The words ‘consumer packaged goods’ likely conjure images of big global brands vying for attention in crowded retail spaces, delivering personalized customer experiences, driven to be good social and corporate citizens, laden with the responsibility of consumer trust, all supported by the might of technology and data.
What it likely won’t bring to mind is gambling – but it should. Casino, lottery and gambling organizations are looking for ways to keep pace with disruption, address rising demands, and operate more efficiently, while elevating the human experience.
Which is the journey the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) has been on for some time. In a similarly crowded space, BCLC and their approach is to think like a CPG company.
“Different technologies, different ways to engage with the customer and the player to try and make it a seamless, effortless experience for them to want to engage and want to play and encourage the play.” It’s a broad statement from Leslie Peterson, a Partner at Deloitte Canada and lead for the Canadian and Chile Gambling Industry team, which nicely sums up the kind of disruption the industry is experiencing and forward-thinking it must do.
BCLC is always looking to enable platforms that meet the demands of the business and customers now, while identifying the technology needs for the future. Included in the equation, says Pat Davis, BCLC’s Chief Information Officer, are partners. Most of BCLC’s products are delivered to players through their partners. “How do we meet the changing expectations of our partners? We deliver direct to consumer, but much of it is driven through a variety of very important partners for us. So how do we integrate with their platforms?”
For Sean Hennessy, a Partner at Deloitte Canada, meeting these needs is where the kinetic enterprise plays a big role in keeping the gaming industry nimble and agile: “[Organizations] are trying to make sure all this technology that's being introduced in and around them, tech that they're constantly moving and set up as an organization, allows them to keep evolving.”
When thinking about transformation, BCLC’s Davis believes it’s easy to let the ennui of what’s always been done cloud the vision. “We have to be careful we don't just get caught up in the way we've always done it, but look for those new and interesting ways to solve these problems and come up with new things in our lives and our business.” He also offers the key is not linger in the past, to keep moving forward, and have progress be the goal, not perfection. “We live in a very complex world and we're never going to get all of this right immediately … Don't let too much of those things in the past take up too much of what you're trying to do today and going forward.”
Deloitte’s Hennessy offers there is a shift in the gaming industry to address broader issues, beyond what’s on a P&L sheet, for instance, attracting and keeping the right talent, attracting the right investors, a bigger focus on player health, contributing to a better world. BCLC is walking the talk on this one: They recently hired a vice president of social purpose. Kevin Gass, BCLC’s Vice President Lottery, shared that “Player health has been a big part of our corporate social responsibility and it will continue to be. Having said that, we feel we can go beyond that. Social purpose is really that making the world a better place to live.”
That focus on purpose has a knock-on effect with employees too, according to BCLC’s CIO Davis “They really grab a hold of this and it energizes them and really engages them because it's not just about the standard compensation or how do we deliver results. It's really about answering the question: How do we make a difference.”
Convenience, convergence, personalization – the three areas where gaming companies are vying for customer attention can be distilled into one concept: Experience. “It has to be more than a simple transaction,” comments Gass. “That means creating more engagement, building the relationship with players.”
As the CIO, Davis sees experience through the technology lens. For a kinetic enterprise that means systems and platforms must be flexible to converge on all those pieces, and the channels available at retail and convenience stores – digital signage, mobile devices, digital platforms, online apps, those sorts of things. Combined with service, packaging, marketing, and communications, they are “tools for us in that battleground where we're trying to win.”
Peterson calls out the delicate balance between privacy and gathering anonymous data, and how both contribute to an elevated experience and build trust. Like any good brand, BCLC is acutely aware of that dynamic. It’s a point of view Davis agrees with, adding “And for us [BCLC] it's about finding that right balance, engaging correctly and then putting the right security and controls around all of these.”
Hennessy builds on the idea noting that what’s important to industry and player community and business more broadly, is building the trust and making clear the data collected is to be used for good: “…not to game against them [players] or try to figure out ways to maximize the revenue off of players or but rather to try to understand the players well enough, provide a great experience while protecting and respecting their privacy.”
Gass rounds out the thinking by making the distinct connection between experience, trust and competition. “Privacy is the issue of the day when it comes to personalization. And trust, particularly as it as it pertains to personal information, could well become a competitive advantage in the marketplace.”
Promotions, new accounts, connected devices, IOT, organizations are mastering consumer data collection, and BCLC’s CIO insists that companies must treat it as a business asset, and ask the right questions about it to drive value into the business. Without that discipline of demanding the right insight from data, it’s collecting data for data sake: “It's great to have,” says Davis, “but what value are you generating out of that?”
Deloitte’s Peterson offers gaming organizations can be easily overwhelmed with data, but those who are mining it would do well to think bold: “How can you use it to actually help predict things of the future … people struggle with that. The key is to start small but think big. Chip away at the iceberg.”