EXCLUSIVE: OfferCraft CEO Aron Ezra Talks Casino Marketing, Engagement Ahead of G2E

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With G2E 2016 fast approaching, gaming is at the forefront of many minds today as countless leaders from across the casino, gaming, marketing, and hospitality industries prepare to descend on Las Vegas for the annual convention. To get a jump start on some of the conversations expected to take place at G2E this year, mGamingWatch recently caught up with Aron Ezra, the CEO of OfferCraft, for an insightful discussion.

MGW: For those not familiar with OfferCraft, what services and solutions do you offer clients? What does OfferCraft offer the casino and gaming industries?

ARON:  More than almost any other industry, casinos understand the power of games.

Yet why aren’t more casinos using games in interactions throughout the property to improve their profitability? Why aren’t there game-like experiences at the steakhouse? At the hotel check-in desk? At the spa? In the restaurants? In e-mails?

In short: Why have casinos been limiting games to the gaming floor?

Today, casinos around the world use OfferCraft’s software to make their businesses more fun, efficient and profitable. They use our patent-pending game-building tools to create customized marketing games for emails, social media, direct mail, websites, apps, digital signage, ads, and more. They use our trivia training games to boost information retention by staff, and our leaderboards to boost employee engagement. And they use our artificial intelligence-powered rewards to double or even triple both the redemption rates of their Player’s Club rewards and their revenues.

And that’s just the beginning. Today, many of the biggest (and smallest!) casinos all over the world use OfferCraft to infuse game elements into everything they do. When I look at what we’ve done with casinos like Palms, Dover Downs, Sycuan, Seven Feathers and many others, it’s breathtaking — we see major improvements across multiple key metrics.

MGW: It’s surprising to learn that the vast majority of incentives used in marketing fall short of engaging and converting. Why do most incentives fail?

ARON:   Casinos actually see far better conversion rates than many other industries (such as retail). But even so, there’s dramatic room for improvement.

There are countless reasons for why incentives fail. Too many offers are forgettable, or boring, or confusing, or not targeted to the right person. Or the business is not offering a compelling reward for the action it’s trying to prompt… The list goes on.

MGW: What do marketers need to know about gamification and how it can be leveraged to increase engagement through marketing campaigns?

ARON:   First, let’s define gamification: It’s the practice of applying game mechanics to areas outside of traditional games. OfferCraft’s software employs quite a few motivational strategies — gamification is just one of our approaches — to present our clients’ incentives in the most enjoyable, memorable way possible. When customers and employees are having fun, they are much more likely to feel positively about your brand, tell their friends about you, and complete the action you are trying to inspire them to do.

Second, it’s easy to mess this up in the casino space, as casino patrons are sophisticated gamers. Gamification approaches that have been successful in other industries don’t always translate well when tried at a typical casino.

Gamification can have outstanding results, but it’s important to partner with a group that has a strong track record!

MGW: What makes OfferCraft so particularly proficient at helping companies with their incentive-focused marketing objectives?

ARON:   In addition to all the wonderful things we can offer with our software, what has helped make OfferCraft such a success is that we take a consultative approach to working with our clients. Using games in departments such as marketing, operations and HR is a new concept for most companies. So in our launch meetings, we start by exploring with our clients their most pressing business problems. We then advise them on how to build better gamified incentives to address those problems. By starting the conversation with overall business objectives, we ensure that we’re solving the pressing problems at hand.

MGW: When you look ahead to 2017, what are you most excited about?

ARON:  More great campaigns! Our customers are constantly coming up creative ways to use our platform to make their business more fun. And we’re introducing our approach to many new industries as well. We’re using the same game-building tools that work so well at casinos to help hospitals motivate their patients to follow their doctor’s orders, to help retailers get shoppers to purchase more items, and to help energy companies get consumers to use less power. This cross-pollination of ideas across industries  helps all of our customers, including casinos, to improve. We’re excited to accelerate the spread of fun in business in 2017 and beyond.

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