Big Data, Big Heart – You can’t sell anything without feelings
By Johanna Kozul, Head of Sponsorship, Veikkaus Oy
“You can’t sell anything without feeling”, said our former Executive Vice President, current CEO Mr Olli Sarekoski, as we were interviewing him for our sponsorship strategy five years ago. This was slightly surprising, as Veikkaus was a company that was strongly product and technology focused. However, Veikkaus was already beginning to focus more and more on its most valuable asset: the customer. In that respect the meaning of the comment was clear.
Finland is one of the most digitalized countries in the world. We have long been forerunners in terms of the number of smart phones per capita, currently reaching up to 90% in the group of people under 25. With the strongest growth coming from the mobile channel, Veikkaus clearly must focus on digital services. The service has to be excellent, responsive, lean and fast, because a mobile user’s patience is only a few seconds at a time, and their expectations are high.
But we have not forgotten that behind all this digitalization is always a person, a customer, who seeks content that they find interesting and that speaks to them personally. Digitalization has helped us to gather huge amounts of data and precise information about our customers. By learning to know our customers and their interests thoroughly, our business and customer intelligence enables us to clarify our messaging for more narrowly defined customer segments. With the help of segmentation, we are able deliver content that affects the customers emotionally exactly where their interests lie. It is not insignificant for us which company the customers choose – we want them to choose us! Therefore we use customer data to offer content that matters to them and is authentic to us.
Authenticity lies in the very DNA of Veikkaus. We give all our proceeds, around 1 billion euros a year, to the good causes: to sports, art, youth and family work, equestrian sports, science, general health and welfare as well as mental health organizations, and many more. It is important for us to tell every Finn where the proceeds go because that differentiates us from other gaming companies and affects how a large number of people see us. We used to focus on communicating the amount of support we give to society but, as we made our view more customer-centred, we also changed our way of communicating. We chose to tell smaller stories, success stories, human-sized stories, and local stories that are more understandable and appeal to emotions more than data about what large sums of money go to beneficiaries.
As we have only chosen sponsorship partners that represent our beneficiaries, we can tell real stories with their help. We have received the best results by delivering the messages through “a local 360 approach”, where we tell local beneficiary stories through multiple channels locally. We use our partners’ examples and deliver the targeted message using our customer database, our channels, as well as the partners’ channels and databases to reach the right audience.
At the same time, we want to thank our customers, as they are the ones that make all this good happen in our society. With our sponsorship partners, we put great effort into our customer loyalty program in order to offer remarkable benefits to our loyal customers. We have negotiated excellent ticket deals and experiences that money cannot buy, as well as access to events where our partners bring deeper insights to the customers, and made even more relevant with the help of celebrity guests. All this is only made available through our webstore, in order to guide the customers to the webstore and raise the number of registered players.
The benefits of our loyalty program are sought and negotiated based on the needs of the different customer segments and marketed on the basis of the customer data. The beneficiary stories, as well as the benefits of our customer loyalty program, are part of our own content for marketing through a large variety of channels. We market the content on channels ranging from TV, digital and newspapers to websites, our own and our partners’ social media, as well as events, not forgetting our own CRM and our gamified version of the customer loyalty programme. Currently we are testing the beta version of our Pokémon-Go-like gamification application “Veikkaus Checkpoint”, which will be published along with the benefits to the loyal customers in our mobile webstore app next summer.
Our mission is to offer our customers a touching point to the very soul of Veikkaus. We want them to experience the great opportunities they themselves make possible while playing Veikkaus games. By doing this we want to appeal to the customers to listen and be open to all the messages the company has to share. We want to avoid indifference, as our mission is to channel playing towards Veikkaus’ games. We do all this because we can’t sell anything without feeling.
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