Personalization, automation, and effective data management are the key marketing tools for Latin American sports betting operators looking to capitalize on the opportunities presented by the 2022 World Cup, according to Optimove Founder & CEO Pini Yakuel.
In the first installment of a two-part interview ahead of Optimove’s participation in next month’s SBC Summit Latinoamérica conference and tradeshow, Yakuel revealed some of the high-tech strategies sportsbook operators can deploy to reach, engage, and retain bettors during the action in Qatar.
SBC: Sports fans are likely to find themselves bombarded by marketing messages from sportsbooks during the World Cup. How can operators create and deliver relevant messaging that stands out from the crowd?
Pini Yakuel: When operators start their marketing from the player perspective rather than a product or service, they build long-term relationships and gain that player’s loyalty for life.
The secret to effective customer-led marketing, which Optimove champions, lies in listening to the player, understanding their preferences, behaviors, and persona, and then placing these elements at the heart of every marketing action.
So to stand out, operators can segment their audience, understand each segment’s needs, and personalize their offering accordingly. The more segments they work with, the smaller the bucket, and the more personalized and relevant the message will be. When that message reaches players at the right time, using their preferred channel, the likelihood of each player engaging increases significantly.
SBC: For many operators working in Latin America, this will be the first World Cup for which they have an online or mobile sportsbook to promote. How can those companies without significant amounts of customer data capitalize on the excitement around the tournament?
PY: There are plenty of steps operators with limited data can take to engage players and get a ‘slice of the pie’.
Firstly, all operators need to get out of the gates is to know who that player supports, which is pretty simple on the national team level. Operators can use this as simply as creating differentiated messaging for each country and segmenting their players based on that, or in a more advanced way via machine learning-based recommendation engines like the one we offer.
The same goes for the type of bet. Are they fans of in-play? Do they bet more on goals scored? All these attributes affect the recommendations the player gets.
As operators create more messages, the risk of them cross firing increases. If messages crossfire (a player receives different messages at once), the player experience and trust erode. For operators working their first World Cup this is critical. Our data shows us that players acquired during the World Cup have lower retention rates, so giving them a poor experience will only exacerbate this.
This happens because many marketers rely on manual rule engines and journey builders to create their campaigns. A better way is using an orchestration engine that leverages any player data to decide what is the best campaign for each player and ensures that only one gets sent.
So, even with little or no data, operators can see solid returns by employing these strategies. They’ll also be better positioned to maximize performance during the next big event.
SBC: The markets in Latin America differ greatly in terms of things like regulation, internet penetration, smartphone ownership, and access to online payment methods. What advice can you offer to operators about localization of their targeting, communications, and choice of promotional channels?
PY: As I mentioned, starting with the customer is the most important advice I can give. If you understand the dynamics of your customer base your chances of success are much higher.
It isn’t only about markets differing, but even differences within a specific market. Within a single market you might have different levels of smartphone penetration. For example, using behavioral data operators can understand which of their customers have high mobile usage and which a lower one. They can then adapt their messaging and communications to each.
That is a good place to start. The more audience segments operators have, the more personalized their offers can be, and many operators quickly go from one to ten to dozens of segments.
However, to do this at scale is challenging. The sheer amount of data can quickly render this task – audience segmentation – impossible for a human. To take full advantage of the data collected, operators should consider an automated way of going about this as part of their CRM Marketing strategy.
SBC: With Brazil and Argentina among the teams tipped to go deep into the tournament, any local operator that gets its promotional campaign right can expect to see a huge influx of new customers. How can they manage all that new data and use it to effectively cross-sell to products beyond football?
PY: There’s plenty of data operators can collect on player behavior and preferences. So much so, in fact, that it quickly becomes unmanageable or actionable. To really capitalize on this World Cup, operators should have a CDP in place to collect, unify and present the data in a digestible way.
But assembling a customer database is only part of the solution. Operators only gain value from that database when they use it to make and execute the right decisions. Running a centralized decision engine, like Optimove’s, is more efficient than running separate decision engines in each delivery system.
Part two of the interview will see Yakuel share strategies for minimizing player churn and detail the capabilities of Optimove’s latest products.
The SBC Summit Latinoamérica conference and tradeshow takes place at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida on November 1-3, 2022, and will bring together the leadership teams and product specialists of retail and online operators from across Latin America.
Optimove will be showcasing its latest technology at booth A11, while its VP of Marketing, Rony Vexelman, will participate in the ‘Qatar’s Summer World Cup’ conference panel on November 3.