The segmentation of online gambling consumers took a step into the limelight in mid-January when Kindred Group pointedly moved to launch a VIP focused brand in the Swedish and Norwegian markets, aimed just at high-rollers.
According to Kindred (until recently Unibet), Storspiller.com is a new brand that has evolved in “close cooperation” with an existing cohort of customers who spend at least €200 every month on the group’s existing sites.
The new offering is a response to recent player-behaviour patterns, the company says. “Especially over the last year we have seen an increased movement among high rollers in the Norwegian and Swedish market,” says Peter Alling, head of public affairs for the Nordic region at Kindred. “This increased migration tells us that until now there has not been a concept taking VIPs seriously, admitting that they exist, and offering what they want – within a responsible framework.”
The new brand is a direct result of the “constantly ongoing analysis” undertaken by Kindred to better understand its customers. Importantly, the company hopes it will be better placed to market directly to a sophisticated set of players with a tailored offer that can be better targeted. “This is a group of players with a higher need for exclusivity, tailoring, higher bonuses and paybacks, as well as no deposit or bonus turnover requirements,” says Alling.
Storspiller.com isn’t the only brand in online gambling aimed at VIPs; significantly, William Hill recently resuscitated its Centrebet brand in Australia to re-launch an offer directly aimed at higher-spending sports-betting customers. But the Kindred brand is perhaps the first one where data analytics is explicitly determining the marketing strategy from the outset.
This example of customer targeting chimes with the results of a survey of marketers released earlier in the year by data and information service-provider Callcredit, which showed that respondents were well aware that understanding customer behaviour was a “key priority” in the year ahead.
Specifically, the report found that 83 percent of the respondents believed that better data analytics would help with improving customer satisfaction levels, while 75 percent said it would help improve promotional activity. “To generate business growth in a data-driven marketing landscape, it is clear that businesses must use insight to extract more value from existing customers and acquire new, profitable ones,” says Steve McNicholas, managing director of marketing solutions at Callcredit.
For the gambling sector, Mark Robinson, Chief Executive Officer of real-time data personalisation provider deltaDNA, believes a greater prize is within reach if the industry wishes to delve further into player behaviour and affect it as it happens.
“Looking at depositing or spending behaviour is a first step, but you can do more,” he says. “If you look at these VIP players who deposit large sums into their accounts as a broad segment, by understanding their game-play, you can see that more specific sub-categories exist. They are either the VIPs you need to nurture and do well with; they may have some kind of angle and are about to exploit a loophole in your system; or maybe they have a gambling problem.”
Kindred is also addressing the last of these points; Storspiller.com will have third-party affordability tests built into its customer on-boarding regime alongside the regular mandatory ID-verification and its existing self-exclusion tools.
As is obvious from the Kindred approach, it is clear not all VIPs are the same, and so recruitment and retention energies need to be focused in the right place. “The thing is, if you consider your high-depositing VIP players as a single group, that is pretty risky when you consider they will likely fall into one of three categories and only one of these categories will be profitable for you,” Robinson from deltaDNA points out. “And your exposure is high, because of the business’ reliance on VIPs. These are the people that are making you a lot of money, so getting that right is pretty important.”
The Callcredit report makes a similar point about data and marketing. “The challenge is not the amount of information available, it is translating an abundance of data into useful insight that drives business growth,” says Steve McNicholas, managing director of marketing solutions at the company.
Indeed, the survey found that 70 percent of marketers believed that the data to hand within their organisations was not being fully exploited, and there is every reason to suspect that this is also the case within the online gambling sector.
“One of the things marketing departments suffer from is a matter of resource,” says Robinson from deltaDNA, who nevertheless adds that the imperative must be for operators to look at their entire sum of customer communications in order to fully understand the customer base. “Broad segmentation has its limits, particularly if this is done on the basis of the monetary amounts added to accounts, whereas using behaviour as an automated trigger for real-time communication can provide personalisation with minimal on-going marketing input” he adds. “Communications work best when they are based on a customer’s game-play – as VIPs as much as anyone will be turned off by being swamped by too many irrelevant emails.”
Kindred’s VIP offering is perhaps a first stab at using a data-driven approach in order to adapt its offer to the changing demands of the digital customer. “In the times we live in – the digitalized era – powers have shifted over to the consumers,” says Alling. “Hence, the choice to gamble, with whom and at what brand is always the choice of the individual player.”
If you liked this article, you might be interested in ‘Live social responsibility with data-led intervention’.