While many use CRM systems and gamification platforms in silo, gaming software provider Smartico is leveraging the power of both.
iGB spoke with co-founder Yuval Mechoullam about the inner workings of the relationship between its CRM system and gamification platform and how it can revolutionise the way operators work.
Smartico’s CRM system
The gaming industry is set to reach new heights in 2023 with H2 Gambling Capital predicting that total gambling revenue for 2023 will be approximately $483bn, raising its last forecast by $1bn. So what does this mean for a software provider like Smartico? The need for a streamlined CRM system is greater than ever.
The role of CRM technology in gambling is paramount – it allows gaming companies to better understand the needs of their customers while providing them with a better customer experience. Smartico’s gaming portfolio is helping drive this transformation, providing developers with the tools to create engaging experiences and build lasting relationships with their customers.
One of the most important aspects of the future of CRM for gaming companies is data analytics. With the proliferation of gaming platforms, such as PC, console, mobile and VR, gaming companies must be able to collect, analyse and use data from each platform to better understand their customers’ needs and preferences.
And when all this data is combined with gamification, CRM can be used to create an engaging and rewarding customer experience – the ultimate goal of any business.
Along with data and gamification Smartico has added customer feedback, with Mechoullam citing it as the most important way to innovate. “Our feedback comes from our clients which are in this case different operators and platform providers – and their feedback usually comes from the players.
“We are a software company driven by our customers’ requests and requirements. We all have experience in the industry, whether that be on the software side or within operators. Saying that, there is no one smarter than the client who is using the software with their own users.
“We try to solve our customers’ problems and make their lives easier by developing features they request, with our input and vision as product owners.”
Putting the ‘game’ in gamification
Gamification is being used widely across the industry but every supplier seems to be “doing it differently” to try to find an edge that its competitors don’t have. But Smartico focuses on three core areas: using it to boost engagement, to improve products and to increase player motivation.
By setting these three as the foundations for how to “work” gamification successfully, Smartico’s developers have created engaging gaming experiences while simultaneously driving customer loyalty through the roof.
As Mechoullam says, “Gamification has become a popular and trendy form of marketing with almost every online operation having some elements of gamification, which has helped to greatly increase player engagement and retention rates.”
But the team has gone one step further. Whether it be a tournament, raffles or a “spin the wheel” feature, Mechoullam says at Smartico the team can provide a full end-to-end strategy, combining gamification and CRM to enable operators to get the highest level of player engagement.
Strategising for gamification
Despite the obvious benefits, Smartico understands that gamification can be a very costly venture if it doesn’t have a solid plan behind it, as Mechoullam explains.
“A player cannot receive 50 points for every login and be able to buy 100 free spins for 2 points,” he says. “This will cause massive abuse of the gamification by the players.
“Not only strategy, but creative thinking needs to be involved, and this takes time. Thinking about how to call the levels, how to call the missions, what would they even look like? It’s a process in itself.”
Smartico has avoided these drawbacks by creating a “plug and play” widget. This means its products require no development from its clients. It is completely configurable and customisable from the back office at Smartico, making it easy to adjust and tailor the gamification for each brand.
Smartico’s innovative platform combined with the CRM system allows operators to track and analyse customer behaviour in real time, enabling them to better understand their target audiences and tailor their offerings accordingly.
Smartico: leading the gamification pack
Gamification is increasingly being implemented into the long-term marketing strategies of multiple brands across the industry. And with Smartico’s long-term strategy focused on companies combining their CRM systems with gamification, it’s putting innovative gaming and creativity at the forefront.
For marketers, player acquisition costs have become very high in recent years for a variety of reasons, chief among them the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. Though this is a challenge, it’s paved the way for Smartico to help operators to find more efficient and ultimately, better ways to retain their customers.
Gamification increases both the session duration of the users and revenue, as Mechoullam explains. “Some of our clients ran A/B testings for 3-4 months where the control group did not see or know anything about gamification,” he says. “The test group were engaged with it [and] the amount of the deposit was 18%-23% higher in the test group [comprising users that had gamification on] and session duration 25%-30% longer.
“So it is successful, although it depends on how you use it. Gamification can also harm a brand when used badly, with too much engagement, or too little engagement.”
Smartico’s platform provides operators with the tools to segment their audiences and tailor their offerings to each user. This allows them to create personalised experiences that are adapted to the specific needs and preferences of each customer.
The company’s gamification software uses features that show achievements, progress and comparisons to other players, which drives regular play.
But with this comes a challenge in itself: how does Smartico ensure its long-term strategy is maintained and avoid players expecting the gamification elements like the tournaments.
The mechanics behind gamification
One thing the new generation of players can’t help is the fear of missing out. With everything at their fingertips in this mobile-first era, and social media making it all the more important to stay ‘current’, Smartico has seen an opportunity for growth using FOMO as its baseline.
“Smartico has a vast offering of gamification mechanics, and one of the strongest elements in gamification is the fear of missing out. We encourage our clients to build this up by showing leaderboards, tournaments and winnings of mini-games by other players to give a community and competitive feeling,” says Mechoullam.
“We release new features all the time, so a player that was going through some gamification journey on one of the brands three months ago has no idea what he will find today if he logs in.
“Every journey is personal and runs based on the user activity that led them into that journey, so each user might be exposed to different features at different times.”
Scaling up personalised solutions
With several high-profile partnerships in the works, how does the team plan to scale up Smartico’s offering when the product prides itself on having such a personalised solution?
Mechoullam says that due to the small specialised team, the platform has had to be completely scalable from the get go, from a technological perspective as well as from a personalisation angle.
“It is indeed personalised but all centralised from our back office,” he says.
“So every customer personalises their own CRM and marketing activities, together with the gamification. It’s all customisable and driven by the same small team – from the images, icons, text, strategy and logic to everything else.
With its powerful analytics and insights, the platform allows developers to track customer behaviour and identify opportunities for improvement. This helps to ensure that developers can quickly and easily scale up their offerings to meet the needs of their growing customer base.
“So yes, it’s absolutely scalable, in what people like to call a ‘no-code automation platform’. Our personalisation tools are out of the box.”
The future of gamification and CRM for gaming companies is evidently full of potential. By leveraging the latest technologies, companies in this vertical can continuously gain insights into customer behaviour, create personalised experiences and provide better customer service.
With Smartico, organisations can create immersive gaming experiences that engage users on a deeper level, allowing them to explore potential solutions from a different perspective.
Combining CRM and gamification is a great way for companies to increase customer engagement and loyalty. By understanding customer preferences through CRM, companies can target gamification rewards to those customers. This can help create an engaging and rewarding customer experience, which in turn can lead to increased customer satisfaction and retention.
Smartico not only fosters creativity and collaboration, its platform also enables organisations to better track user engagement and progress, allowing them to quickly identify and address challenges. Who wouldn’t want this?
Yuval Mechoullam is the co-founder & chief business development at Smartico.ai leading the gamification, loyalty and marketing platform.
He has worked in the gaming industry for over a decade and has experience in consultancy, business development and marketing.