Dan Morrison, Senior Solutions Consultant at Fast Track, talks about igaming CRM and how it has fallen behind other areas when it comes to innovation. He also shares his thoughts on the route causes, the pain points being felt across the industry and what needs to change.
The Current State of CRM
We work in an industry that prides itself on being fast-paced and innovative. Yet, “under the hood”, many teams are battling legacy systems and outdated processes. These limit the time and capabilities available to drive innovation in player engagement.
We have spoken with hundreds of brands since we launched Fast Track CRM. We hear the same pain points and frustrations repeated time and again:
- Platforms and systems do not communicate well with each other.
- Data is not available in real time.
- Most of the tools being used are not built specifically for iGaming and have limited automation capabilities.
- CRM teams are spending the majority of their time on repetitive, manual execution tasks.
So, how can operators tackle these pain points? What changes can be made to bring CRM in line with what is possible in 2022 and prepare for a future powered by AI and machine learning?
Many teams are facing the same problem: they have to work with multiple tools to create even basic CRM campaigns. The main issue is that these different platforms and systems do not communicate with each other:
- The bonus engine is a standalone in-house product.
- Email and SMS are managed through various third party platforms.
- On-site engagements are handled by a separate in-house or third party system (or not at all).
- Segmentation lists are pulled from databases at set time intervals and need to be uploaded manually to each of the other systems.
And the list goes on. When it comes to building a campaign, CRM teams have to manually coordinate between all these moving parts – it’s a lot of work! In this scenario, the only way to scale your CRM is to add more team members, but that is not sustainable in the long-term. The lack of connection between these elements also leaves a lot of space for human error and limits what you can automate.
True automation is only possible if these systems are centralised and can communicate with each other. Centralised orchestration is the key to being able to scale your player engagement activity sustainably with automation.
Real-time data is no longer an “add-on”: it’s something that you should not compromise on when it comes to your player engagement.
Imagine you are sending a promotional SMS to players who have been inactive for a week. In the 24 hours between requesting that list of players and sending your SMS, 10% of them have become active again. Now you are sending an irrelevant promotion to those players.
If you do that once a week the cost soon adds up in money, time and players. We have seen operators save 10% of promotional costs by having up to date data. This is just as important as being able to use real-time data to engage players with “in the moment” on-site messages and rewards.
True real-time means you can respond to events in the moment and that your segmentation is always up to date. There is no space for a 24 hour, or even a minute, delay.
The benefit of having central orchestration and a real-time data feed is that you can start to automate.
You can cut out repetitive, manual processes by setting up automated engagements. For example, one of our partners was able to save 4 hours a week in execution time by automating their VIP cashback activities.
Automation leaves you more time for performance analysis and coming up with creative new engagements.
There is a certain reliance on gut feel when it comes to player engagement in igaming. This might be because CRM teams lack the time or access needed to make insightful data-driven decisions. It could also be down to simply doing things the way they always have because it seems to be working “OK”.
Teams need access to rich data about player engagement and the time to decide how to use it to make improvements.
We run the Singularity Project to investigate common assumptions about igaming CRM. We then use this information to train machine learning models and share our insights with our partners. For example, we investigated whether it is effective to offer a player a bonus related to their favourite game.
We discovered that in most cases it is no more effective than offering a generic bonus on any game. This tells us there might be more important factors for us to focus on when it comes to effective retention or reactivation offers.
This kind of insight ensures you focus your time and efforts on the changes that will actually have an impact.
Upskilling your organisation
There are two sides to upskilling your teams for better CRM. The first is giving them the time and tools to actually develop the skills you hired them for. CRM teams should be using their creativity to come up with interesting campaigns and write compelling copy. They should not be spending the majority of their time on execution.
The second is recognising that data science needs to be a core part of your CRM strategy. This means that you need people on your team who understand data modelling and machine learning. You need people who have access to all that rich data and can create actionable insights from it.
The Future of CRM
Once you have put all these elements in place, you are prepared to scale with AI and machine learning. This means you can achieve 1:1 targeting, something many operators are aiming for in the long-term. This requires a shift from creating planned send-outs to creating banks of content that are ready to go at any time. Your team can focus on creative and analytical work. Well-trained machine learning models, like Fast Track’s Singularity Model, can handle what is sent and when based on all the data you have about player behaviour.
If we look a little further into the future, we can build on 1:1 experiences and run a self-learning engagement strategy. Rather than adding new people to your team, you can scale with new models to support your growth and improve performance.
Dan Morrison – Fast Track