Having made an early impact with its gamified loyalty program by winning the SBC Summit North America First Pitch competition, Scrimmage has taken the next step in its growth plan by going live with peer-to-peer sports and social gaming platform Kutt.
For Kutt’s Founder Sim Harmon, the deal represents an opportunity to create greater levels of player engagement and to drive retention, while for Scrimmage Co-Founder Dan Taren it is a chance to prove that his team’s concept works out in the field. It’s something Taren is confident of achieving.
“Gambling is a powerful motivational factor that users love. It is a perfect representation of the risk-reward relationship that drives engagement. However, there are many other factors that motivate users to take actions. Consumers want to be creative, to have their experience customized, to progress, to be challenged, to share in the experience with others, and so on,” explained Taren.
“These are all experiences that mimic successful video games, and is the fundamental reason why video games are the largest entertainment sector. A successful video game triggers deep rooted human emotions as the core driver for every action, things like progression, mastery, customization, creativity, comradery, and so on. Gamification can be tricky and time consuming to implement into your product on your own but Scrimmage can do it for you, and the results to your player retention can be substantial.”
Harmon had already bought into the concept of loyalty programs well before he had heard of Scrimmage, but had also developed an understanding of how difficult they can be to get right in the online sports betting and iGaming sectors.
“When we started Kutt, we knew that a rewards program would be a core offering of our platform. You want your users to feel a certain loyalty and affinity to your brand, and to reward them for using your platform over others,” said Harmon.
“Initially, we were going to build out this program ourselves, but quickly realized that it made more sense to outsource it to someone who already had the infrastructure and expertise – that’s where Scrimmage came in. We were impressed with their offering, and thought their product reflected a lot of what we had already built: modern UI, customizable experience, and a bit of a gamified experience. Our vision for user engagement aligned nicely with theirs.”
Harmon continued: “Kutt is trying to transform the betting industry with a truly innovative platform from top-to-bottom. Most existing, traditional platforms have the same recycled tech, the same recycled interface, and the same cookie-cutter offering. And, yet, they expect users to keep coming back because they’ve been the only game in town for so long.
“Not only do we have a completely different business model – we call it ‘social betting’, where users bet against a known counterparty and have a ton of engaging social features to use – but we also are geared more towards a younger generation who grew up with social networks and prefer a more interactive betting experience.
“Rewards are integral to this experience, as we truly want to cultivate the feeling of community and brand loyalty within our platform.”
For users and for business
As with any B2C product, the gamified loyalty program has to work on two levels. It has to deliver something that players actually want, while also working for Kutt as a business proposition. Those twin goals were at the forefront of Harmon’s thinking as he engaged with Scrimmage ahead of the launch.
“We want to have the best rewards program in the business,” he enthused. “One that makes sense on the business side, for both us and Scrimmage, AND the user side.
“Ideally, we’ll see elevated levels of activity on the site because of the rewards program, as well as positive feedback from our users. The goal is to have users who wear their Kutt Rewards membership as a figurative badge of honor.”
The big question is, obviously, how well has it worked so far?
“We’ve definitely had a ton of interest in the rewards program, which has led to an increase in overall betting volume on the app. People seem to like the gamified nature of the program and we’ve received positive reviews on it so far,” Harmon revealed.
“And there is still so much more of the offering that we haven’t released yet. Since Kutt is a newer platform ourselves, we’re constantly soliciting feedback from our users, and it’s been nice to iterate with Scrimmage in real-time as that feedback comes in. We can quickly make changes and hopefully can provide our users with the best loyalty program in the industry.”
Taren believes that Scrimmage can not only help Kutt to achieve that target, but also provide the social betting platform with a host of additional key benefits.
“Aside from the obvious increase in user metrics, Kutt also benefits from immense cost savings,” said Taren. “Building a loyalty program that is multiple steps beyond a simple cashback program takes an extraordinary amount of time, and more importantly, developer resources. This combination of time and money is vast, and it is just to get started and does not factor in the ongoing support that would be necessary.
“Scrimmage made it simple for Kutt to get up and running in a matter of a few weeks, and ongoing support coupled with our easy-to-use dashboard has allowed Kutt to only need to spend a few hours a week to update and maintain their program. So, instead of paying hundreds of thousands of dollars and months of time building a loyalty program from scratch, Kutt got a more researched and effective loyalty program in a matter of weeks.”
Harmon certainly agrees that speed and ease of use have been benefits of working with Taren and his team.
“Like any partnership, full integration doesn’t happen overnight. But the Scrimmage team was constantly available for us and the process was – and continues to be – pretty seamless,” he said.
“The thing we like most about the platform is that we control most of the levers and customization once the foundation gets built. And still, the team at Scrimmage is constantly improving their product and has been great with implementing our feedback so far.”
The next stage for Scrimmage
For any tech start-up, delivering a first big project is a major milestone that provides a cause for celebration, as well as an opportunity to reflect on both progress and next steps. And Taren has certainly been doing plenty of thinking about what Scrimmage has achieved with and learned from the Kutt rollout.
“What we have taken from the Kutt integration can be divided into three categories: what beliefs we had confirmed, what beliefs we had wrong, and what entirely new beliefs we have gained,” he admitted.
“What beliefs we had confirmed – Gamified loyalty programs, especially in iGaming, are an extremely impactful way to improve retention and increase revenue. Kutt has seen a double digit increase in both bet volume and user referrals since integrating, and a majority of users are completing multiple quests. This is consistent with research published that emphasizes the impact that loyalty and gamified loyalty can have on a user experience.
“What beliefs we had wrong – We believed that there was a limit on how custom an operator would want to be with their loyalty program. We built foundational loyalty experiences on gamification principles and expected operators to build out from there. We learned that each operator has an entirely different idea of what loyalty looks like to them, and we had to continue to add even more flexibility to our system. Now operators can segment their users by any characteristics they choose and give them entirely different quests, perks, and items to redeem for.
“What new beliefs we have gained – One of the most powerful ways to increase retention is to educate users in such a way that they get enjoyment out of mastering your product. Kutt has tons of very cool features, and one bottleneck is educating the user on everything they can do. We have now focused on building questlines that reward users for going through user journeys that operators are focused on. This includes onboarding a new user, explaining a new feature, or reinforcing a core product offering.”
Seeing the impact of the Scrimmage product out in the wild for the first time, as well as gaining a fuller understanding of what it takes to get it live with partners, has helped Taren and his team to formulate a clear plan for the business for the next few months.
“Our loyalty program will be launched with a handful more companies by the end of 2023, and we are excited to see the different representations of what our technology can allow for,” the Scrimmage Co-Founder revealed.
“Internally, we have a roadmap full of customer feedback, with the two primary areas of improvement planned in user segmentation and in notifications. We will be building powerful features to allow operators to segment their user base and identify key trends and statistics, not only on their internal measures but also in relation to how they interact with the loyalty program. This will allow for an even more personalized experience for each user.
“Additionally, we want to make the user experience even more immersive, intuitive, and impactful through notifications both in and out of the app. This will allow operators to notify their users through email, text, or push notifications about quests, rewards, tournaments, and any other priorities they have.”