In the race to create new software programs that will help casino operators better automate and monetize the marketing function, the large gaming system providers have an advantage when it comes to financial backing and familiarity with the industry.
For these reasons, marketing technology advances continue to crop up in the systems products from major suppliers such as IGT, Scientific Games, Konami Gaming and Aristocrat Technologies, just to name a few.
That said, when it comes to marketing automation, a lot of innovation continues to come from smaller, less-known suppliers, some of which are starting to carve out a presence in the casino marketplace. What follows is a rundown of come of the established and new independent casino marketing automation providers that have made news recently and bear watching in 2018, as determined by the editors of Casino Journal.
It’s hard not to include VizExplorer on these yearly lists of movers and shakers in the marketing automation and analytics space since they continue to drive the narrative in this corner of the gaming marketplace.
For those few who may be unfamiliar with the firm, San Diego, Calif.-based VizExplorer provides critically important technology to more than 600 casino properties across six continents, giving operators new ways to view and act on their data to drive efficiency and enhance profitability. Thanks to its operational intelligence (OI) line of solutions, the company has emerged as a leader in the real-time analytics and operational intelligence category, experiencing more than 65 percent average revenue growth and a 13-fold increase in annual recurring revenue since 2013, according to company press materials.
This past year has been a noteworthy one for VizExplorer, which recently announced it has closed a strategic investment round by Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital. Under this arrangement, Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital becomes VizExplorer’s strategic investment partner, which will enable VizExplorer to scale business operations, enhance its sophisticated analytics, data visualization and operational intelligence platform for the casino industry and deliver new solutions for additional verticals including manufacturing, entertainment venues and healthcare.
VizExplorer has also tapped additional talent to oversee company expansion going forward, appointing technology veteran Ron Frankel as the company’s new CEO. Frankel joins VizExplorer with a wealth of technology industry experience as a public company chief executive, board member, advisor and investor in the software industry. Former CEO Ian Bonner will assume the role of executive chairman of the board, and will partner with Frankel as VizExplorer continues its growth trajectory.
“I’m excited to join VizExplorer at this pivotal point in its transformation, and to lead it into the next phase of maturation,” Frankel said. “I am impressed with what the team has delivered to date, and believe strongly in the application of its technology to solve a range of data needs across many types of businesses.”
Despite all this change, VizExplorer continues to place its technology in numerous gaming facilities across the U.S. Recent additions to this list are Ohio’s Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park, which installed the campaignViz marketing campaign management solution; Oklahoma-based River Spirit Casino Resort, which is now home to a hostVizOps player development solution; and Native Lights Casino and Tonkawa Hotel & Casino, an Oklahoma property that deployed a packaged operational intelligence solutions including floorViz, campaignViz and hostViz.
“We are pleased with VizExplorer’s robust analytics and state-of-the-art systems for automated campaigns,” said Jamie Brown, chief marketing officer, Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park. “After assessing many options, we decided that campaignViz was the solution and VizExplorer was the partner for us––one that would continue to meet our data needs well into the future.”
Founded in 2008, Engaged Nation is a leader in strategic gamified marketing with its patent-pending REACH system. Using multiple digital platforms that educate and entertain, REACH creates a customer engagement cycle that repeatedly engages, incentivizes and retains existing customers, reactivates dormant customers, drives new customer acquisition and creates true brand ambassadors who generate significant incremental revenue for businesses, according to press materials.
So far, 2018 has been a pretty good year for Engaged Nation and its REACH product line. Both California-based Morongo Casino Resort & Spa and Arizona-based Twin Arrows Casino Resort have opted for and installed the REACH 365 digital engagement system, which provides casino operators with cutting-edge digital marketing tools that engage with customers both online and on-property around the clock, 365 days a year. The REACH 365 program utilizes a subtle form of incentive psychology to create a desired outcome determined by each individual property, from creating more awareness and interest in property amenities and promotions to driving quantifiable incremental property visits and revenue. The program cultivates active participation with a variety of fun and “edutaining” online games and activities as it awards virtual currency, drawing entries and other instant rewards that can only be redeemed at the casino property.
Meanwhile, Engaged Nation’s REACH 30 nabbed a place in Casino Journal’s Top 20 Most Innovative Gaming Technology Products Awards 2017.
REACH 30 is a four- to six-week promotion designed to greatly enhance current promotional programs. If no such program exists, operators can choose turnkey solutions as a new stand-alone campaign with themes commonly utilized by casinos, such as sports, major holidays and more. These fully-integrated, gamified, on-line-to-on-floor campaigns have been proven to generate profitable property visits and incremental revenue.
REACH 30 drives players from online to the property, back to online, and back to the property in a continuous cycle of engagement.
“Mobile device usage among casino visitors continues to increase and keeping guests engaged with the property drives loyalty which, in turn, drives revenue,” a Top 20 Tech Products judge said. “The REACH 30 product looks like a great tool to keep players engaged with your brand.”
Engaged Nation is also prepping for an uptick in sports betting interest in the U.S. by redesigning and enhancing its $2 Million Pro Football Frenzy online sports program, which leverages the entire professional football season to drive customer acquisition, engagement and bottom-line revenue. The revamps are meticulously designed to further engage customers as they complete playoff brackets and other fun activities, all the way up to the Big Game, according to a press release. As with all of Engaged Nation’s gamified marketing platforms, Pro Football Frenzy uses proven incentive psychology strategies to acquire new customers or reactivate dormant ones.
