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Managing your risk landscape

PIMS-SCA News

State of Slot Gaming – Part Three

Thu 14 Mar 2019 @ 11:14

William Hill has obviously made the decision to use Jackpots as a key pillar in their gaming brand appeal. This is an approach adopted by many and will undoubtedly become more and more important as regulation on bonusing takes a tighter grip on the ability of Marketing teams to incentivise their players. Delivering jackpots can only be achieved with the right tools. And the way that William Hill have chosen is to have a single, central pool to build a massive jackpot, one large enough to split between differently skinned games. But the strength of this approach hides a fundamental flaw. Using the same RNG or fundamental gameplay is literally taking one step forward and two steps back.

Think about it, to the player you are essentially saying “Come, look and play our exciting content on the game you want to play, it is varied, and you can win big in different ways to the shared content that everyone has!” (Here’s looking at you, Mega Moolah and Starburst.) Hey, look that’s a decent proposition. Take one step forward.

But at the same time you are saying “However if another player wins on another of our games, the jackpot on your game drops right back.” Oops, now take two steps back.

It gets worse, once they twig what William Hill are up to and some will, they’ll realise that “These are just skins of the same game and they don’t think that we are clever enough to see they haven’t put enough thought behind the content.” Nightmare.

There is a way out. Prize insurance. Here at PIMS-SCA we are uniquely positioned within the IGaming industry to be able to offer the operator, the aggregator and the game developer the ability to have individual jackpots for each progressive.

We can use policies that are unique to the client to arrange the cover that they specifically need rather than a one size fits all approach. This could be marketing campaign led or part of general inventory management to boost new or underperforming gems. Customers can now seamlessly connect the individual gameplay of progressive slot games with jackpots and gaming lobbies suddenly looking truly varied and interesting. We know that large jackpots drive higher customer participation but only if process is managed with nuance.

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State of Slot Gaming – Part Two

Thu 14 Mar 2019 @ 11:13

In 2018, the online casino world was awash with articles about the jackpot size of several progressive jackpot multi-operator games. It felt that almost every week we were seeing ever larger jackpots and even more grinning winners. Of course, this was excellent PR for the publisher and for the well-established game developer who could then proudly but erroneously claim that it was their unique gameplay features and market placing that was driving the constantly building progressive.

And then, as the year end approached, industry attention was drawn to newer games from different providers, each also building massive jackpots. Industry speculation was rife as to which games would be next. Which supplier would be able to unlock the ‘magic’ formula and build a game of such appeal that it was capable of growing organically while building its progressive jackpot to levels capable of driving player participation even further? The world over, game developers were falling over themselves to say that they had a game with the right design, and it would be their gameplay and theirs alone that could crack it. And operators the world over were buying this because they too had bought into the myth of the magic formula (and in any event they had to try something), This truly seemed to be the only game in town.

Nonsense.

I have touched before on the appeal of technological mysticism in our industry, after all, it has been said that it is far easier to have a firm foothold in nonsense than to set out on the troubled seas of thought. We should be asking ourselves, if it was so easy to predict success based purely on game design, format and market placing why aren’t we seeing game after game regularly drive up the jackpot? Because the truth for success is more simple, we’ve seen it come from luck – successful games have had no early winners of the seed jackpot. No great secret there. The reality is that the tools to deliver an attention grabbing jackpot based game already exist and the opportunity to do so from within your own inventory is already there. Anyone can place a jackpot behind any strong game tomorrow and, with appropriate gameplay and design, stand a far better chance of success than by simply hoping that you don’t get an early winner.

So am I worried about, or giving any headspace to, the question of which long shot game will be next? No. because it’s looking for an answer to the wrong question.

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State of Slot Gaming – Part One

Thu 14 Mar 2019 @ 11:12

We all work in an industry that bases its identity on the concept of ‘show’, of big wins, of life changing impact, of beating the house. We peddle old school razzmatazz, flashing lights, dazzling colours around big numbers and dramatic sounds. We deliver escapism through the hope and dreams of a new life.

Let’s face it, whether we like it or not, we’re in showbusiness.

But we’ve gone native. And like most entertainers we have forgotten that there’s more to showbusiness than show. Of course, we need to get players’ attention to drag them in, to ‘acquire’ or ‘re-engage’ them, but we should remind ourselves from time to time that this also a business. How do we make business decisions that make commercial sense? This is where we lose our way. We have as an industry convinced ourselves that the margin is in the mystery or the magic. The magic provided by new gameplay, by new formats, by new platforms, by technology.

This technology provides us with a comfort blanket. We wander open-eyed around large halls showcasing new revolutionary platforms, swallowing wholeheartedly complex mathematical algorithms along with their promise of better margins. We may then haggle and concede a per cent here and gain a per cent there of our precious margin in order to access the next versatile solution for modern iGaming. But its’s a fools’ paradise.

This is smoke and mirrors. The next big thing that is essentially the same old thing that we have seen year after year. I choose to reject these false gods. The alternative solution may be less exciting, less showy but it’s way more reliable and more commercially astute – traditional, reliable and regulated insurance. I don’t need to dilute narrow margins still further with yet another platform that I need to integrate with. I simply need a reliable policy from a provider who knows what they’re doing, that is tailored to my business and covers me for what I need to be covered for.

Sometimes, just sometimes, business is business and show is show.

