Promoted feature: Plotting a path to profitability

Quincy Raven, managing director US at Aspire Global, explains why a combination of traditional values with advanced CRM systems can prove to be a winner for tribal operators

According to their own figures, major US operator DraftKings spent almost $1bn on sales and marketing in 2021, twice as much as in the previous year, as it aims to rapidly expand its user base.

With customer acquisition costs sky-high due to extravagant marketing spend from top-tier operators, designed to grab market share as states continue to open up to legalized gambling, there are inevitably worries about how and when leading operators spending vast sums can become profitable.

For its part, Caesars Entertainment saw its stock rise last month when its CEO announced a plan to cut advertising spend around sports betting, which it offers across 22 states.

The scale of the overall sports betting and online gaming market in the US is clear and, consequently, the top-tier operators scrambling to acquire new players is a costly battle between deep-pocketed entities.

However, where does this leave the small- to medium-sized operators, including the strong network of tribes that are based across North America, which are equally looking to grow and protect their customer base? Simply put, these operators are not positioned to compete with the biggest brands when it comes to the current valuations of marketing spend.

At Aspire Global, it is our view that the sports and igaming landscape offers opportunities for operators of all shapes and sizes. While the largest operators make up approximately 70% of the addressable GGR, 30% still remains for those mid-size operators taking their brands online. In the context of New York alone taking $1.6bn in mobile sports betting in January, and with forecasts of a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 17% for online gambling across the country, 30% of the overall total is an enormous sum.

We believe that tribes do not need to spend big on marketing to attract and retain players. If they instead focus on optimizing the player journey, with the support of customer relationship support (CRM) systems like Aspire Engage, they can still remain competitive and operate a profitable in-line business.

CRM system to improve the customer journey

For the US specifically, our dedicated, sophisticated CRM suite AspireEngage provides a player engagement and retention service above anything else available and is perfect for tribal operators that are looking to enter the online space. As a customer data platform, it incorporates a range of services to improve the player journey and generate greater customer satisfaction. Key features include the provision of real-time marketing capabilities such as bonus management, personalized messaging, and user segmentation to assist operators in sharpening their approach to player engagement.

With AspireEngage being developed as an all-in-one solution within the AspireCore PAM, there isn’t a requirement to add third-party CRM and marketing plug-ins and instead operators can utilize AspireEngage to create personalized marketing campaigns using advanced segmentation. It’s important to emphasize that land-based operators who simply cannot face spending the vast sums mentioned earlier on marketing, instead use what they have to their advantage. That means a strong focus on player retention within their branded ecosystems, so they can keep hold of those players within the hard-won loyalty databases built up over the course of decades in some cases.

Indeed, an efficient omnichannel approach not only retains existing land-based players but also must grow the overall player database with new digital players who buy into instantly recognizable tribal casino branding. What is vital in all cases is that the approach to CRM is efficient and effective and this can be achieved by ensuring all components are integrated within a single platform, with every tool needed available easily so that tribal operators can focus on expanding existing player databases without worrying about add-on CRM components.

We strongly believe that every level of operator can find their successful niche as the US sports and igaming market continues to expand. Tribal operators have the benefit of having seen what works with players first-hand, engendering loyalty by providing operators with everything needed to retain their patrons. Those time-tested principles should remain at the forefront of the thinking in the migration to digital, even amid the whirlwind of TV ads and extravagant bonus offers. Work smarter, not harder.

Quincy Raven has 20 years of experience within the information technology, services, and igaming industries. He has a demonstrated history of assisting US operators transitioning from land-based focused operations to omnichannel online expansion. In addition to the traditional product and business development roles in North America, he’s worked closely with key European providers on their US strategies, which culminated in market entry and significant customer wins.

Aspire Global | CRM | Marketing | Tribes | US