The 2018 campaign will also feature a $1 million jackpot for picking the 225 winners and losers from weekly games, plus an all-star lineup of other fun and engaging activities.
“We’ve upgraded this interactive promotion to capitalize on our growing national obsession with professional football and the ever-popular fantasy sports market,” said Jerry Epstein, CEO of Engaged Nation. “This is more relevant than ever given the recent Supreme Court ruling. Our program gives a casino the ability to be at the forefront of this explosive opportunity—even before sports betting is legalized in most states. We know these players—from millennials to baby boomers—will align with some gaming leader. It will all come down to who will capture them first.”
The Imagine This Continuity Program was introduced to the casino industry as a simple collectible gift promotional concept in 2005. Since then, it has evolved into a data-driven turnkey program that offers a promotion that aims to ensure that every participant walks away with a high quality, high perceived value gift, according to press materials.
The Imagine This Continuity Program is a turnkey casino promotional program that uses a proprietary, computerized data analysis tool to prepare pro- and post-formas to predict revenue lift, associated expenses and validate the results once completed. In addition to its predictive analysis capabilities, Imagine This continuously feeds in non-proprietary program data to optimize its product offering so casinos can make “evidence-based” decisions, rather than going with what their “gut” tells them.
The program can be executed monthly and requires no deposits or upfront costs; operators pay for the program once it ends paying for only what they use.
Today, Imagine This works with hundreds of satisfied casino clients across the U.S. and Canada. The phenomenal success of Imagine This’ programs and services got them noticed and recognized by Inc. magazine, who included them on their list of fastest growing companies in America. The company’s Continuity Program also made Casino Journal’s Top 20 Most Innovative Gaming Technology Products Awards 2017 list.
SmartSoft provides desktop and enterprise-level workflow solutions for print management, postal address correction and postal discounts. Their products include the AccuMail suite of data and address correction and verification software, the all-in-one mailing software solution, SmartAddresser 5, the IM barcode mail tracking service MailSpotter, and the end-to-end print workflow solution, PressWise.
SmartSoft made a splash in the gaming space this year by displaying at last October’s G2E, the first time the company has done so, showcasing its address verification and correction software, and their e-mail validation tools to casino operators.
Easily integrated into casino management systems, marketing platforms, website forms and other third-party applications, the software validates both e-mail and postal addresses before they enter a database, according to company literature. Missing or incomplete data is fixed, ensuring that valuable player contact information is accurate. The value to an organization can be significant—from improved customer service to greater ROI for marketing and sales efforts. In addition, SmartSoft offers other services such as change-of-address data, so companies can automatically keep databases up-to-date as players move.
“G2E is known as the international gaming trade show, drawing individuals from across the gaming industry”, said Susan Shoffner, business development manager with SmartSoft. “With a growing number of casinos using our software to ensure their player, employee and vendor contact information is accurate, this is the perfect opportunity for us to showcase the value that our software can provide to the entire industry.”
Sometimes timing is everything when it comes to business, and the recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that clears the way for expanded sports wagering throughout the U.S. comes at a good time for companies such as Betgenius.
Founded in 2000, Betgenius—a Genius Sports Group company—is a one-stop-shop for tailored wagering solutions for sportsbooks operating in regulated markets worldwide. Its range of products includes the market-leading outsourced trading product and cutting-edge digital marketing services, both proven to drive down operational costs and boost sportsbook turnover, according to press materials.
These products and services include:
- Sportsbook Platform: The game-changing sportsbook platform brings together best-in-class products and services to create a powerful, flexible and innovative solution on the market. From trading and risk management to player account management and personalization, it gives operators what they need to run an efficient and profitable wagering business.
- Sportsbook Management: Betgenius provides over 150 regulated sportsbook operators with the sector’s leading automated odds compilation and sportsbook management services. It offers an unrivalled range of pre-match and in-play content, offering hundreds of thousands of events a year across every major sport, including end-to-end products for eSports and horserace betting.
- Digital Marketing: Betgenius runs a sector-specific agency helping brands acquire and retain customers. Deep knowledge of the industry and the ability to leverage the wider betting ecosystem gives the company a unique position to acquire the right players at the right price, and ensure maximum lifetime value through effective engagement. Betgenius technology allows operators to target customers based on their abandoned betslips, trending or popular bets, and make bet suggestions based on their personal interests.
“Betgenius has long been the go-to supplier of outsourced trading to the largest European sportsbooks and we are excited to welcome operators from North America, Latin America and beyond,” said Mark Locke, CEO of Genius Sports Group.
Wilkin Marketing has carved a niche for itself in the gaming space as a full service marketing firm specializing in direct mail and promotional marketing. But it is Zero Rings, a technological innovation in the digital messaging space, that made it a must add to this list.
Zero Rings is a player development tool that allows for a very easy user interface and can be launched within a 24 hour period. The software offers the option of a personal dashboard to launch campaigns and monitor results in real time with ROI reporting capabilities.
Additionally, when combined with various marketing initiatives such as direct mail, e-mail and digital advertising, Zero Rings can significantly increase response rates for targeted audiences such as VIP and loyalty members. Using an easy-to-load efficient dashboard, marketers can input data; load a personalized message; and either schedule or hit send. It’s a quick way to compliment any campaign or fill an event.
Zero Rings was among the winners of Casino Journal’s Top 20 Most Innovative Gaming Technology Products Awards 2017, with one judge saying “Zero Rings is a great idea, allowing the casino to automate a personalized greeting or invitation and deliver it in a new and unobtrusive way.”