology empowers operators to gather and analyse extensive customer data, enabling the creation of highly personalised marketing messages and campaigns. By tailoring offers to individual interests and needs, operators can boost engagement and conversion rates. To identify these preferences, marketers leverage customer feedback, data analysis of deposit and playing behaviour, and the use of AI and ML tools. This data-driven approach helps in predicting a customer's likely product/game preferences, identifying at-risk customers, and more. With this information in hand, operators can deliver personalised CRM communications, including special email offers, targeted social media advertising, and customised website/app experiences.
Targeting: Technology provides online gambling operators with the means to precisely target their marketing campaigns. Through programmatic advertising, marketers can direct their ads to specific audiences across various channels, such as search engines, social media, and display advertising. Factors like demographics, interests, and online behavior are taken into account. This level of precision ensures that marketing messages reach the audience most likely to respond, ultimately enhancing return on investment.
Automation: Automation capabilities streamline many marketing tasks, allowing marketers to redirect their focus towards more strategic initiatives. This not only enhances efficiency and productivity but also reduces costs. For example, a social media marketing team can use marketing automation to schedule and publish posts across multiple platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, eliminating the need for manual post creation and publication.
Overall, the adoption of advanced marketing technologies is empowering online gambling operators to craft more effective and efficient marketing strategies. This, in turn, leads to increased brand awareness, customer acquisition, and revenue growth. By leveraging a variety of data sources, including customer demographics, interests, and online behaviour, operators can create detailed customer profiles, enabling segmentation and personalised marketing. For instance, operators may target recently depositing customers with promotions for new slot games or attempt to re-engage customers who have been inactive for some time with re-engagement offers.
GE) The gambling industry is highly regulated in many regions. How do you perceive the intersection of marketing technology and regulatory compliance? Are there emerging trends or strategies that can help operators maintain a balance between innovation and adherence to legal frameworks?
MK) The intersection of marketing technology and regulatory compliance presents a multifaceted challenge. On one hand, technology can streamline compliance efforts by automating tasks like customer verification and age-gating. Conversely, it can also pose a threat by enabling practices that bypass regulations, such as geo-spoofing, VPN usage, or cryptocurrencies as payment methods, making it imperative for operators to be vigilant about potential risks.
To maintain a harmonious balance between innovation and adherence to legal frameworks, operators can explore several emerging trends and strategies:
Enhancing Transparency with Technology: Utilising technology, operators can foster transparency in their marketing practices. This includes the implementation of clear and concise privacy policies, along with providing customers with tools to manage their marketing preferences.
Collaborating with Regulators: Establishing strong working relationships with regulatory bodies is vital. Operators should strive to comprehensively understand and comply with all applicable laws and regulations. Remaining vigilant about any changes in the regulatory landscape and participating in trade associations are essential steps.
Employing Technology to Mitigate Risks: To address risks such as fraud and underage gambling, operators can harness technology. Identity verification tools and age-gating software are valuable assets that make it harder for fraudsters to employ fake or stolen IDs, falsify their age, or use VPNs.
GE) User acquisition and retention are paramount in the competitive gambling industry. How have you seen technology-driven solutions, such as AI and data analytics, make a difference in helping operators acquire and keep customers? Are there specific success stories or strategies you can share?
MK) I have witnessed firsthand how technology-driven solutions, such as AI and data analytics, play a pivotal role in aiding operators to acquire and retain customers. Here are some specific examples:
Personalisation: AI can be harnessed to tailor the customer experience in various ways. For instance, it can offer personalised game recommendations that cater to individual customer preferences and can customise marketing messages accordingly.
Data-driven marketing campaigns: Data analytics enables the identification of customer segments and the creation of highly targeted marketing campaigns. This, in turn, enhances the efficacy of marketing efforts and leads to higher conversion rates. Segmentation based on user funnel positions, like displaying ads to registered users who haven't yet made a deposit, or behavioural factors, such as sending emails with exclusive offers to inactive users, can significantly improve key performance metrics.
Another noteworthy application is gamification. Gamification involves incorporating game-design elements and principles into non-game contexts. Operators can leverage gamification to make their products and services more engaging and rewarding for customers, ultimately bolstering customer loyalty and retention. For example, in one of my prior roles, we adopted a virtual character as the brand ambassador, framing bonuses as gifts from this character, including daily rewards, activity-based gifts, holiday and birthday presents, and interactive quizzes.
In my previous experience, we leveraged a combination of AI and data analytics to personalise the customer experience and craft targeted marketing campaigns. The results were remarkable, with a 20% surge in customer engagement rates and a 15% increase in conversion rates.
GE) In the realm of PR, media, influencers, and sponsorship, technology is increasingly intertwined with marketing efforts. How can online gambling operators harness technology to effectively manage their PR campaigns, engage influencers, and measure the ROI of sponsorship deals in an industry that often faces stringent regulations?
MK) Online gambling operators can leverage technology effectively for managing their PR campaigns, engaging influencers, and measuring the ROI of sponsorship deals through various means, including:
For PR: They can utilize social media platforms to disseminate news, connect with influencers and customers, and even organize contests. Employing technology to monitor media coverage and identify relevant journalists and bloggers is crucial. The analysis of media coverage to detect trends and patterns is also made easier with technology. In sum, the advantages of integrating technology into PR efforts far outweigh the challenges, as it enhances reach, facilitates more targeted and timely communication, and offers invaluable insights for relationship improvement.
