Most people have heard of the classic four P’s of Marketing: Product, Price, Promotion and Place (never mind Positioning, Packaging and...). These of course apply to iGaming, as well. But when I’m speaking to clients about international iGaming marketing, there are four P’s I think are even more important. And a fifth must-have P as well.
“Product” is the obvious one. You need to provide the products the market you’re targeting expects and demands. There’s little point in launching a casino in Japan without pachinko slots, China without baccarat (live dealer especially), North America without blackjack, UK without roulette. But do all the products have to be “customised” for the local markets, e.g. everything for China in red?
Probably not – colours do have different meanings in different cultures (in Thailand, for example, every day has its own associated colour!) and their use on your site or in your apps does need to be tested to optimise effectiveness. But look at the success of, say, Playtech’s games in Asia or RTG’s (Real Time Gaming, yes it owns the casino café business, which is large) in the Philippines. People at casino cafes will literally line up behind a terminal with RTG’s T-Rex rather than play on a PC that has just, for instance, Habanero games. This reflects an acceptance of the internationalisation of the products – just as in cinema. Language and currency, most definitely players prefer their own.
This leads us to the next essential P: “Processing." If you don’t have Interac in Canada you’ll miss half of the market. No Klarna or Giropay in Germany? No UBI in India? No online banking in Thailand? You won’t get off the ground. Players prefer to pay their way, and will find an operator which provides that rather than change their behaviour. And while there are more people learning English in China right now than speak it in the rest of the world, English is not the lingua francaso many people think it is. Although 56% of Germans can speak English, 90% prefer to use a site that is in their native language.
Definitely forget about using Google translate. Our industry has a highly specialised vocabulary, and, in some markets, actually a “coded” slang that you must deal with to communicate with players. So that brings us to our third P:"People." You need native or near-native speakers manning your chat and phone lines, writing your copy, doing your social (be it via LINE in Japan, Indonesia and Thailand, WhatsApp in Malaysia, or of course WeChat and Weibo in China).
The fourth P may come as a surprise: "Performance." The speed of your site/app is directly correlated to your success in the market. There are varying degrees of tolerance (Ozzie put up with slower sites as they have fewer options) but in competitive markets, a slow site/app is a death knell.
And I believe there is a fifth, way too often overlooked, P: "Plan B." Always have a Plan B. Regulations change (see Germany’s stupid and draconian new rules that took effect this summer), market conditions (a 25% drop in GDP in Thailand did nothing to help operators as, since the tour guides didn’t need to get their uniforms cleaned, the cleaners couldn’t buy their noodles; and the noodle shop guy can’t play baccarat without that income…). So count on something blowing up – plan for it. Product, Processing, People, Performance and a Plan B. As Amex used to say, “don’t leave home without them.