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IPM “30 Under 30” adds more skills and expertise to the PIMS-SCA promotional skills bank

Mon 27 Nov 2017 @ 11:24

Everyone at PIMS-SCA is delighted to learn that PIMS-SCA’s own Ria Lewis has been accepted on to the IPM’s “30 Under 30” programme for 2018.

For 2018, the IPM said they had enjoyed a very high entry standard from all applicants, with high levels of entry for the Programme and fierce competition. The judges felt Ria’s entry stood out from the crowd and that she would benefit from being part of the Programme, aimed at personal and professional development.

Mark Kimber, Managing Director at PIMS-SCA said: “In her position at PIMS-SCA, Ria works closely alongside agencies and clients in providing Fixed Fee and Over Redemption Insurance. This acknowledgement of her potential from the IPM comes as no surprise to us as Ria has many CII and IPM credentials; and not content with achieving a distinction in the IPM diploma a few years back, she also scored the top result of that year.”

Throughout 2018 Ria will have the opportunity to embrace new skills in everything from negotiations and account management to how to deal with positive stress management and challenging legal issues.

Ria will formally celebrate her place on the Programme at a special presentation on Thursday 14th December in London, when she will be formally accepted into the Programme.

The PIMS-SCA team of experts have always taken pride in knowing how to protect you, your clients and your audiences when running promotional campaigns of any sort and Ria’s participation in the IPM “30 Under 30” programme can only add to the knowledge and deep expertise already within our team; delivering real practical and commercial benefits, not just to her and everyone here at PIMS-SCA but to all of our clients.

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More effective customer acquisition for lotteries

Tue 24 Oct 2017 @ 12:02

Should lottery operators and the alternative lottery market turn to the experience of other sectors as they look to grow the industry by building more effective customer acquisition campaigns?

For years, lotteries have achieved market growth by using the same old promotional campaigns and techniques. Whether through focusing expensive spend on huge jackpots, offering 3-for-1 deals to first time players in the Alternative Lottery market, or dressing these same offers up as 70% off a £5 spend. It begs the question, how well do lottery marketers understand the needs of the new to market player in 2017?

In most cases, operators employ similar promotional strategies to each other, with only the gentlest nod towards branding. Customer volume breakthroughs have been reliant on big ad spend, heavy online budgets and even heavier jackpots. The result, a confused and noisy marketplace populated by multiple operators without clear differentiable propositions. There may be subtle differences in site design and product offering but for customers these are invisible.

The problem with a commodity market, characterised by a few big players, and many smaller players eager to gain a slice of the pie is that the quickest, easiest way to grow is to steal share. And that means cutting prices, offering deals and discounts. It’s expensive, cut-throat and everyone is doing it. From an existing player and customer perspective this is all very good news, competing operators offering brand switching deals. The result is everyone wins and everyone loses as players and customers shift from one operator to another and back again. Promiscuous customers in every market will switch all day for a better deal. But the worrying thing for the industry is that this does nothing to grow the market.

Why? Because new entrants aren’t excited by discounting. There are few potential new customers who haven’t considered buying a ticket. Those that want to play are playing. Those who no longer play have rejected current propositions because they don’t see the value in them. New entrants, at the younger end of the spectrum, are simply not excited by the propositions on offer. So, what’s to be done?

If operators start from the premise that they want trial from new players, then the very first thing to do is address customers’ attitude to risk. The biggest barrier to entry remains customer concerns around first purchase risk. The risk factors in this market are many, be it a lack of customer awareness of the branded operators, uncertainty around pay-out processes, or low levels of positive word of mouth.

New customers need the perception of risk taken away from them They want to know what they’re getting before they part with any cash. Which is exactly why sampling, free trial, money back guarantees and testimonials all work as effective trialling mechanics across a multitude of brands in many different sectors worldwide. Brand marketers recognise that customers don’t buy a product or service for the first time just because they’re going to get more of it.

So why aren’t new customers buying? Because the operators aren’t thinking about what the customers might want – not only reduced risk but clear, fun, engaging and impactful offers. Lottery marketers need to embrace change, and get out of their creative and marketing comfort zones. They need to start thinking about how they can add the 4 Is of Promotional Marketing to their current Marketing plans.

The 4 Is?

Impact; Information; Involvement and Incentive. Important as it is, for too long it has all been just about the incentive.

  • Impact – The job of marketing must be to poke and provoke customers into action.
  • Information – Make it easy for customers to engage by clear, simple promotions
  • Incentive – make offers relevant. Look to reduce player risk by adding value, whether through gamification, experiential events, or just fun ways of generating interaction.
  • Involvement – Customers are looking for more involved relationships with brands. The more involved they actually feel, the more willing they’ll be to recommend a new lottery and talk about it.

Lotteries need to start to learn the language of brands and embrace a new approach that is about building an involving relationship between customer and brand that stands apart from jackpot sizes and price offers. Carry on as is and the only winners will be those operators with the deepest pockets, those who hope to outlast their competition, and they’ll be more than happy to do so by buying market share. They can afford to play a long game. Most can’t.

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Latest news…

State of Slot Gaming – Part Three

State of Slot Gaming – Part Two

State of Slot Gaming – Part One

IPM “30 Under 30” adds more skills and expertise to the PIMS-SCA promotional skills bank

More effective customer acquisition for lotteries

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