Jim Ryan, Chief Executive at PartyGaming, made headlines recently when he announced that the company would be focussing on attracting pure players to its Casino offering, rather than continuing to concentrate on up-selling casino games to its poker base.
This is a long overdue decision, and one that supports a theory I’ve been advocating for some time. Gaming companies need to maintain a focus on being the best in each area they operate in, rather than constantly up and cross-selling to their existing players.
There are a number of risks to this strategy, most obviously:
1) In an industry with high customer churn, you can’t afford to offer new players a sub-standard experience because you are focussing on a different audience segment.
2) In theory it’s cheaper to cross-sell to your existing customers. But it gets significantly more expensive when you are alienating them with irrelevant messages.
3) You lose focus on what’s needed to make the specific offering a success, rather than a specific message.
In an industry with such high costs of acquisition per player, it’s understandable that we want to minimise costs wherever possible, and drive up lifetime value of customers. But for every poker player that became a casino player, how many left Party or had their brand affinity and loyalty reduced?
Successful gaming companies have looked at making each element of their offering stand alone to the same high standards as that which made their premium offering such a success. If you focus too much on cross-selling, you start giving the answer to questions such as ‘what do poker players want from a casino?’ far too much weight in your customer experience, communication and marketing strategies.
The simplest, and most successful route, is to concentrate on producing the best specialist offering you can and then working out the communications and engagement strategy for each customer segment. With greater focus, you can test specific offers and experiment with the strategies that will deliver the most profitable results – not necessarily cross-selling, but referrals and social media testimonials.