What 'Multi Channel' means for Affiliates
Back in mid-August of 2014, Henry Birch, the then CEO of Rank Group was interviewed by the Telegraph. He’d recently passed his first 100 days in office, and the broadsheet had enquired as to his plans for Rank moving forward. One stand out section of their appraisal stated: “Key to his strategy for Rank will be ‘multi-channel’, a buzzword that is now bandied around almost every industry from retailers to bookmakers. In practice, it means encouraging customers to spend in more ways than one, on the web and in bricks and mortar venue”.
As far as the UK gaming industry goes, there are only a handful of participants who have the legitimate ability to push a true, national multi-channel strategy (I’ll abbreviate it to MCS for the purpose of brevity).
The big sports betting operators, including Will Hill, Ladbrokes, Paddy’s, Betfred (including Totesport), Coral and Jennings Bet. Then for bingo, you can count a two-horse race between Rank Group’s (my paymasters) Mecca Bingo, and Gala Bingo.
Finally, for casino, you’ve got Rank’s Grosvenor Casino and Genting’s casino brands. MCS marketing is about delivering motivating sales messages to customers in both their online and offline worlds to create an exponential and ever available sales opportunity. Online agency Dream Consultancy has demonstrated it rather better in their handy infographic opposite. MCS focuses on putting the customer at the heart of all communications and leveraging technology and data to drive player acquisition, loyalty, customer retention and cross sell. The ultimate aim for MCS is creating a single application, as Dream Consultancy summarises “…seamlessly connecting all channels for unprecedented visibility into your business resulting in customer loyalty and retention”. It’s worth noting at this stage (as I reckon it’s important to manage your expectations) that I’m not going to discuss the specifics of Rank’s MCS strategy, for obvious reasons. This article will therefore focus on my subjective appraisal of the collective opportunity in gaming. Still with me? Good. Then we’ll move on to the titular question: what could MCS mean for affiliates? Here’s a few kick-start ideas:
1. THE BIG ONE – EXTENDING ROI FROM YOUR PLAYER BASE THROUGH CROSS SELL
So you’ve acquired a new casino player via your smoke and dagger magic of choice and sent them to GrosvenorCasinos.com. How’s about you send that same player to a land-based casino and collect a further rev share when they play in the real world. Sound good? Well it should – for the price of an email you’ve just increased your player’s potential value
2. ENHANCED ACQUISITION CAPABILITIES
Most affiliates will manage a database of some description, and within that will be a steadily increasing pool of players who are churning. At the end of their churn cycle they become dead players, those for whom you can’t reactivate on any site no matter what free money or SUB offer you wavein front of them. At this point, you’ll most likely cut and paste them into a dead player pool where they shall never be spoken to again. Alternatively, in a new, snazzy cross channel world you could segregate players by postcode then geo target emails or text message campaigns towards them related to their nearest land-based casino, sports betting outlet or bingo hall. In this brave new world, retail marketing teams have the same KPIs as digital teams – they need new customers and are prepared to pay for them. This might be by rev share, more likely through CPA, the market will decide, but it’s safe to say if you have retail traffic there’ll be a market willing to pay for it.
3. INCREASED OPPORTUNITIES TO CONVERT
You have an avid, high value casino player. You have a rev share deal for said player. They stop playing at their preferred site. As in point one, in your traditional model your options are limited to trying to reactivate them initially to their initial site, then onto competitors you feel have the best offers and might suit their needs. In an MCS world, however, your options are amplified to conversion opportunities in land based casinos too, and as Churchill once said:- “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty”.
In online gaming, sports books have been trying to master MCS for years. Shared wallets, databases, conversion funnels and the like are commonplace. But for casino and bingo affiliates the opportunity is still in its infancy, and for the astute affiliate, all it means is that there’ll be a whole new seam of gold just waiting to be tapped by the early prospectors.
“As far as the UK gaming industry goes, there are only a handful of participants who have the legitimate ability to push a true, national multi-channel strategy.”
“So you’ve acquired a new online casino player via your smoke and dagger magic of choice…how’s about you send that same player to a land-based casino and collect a further rev share when they play in the real world.”