IN-DEPTH 5 April 2016
The secrets of great supplier marketing
The gaming industry continues to grow rapidly, but so do the number of companies providing services and games to operators. So how do you stand out from the crowd? Geoffrey Hansen of land-based, i-gaming and social casino supplier Genesis has the answers
By Geoffrey Hansen
Marketing in the gambling industry has always presented great opportunities for creative expression by both the suppliers and the casino operators. With the advent of digital marketing, there is a vast and complex set of options available to market specific games.
Genesis Gaming has been designing video slots for land-based manufacturers and for online real-money and social casino gaming since 2008, and our team has an extensive background in marketing gaming products going back many years before Genesis was founded.
Traditionally, a land-based slot machine is a self-marketing vehicle, meaning that the look of the cabinet (branding on topper, face, sides) and the automatic displays on the display screens (such as attract loops, game branding) do much of the work in attracting gamblers, which of course is what drives operator interest. When seen on the casino floor, a slot machine cabinet must sell itself and engage prospective players.
An online product, whether we are talking about real-money i-gaming or a social casino, provides a much richer set of marketing options for both the supplier and the operator. In the coming months, Genesis will be launching its 200th online video slot game. In our journey towards this milestone, we’ve evolved a lot in our thinking about both the processes and assets around marketing a gaming product.
In the last eight years of being involved in the i-gaming industry we have seen great strides in advancing marketing as the digital marketing of gaming products has evolved. In the beginning, a great game logo, some screenshots and a brief game description was all that was required. Today, the process is much more subtle. These are the four stages of the marketing of a video slot we always consider before taking a game to our partners.
Getting operator commitment Operators need to be convinced that the game is good and that it fits their portfolio and their promotional calendar. A good game product spec sheet, a demo of the game, and a great story to pitch are essential to getting commitment to launch any game, and to persuade operators to commit to marketing it.
Building pre-launch awareness Release of game teasers (short videos previewing the to-be-launched game), banners and demos on the Genesis website will build early buzz before release, culminating in media exposure to pull players to find the game across many operators.
Launch on operator sites The launch of the game across many operators (and often on many platforms) creates demands for a wide range of marketing materials. These include:
a. logos of a variety of form factors
b. canned banners, and backgrounds along with screens and characters for development of custom banners
c. promotional copy for both articles and emails (and often email templates)
d. video teasers and trailers
Promotions by affiliate marketers These promotional marketers are paid to generate traffic for operators and rewarded for customer acquisition, so they will often seek game stories to attract players and require a variety of marketing assets.
In addition, as Genesis has extended its distribution across many geographies, the new challenge we have faced is making sure all marketing assets are available in many languages and with localised context. This ensures that the game remains global but also still relevant and appealing within each separate market.
For social casino gaming, frequent game releases, the range of incentives, and the enhancement of social technologies have combined to create a marketing-rich playground to advance our thinking on video slot game marketing. We view this process as focusing on three areas:
Public profile of the game We aggressively distribute video trailers through social media and make sure the game is found by SEO.
Community marketing Details on the game must be shareable for social users to help promote the game, so we look for ways for players to share likes and links through clever use of marketing copy and visual assets.
Operator marketing Assets to support promotion, often in specific formats unique to their site or App.
The major advantage of the social casino market in terms of our ability to market the product is the intrinsic link to social media, and the ability to track interest and sharing.
In the social world, we can focus on a continuous marketing improvement as we monitor a number of key performance indicators. This feedback and the related knowledge is applied to our marketing efforts in i-gaming as well.
Whether we are speaking of real-money i-gaming or social casino gaming, the best practices come down to having a wide range of marketing assets to choose from or to customise, having clear communications with platform and operator partners, and having a clear plan to coordinate marketing well in advance of launch.
Sometimes, as a marketer we are given fortunate circumstances to discover rich marketing opportunities. Last year, Genesis released a unique game called Machine Gun Unicorn. This turned out to be a marketer’s dream: a very unique game title that draws interest immediately, a story-driven game with interesting characters to utilise in marketing, and a game experience that players get excited to share with their peers.
The interesting game theme stimulated many creative ideas for marketing assets, and, in turn, many operators were stimulated to create very creative and unique promotions using these marketing assets.
Additionally, this game created “fans” and demand arose for more details on the back story and the characters outside of the game. This led to the creation of a microsite (www.machinegununicorn.com) for fans to explore the characters and story, and to encourage sharing, including a social media account for the main character on Twitter (@machinegununicorn).
The marketing of Machine Gun Unicorn resulted in the following outcomes:
• more operators fully committed to creative marketing of the game
• more bloggers endorsed the game
• more traffic and eyeballs were driven to Genesis website than for any one game
• we continue to see operator and affiliate promotions of the game many months after release
Based on the game performance and the ongoing interest in the characters and the brand, Genesis announced the sequel to Machine Gun Unicorn at ICE 2016: Machine Gun Unicorn 2 – In De Nile. We are already excited about marketing this game and continuing to evolve the mix of assets we can combine to drive traffic and business to our operator customers as an innovative supplier.
As a key supplier of video slot content to the most prominent manufacturers and operators in the casino gaming industry, Genesis Gaming has built its reputation on providing casino gaming content that both engages and entertains players the world over and maximises revenue for its customers. With nearly 200 video slot games produced and available to play, including recent hits such as Machine Gun Unicorn, Mirror Magic and Gods of Giza, Genesis employs world-class game designers and develops games for all digital platforms whether they are land-based, online or mobile, and for real-money or social gaming play.
This article appears in the March/April issue of Gambling Insider