ICE 2014: Cherry Group’s Ismael Diagne on Optimized CRM Strategies

With ICE 2014 Expo less than one week away, SBC catches with Cherry Group’s Head of CRM Ismael Diagne to discuss CRM strategies and big data issues affecting the igaming sector.

Ismael Diagne will be speaking at Ice 2014 on CRM strategies and will be sitting on the guest panel with regards to Big Data affects in igaming.


cherrycasinoSBC: Ismael great to interview you. Can you summarize how you personally approach CRM for igaming. What competencies do you look to establish from your strategy?

Ismael: Whenever possible I’d start from the data.

This means collecting customers data, analyse it, get some insight and apply it to operational CRM. While getting that process running work with developers to build a scalable Data Management Platform to enable the transformation of the data for 3rd party applications integration that will power segmentation, automated life cycle communication and other touch points and interactions messages.

Finally, integrated tools and technologies need also to be in place in order to establish a collaborative CRM process to ensure that all functions interacting with the customers work in sync. This will establish that feel good factor about the brand and subsequently repeated purchases and fidelity.

SBC: You place a high emphasis on identification of potential high grossing customers, what mechanisms do you develop in order to identify these players at an early stage in your product cycle?

Ismael: during the early cycle of a player’s interaction with a gaming vertical,  using data modelling techniques and predictive analytics should allow you to identify potential high revenue customers from the start.In order to target/identify and optimize high value player performance   a fast track program must be in place to nurture this key segment to a VIP journey.

SBC: In your opinion, are CRM strategies that are focused solely on VIP retention sustainable, should operators focus more on development of their player base?

Ismael: Absolutely! Obviously, looking after your VIP is a must in our industry. However there is higher cost for servicing them. I personally believe that there some real opportunity in identifying and servicing your smaller customers (ie:  frequent players) and extend their lifetime engagement with you.
The challenge lies in building some degrees of relationship with these specific clusters above and beyond all your other segments.

SBC: CRM strategies are often copied or transferred from operator to operator, this has led to similar retention methods throughout gaming. What are your thoughts on this matter and what should operators do to be more unique in their methods?

Ismael: The devil is in the details! For operators to be successful in retaining their customers they need to look beyond what we call the “hygiene level”: Solid product and payment process, strong and integrated support and sales functions and competent VIP management.

Your differentiation opportunity lies is in your UX, the entertainment value of your campaigns, promotions and communication as well as your capacity to infuse that feel good factor at every single point of your customers interactions and touch points.

SBC: How have CRM strategies changed in their set up with the increasing exposure to new data in igaming?

Ismael: They’ve changed massively! In the past an excel spreadsheet was all you needed to get most of your data insight from.. Nowadays data is playing a central role in business’s CRM strategy – New skills such as data analyst & scientist, Business intelligence, statisticians are all integral part of the CRM functions.

Your expertise in database development, analysis and timely delivery of data insights will enable you to simplify and unify the rich and complex story of your customers. Making effective data solutions accessible to CRM teams will transform mass campaigns into powerful customer proposition strategies.
Smarter operators will make decisions by capturing data and applying predictive analytics, rather than just relying on historical information.

SBC: Data is subjective, and can only be as good as the method in which it’s gathered and analyzed. How do you ensure that the data gathered from your products and customers is useful your overall operations?

Ismael: Facts don’t lie though! It’s is the interpretation of data that is subjective. You have to make sure that you keep questioning that interpretation.
But as a general rule don’t collect data without thinking prior what you’re going to do with it and more importantly what practical benefit will it bring to your customers. In other words If you’re able to use the collected data back to individual level (strengthening the relationship in the process) then you’re in a very good position.

SBC: Finally you will be discussing Big Data & CRM strategies at ICE 2014, what do you want delegates to take away from your sessions

Ismael: If the plan is to build a strong case between customer relationships (powered by data), including correlations between the engagement of your customers have today and your organisation revenue performance, it’s critical to recognize that the results won’t occur overnight and therefore take your time to manage your business expectations into number driven CRM forecast models.


Ismael Diagne Group Head of CRM – Cherry Group

Check Also

32Red - Derby County's Wayne Rooney during the Carabao Cup match at Pride Park, Derby.

Kindred Group’s 32Red goes live with Fast Track platform

Kindred Group’s 32Red, one of the most recognisable online casino brands in the UK, is …

GiG drives player engagement with Fast Track partnership

Gaming Innovation Group (GiG) will continue to drive player engagement across its operator network after …


Vahan Sahakyan: The three focus areas for AI at Digitain

Vahan Sahakyan, CRM Product Owner at Digitain, writes for SBC News about how the sports …