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Hidden Trends Plus Quick Time-to-Market: The Other Staples of Achieving True 1:1 Personalization

When Claus Hansen, Director of CRM at BetMGM, says that "Optimove provides us the flexibility to maximize Customer LTV," what he (also) actually talks about is how cohort analysis and elevated agility play a crucial role in executing personalization-at-scale. Read on to see for yourself

We are living in the age of personalization. So many things are explicitly tailored to our personal preferences; the product recommendations we see on Amazon, our Netflix experience, gym memberships and healthcare plans, even the products we buy for our pets are becoming customized. And it’s just the beginning, as more and more brands are adopting a personalization-at-scale strategy.

By now, we all know the prerequisites for implementing this strategy. On an organizational level, the company has to be customer-centric, and the management needs to understand the importance of CLTV (customer lifetime value) over metrics such as “new customers.” From a technical standpoint, a smart customer data platform (CDP) would have to be in place, along with AI-led orchestration capabilities and all the execution channels.

These are the basics. But every brand can have a different approach to personalization-at-scale, or more accurately, take a different path to achieve the holy grail of customer marketing: true 1:1 personalized customer communications.

One such brand is gaming operator BetMGM, an Optimove client. Born out of a partnership between MGM Resorts International and Entain Holdings, BetMGM has exclusive access to all MGM U.S. land-based and online sports betting – and by using Optimove, it can take an interesting path in pursuit of the ultimate goal of customer marketing.

Identifying hidden trends

“We are using Optimove to maximize customer lifetime value in a lot of different ways,” said Claus Hansen, Director of CRM at BetMGM. “That allows us to identify what we need to do with different customer cohorts really early on and understand how to act throughout the different journeys to ultimately maximize the lifetime value.”

By focusing on cohort analysis, BetMGM gains insight into its customers’ behavior that it wouldn’t have otherwise. A cohort analysis isolates different customer segments, tracking and comparing them over time. Cohorts are static groups; new customers can’t join a cohort once it’s formed, and customers cannot move from one cohort to another. The most common type of cohort is a group of people who became customers in a particular time frame, e.g., the FIFA World Cup or Christmas.

Cohort analysis helps brands identify hidden customer behavior trends. For example, general analytics data may show an increase in monthly purchases, but a cohort analysis can reveal that the growth is driven by first-time buyers, while older customers are actually buying much less frequently than in the past.

Similarly, when a company experiences a bad month, it’s critical to understand if the drop in performance was due to a market-wide factor (like a quiet summer month) or to a specific problem (e.g., customers acquired via a particular traffic source) that can be pinpointed and solved by following the behavior of cohorts over time.

Optimove allows BetMGM to follow the behavior of cohorts over time and combines cohort analysis with multi-dimensional behavioral-based dynamic segmentation to achieve highly sophisticated customer tracking and customer analytics. The resulting customer insights and marketing action optimization are the perfect foundation for building a successful personalization-at-scale strategy.

Always on the go

Once the foundation has been laid, it’s time for the framing, i.e., fitting all the pieces together to give the structure support and shape. In a dynamic field like Real Money Gaming, fitting all the pieces needed for personalization-at-scale requires flexibility – another thing Optimove makes it easy for brands to achieve.

“The biggest benefit of working with Optimove is the flexibility it provides us, as we are working in a very agile environment,” said Hansen. Gaming operators such as BetMGM demand an ability to monitor, adapt and deploy marketing campaigns on the go. That’s the standard in this hyper-agile industry, evident both in the interactions with clients and in the rapid growth of the markets.

“One of the main challenges we are facing as a company is acceleration,” explained Hansen. “Online sports betting and online casino in the U.S. are still relatively young, and new states are opening up to gaming on a monthly basis.

When a new state legalizes gambling, the goal of RMG operators is obviously to shorten their Time to Market. The only way to do that with an ever-increasing number of customer interactions is by using a marketing hub that solves bottlenecks with new approaches to multichannel campaign orchestration.

Coming full circle

While BetMGM’s process is methodical, the company keeps its eye on the prize. “We are trying to provide the best possible product and personalized experience,” said Hansen. “Optimove helps us achieve our mission in a lot of different ways, (for example) how we personalize the experience for our customers and scale the different journeys that we want to put in front of them, driving retention through a personalized, scalable segmented approach.”

BetMGM’s approach is possible because of Optimove’s self-optimizing journeys. SOJs – powered by AI – identify all the campaigns each customer is eligible for and evaluate all journey possibilities, response probabilities, and potential impact on customer lifetime value to determine and serve the next-best action (=campaign) for each customer.

Relying on AI also allows marketers to focus on what they do best: crafting campaigns, ideating new customer segments, defining a channel mix, and developing customer relationships. Which is another reason CRM professionals are our biggest fans. “Optimove has demonstrated itself as one of the key leaders in the CRM space,” said Hansen. “I have yet to see anyone doing better within that space.”

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Avi Sorenson

Avi, a seasoned writer-editor joined Optimove in 2022 after more than 6 years with Apester, where he served as a senior content manager and consultant. Prior to this, Avi, a Political Science graduate from Tel Aviv University, held multiple senior editorial positions within mass media outlets. And, whatever you do, don't talk to him about NBA scores from last night.