For influencer marketing: The use of influencer marketing platforms to identify and collaborate with relevant influencers is essential. Social media analytics can help pinpoint influencers with a substantial and engaged following in the gambling industry. Creating content tailored to the target audience and promoting it through influencers is a powerful strategy. Despite challenges like influencer selection, ROI measurement, and relationship management, the benefits are evident: enhanced credibility and increased conversion rates contribute substantial value to the company.
For sponsorship deals: Implementing sponsorship analytics platforms to monitor sponsorship deal performance is critical. Social media analytics can track the engagement with sponsored content on social platforms, while website traffic analytics can assess the impact of sponsorship deals on website traffic. Utilising sponsorship analytics for performance tracking, holding sponsors accountable, and enhancing ROI involves the challenges of data integration and interpretation, but the rewards include improved decision-making and accountability.
Additionally, it's important to emphasize data-driven decision-making, transparency, and collaboration with trusted partners.
AI-driven sentiment analysis tools.
Automation tools for influencer outreach and campaign management.
Blockchain technology for transparent and immutable records of sponsorship transactions.
AI-driven sentiment analysis tools can assist gambling operators in monitoring customer sentiment and identifying areas for improvement. Automation tools for influencer outreach and campaign management save time and effort, while blockchain technology provides transparency and security.
Nevertheless, these technologies are still in their nascent stages of development, and they present their own set of challenges. For instance, AI-driven sentiment analysis tools may come with high costs and inaccuracies, and automation tools might make it challenging to build relationships with influencers. Blockchain technology, while offering transparency, can be slow and expensive, and regulatory hurdles need to be addressed.
Despite these challenges, I firmly believe that these emerging trends have the potential to revolutionize the gambling industry. AI-driven sentiment analysis tools can enable operators to create better products and services, automation tools can help them reach a wider audience, and blockchain technology can make the industry more fair and transparent.
I am genuinely excited to witness how these technologies evolve in the coming years and the profound impact they will have on the gambling industry.
GE) With your extensive background in technology and marketing, could you share your vision for the future of marketing in the gambling industry? Are there specific technological advancements on the horizon that you believe will redefine how operators approach user acquisition, retention, and overall growth strategies?
MK) I believe that the future of marketing in the gambling industry will be characterised by high levels of personalisation, data-driven strategies, and interactivity.
Personalised marketing: Gambling operators are poised to leverage AI and data analytics for delivering highly tailored customer experiences. AI-powered tools can already recommend games to players based on their past behaviour, and this level of personalisation will become more prevalent.
Data-driven marketing: The industry will increasingly rely on data analytics to segment customers and create targeted marketing campaigns. For example, operators can identify customer segments based on their value and profitability, crafting precise marketing strategies for each group.
Interactive marketing: To engage and reward customers, operators will incorporate gamification and interactive elements. Virtual reality (VR) is one technology that can create immersive casino experiences and attract more customers. The trend towards VR and AR is expected to gain momentum, especially from 2024.
Responsible gambling marketing: As regulation, public pressure, and commercial imperatives grow, responsible marketing practices will gain prominence. Operators will need to promote their products and services in an ethical and responsible manner.
Regarding technological advancements that will shape user acquisition, retention, and overall growth strategies:
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR): VR and AR can be used to create immersive gaming experiences that are more engaging and realistic than traditional 2D games. This could lead to increased customer acquisition and retention. That's simply because customer's time online is increasing, big companies are creating devised and the trend of VR/AR will increase rapidly from 2024.
Blockchain: Blockchain can be used to develop new and innovative gambling products and services. For example, it can be used to create decentralised casinos and to develop new types of digital currencies that can be used to gamble. The gambling industry will be slower to adopt blockchain technology because gambling companies are reluctant to share their data publicly. However, pressure from affiliates could influence this. Examples of casinos who already made big steps in this:: StakeCom, Fairspin, BitStarz
Artificial intelligence (AI): AI can be used to personalise the customer experience, detect fraud, and develop new and innovative marketing campaigns. This could lead to increased customer acquisition, retention, and revenue generation. That is something that will drive the speed of all processes.
I believe that these technological advancements will have a significant impact on the gambling industry in the coming years. Operators that are able to embrace these technologies will be well-positioned to succeed in the competitive marketplace.
In addition to the technological advancements mentioned above, I also believe that the future of marketing in the gambling industry will be defined by a focus on customer experience and brand building. Operators will need to focus on creating a positive customer experience from the moment a customer visits their website to the moment they withdraw their winnings. They will also need to build strong brands that are trusted by customers.
By focusing on customer experience, brand building, and technology, online gambling operators can set themselves up for success in the future.
About our contributor:
Mila Kryvko is the founder of Si1icon, a consulting and traffic company, a crypto investor, and a frequent traveler. With 10+ years of experience in marketing and business development, Mila is a passionate expert in full-stack Marketing, Growth, PR, User Acquisition activities, etc. She has been working in the Gambling industry since 2013. Previously with such companies as Primatch, Joycasino, Casino-x, Vulcans, Fairspin, Storm International, and others. Visit https://www.linkedin.com/company/si1icon-company/about/