How going the Netflix way can reduce reliance on bonusing

CRM specialist Bhopendra Rathore says more original content can boost loyalty and reduce bonus reliance

Like all my previous articles, this one comes with a caveat. It is for those of us who are still struggling to balance bonus costs, or those who would like to strategically manage their bonus costs. What works for one brand may not necessarily work for the other, but that does not change the basic framework of managing the change towards lower bonus costs. The reality is regulatory changes are already forcing everyone to rethink their approach anyways.

Growth at the cost of sustainability

During a recent consulting assignment with a fairly successful operator, I observed that senior stakeholders were ignoring a simple behavioural aspect. Our products, their usage, and the element of fun they provide have a designated slot in day-to-day lives. Commercial stakeholders need to accept that not everyone will be thinking about their brands and games at all times. Aggressive communication and focus on short-term success will only lead to a repeat of what happened with poker rakeback practices almost a decade ago. It resulted in a correction with causalties.

An offer does not need to be created and sent out at every possible opportunity. I can quote my own experience where my team challenged and proved me wrong on my approach to casino payday campaigns. I also had to adapt when dealing with the esports audience; they were not kind to us in their response to our traditional betting bonus messaging and offer.

“Don’t spend on those you shouldn’t, balance the portfolio of rewards, and don’t build unnecessary reliance”. These are box standard suggestions from most evaluations. And I speak for a majority of retention teams when I say that these suggestions do not come with real execution plans, follow-ups and measurement initiatives.

Misunderstood, clichéd and poorly executed but…

That’s right I am referring to differentiated branding proposition, product and messaging. One look at some of the newer brands in last two years and you know it is doable. I am envious of their thought process – it’s genuine, honest and specific. They prove that executing your branding proposition properly, not only attracts those who associate with it, but also a significant volume of ones that you did not target.

A growing set of brands are recognising the need for proprietary and differentiated game content. Going the Netflix way, and adding original content that players cannot find anywhere else, will go a long way in reducing the dependency on bonuses. Game play will also need to evolve and those with inbuilt retention mechanics are more likely to succeed.

Improving promotion mechanics and rewards 

More than 70% of promotional content and experience is static currently, and this is one of the biggest areas of improvement. The design and implementation of wheels, scratchcards and leaderboards is definitely waiting for a fresh lease of life. Lotto tickets are one of the most under-estimated and underutilised rewards currently and you will find takers for the message – ‘here is a chance to win real cash when you meet the wagering targets’.

Cash will remain the king of rewards, although that should not stop you from bringing in a range of other rewards. Winning a trip to Vegas is fantastic, but you would be surprised how effective a small ten quid shopping voucher can be at times.

Bhopendra Rathore is a CRM specialist and consultant with more than 10 years of experience in the online gaming industry. His portfolio includes working with industry majors like, Mansion, Boylesports and Probability. 

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