How to leverage user feedback to develop the ultimate experience
In this episode we had the pleasure of hosting Agatha Bejan, Director of CRM & Subscription Optimization at Phiture to talk about the role of a CRM professional in a games company and how they leverage player feedback for retention and monetization.
What will you listen to in this episode?
1. Minute 05:37 - Agatha introduces herself and talks about her current role at Phiture, and her previous roles at EA, Jagex and Zynga.
2. Minute 08:38 - Agatha, a CRM specialist and manager for many years, explains our audience what does a CRM manager exactly do, and why is it such an important role in the gaming industry.
3. Minute 10:14 - She talks about how player feedback influences her day-today job as a CRM Manager.
4. Minute 11:49 - Agatha dives into what is the type of data that she searches for when doing player or user research and what are the metrics she looks at to optimize performance.
5. Minute 13:24 - Our guest shares some effective CRM strategies that add value to the customer experience and drive revenue.
6. Minute 16:20 - What are the top three user insights that bring Agatha's team the biggest impact?
7. Minute 17:58 - Agatha talks about how she intertwines player insights qualitative and quantitative data.
8. Minute 20:05 - In Agatha's opinion, what is the best way to retain players?
9. Minute 21:53 - If there would be a dream insight you could get from your users, what would it be?
1. Minute 05:37 - We asked Agatha, who has years of experience working in the game industry at places like EA, Natural Motion and Jagex, to tell us about her experience at these companies and to introduce us also to her role now at Phiture.
I began my career actually in the marketing department of BMW. I really gained a lot of knowledge about cars. I've been to plenty of car tests, driving. I've learned a lot about consumer behavior and how to respond to customer feedback where key parts of my role. But later I was offered the opportunity to join and lead the marketing operations at Electronic Arts Romania.
That was my first experience in the gaming industry, which I really, really love. Then I transitioned to a full-time CRM, like a CRM focused role, where I really learned from a game team, like a great game team, how to develop CRM strategies, centered on the players' journey. If you don't mind me, I will call out few of the people I worked with: Sharon, Brenda, Timmy, Sabina, Charlie, I am forever grateful for all your guidance. And yeah, after that I held leadership roles at Zinga and Jagex, where I led the CRM department and worked very close with product and live operations teams. The product and live operations teams pretty much create strategies that increase player retention, always the focus of my day, through email, push notifications and in-App game messaging.
Currently I have been working at Phiture for almost six months, helping the CRM team continue success, while identifying new areas of growth. I really enjoy this second phase of my career, and coming from the client side is actually quite exciting to see the Phiture team's dedication, into looking for new opportunities to grow for our clients. And the team's pride in their work honestly is contagious, and it's a pleasure to be part of it.
2. Minute 08:38 - You have been a CRM specialist and manager for so many years. So we thought you would be the perfect person to tell us and our audience what does a CRM manager exactly do, and why is it such an important role in the gaming industry?
Ooh tough one. I think the role of the CRM manager is particularly important in the gaming industry because the competition for players attention and money is fierce. And retaining players is really crucial for long-term monetization. A strong CRM strategy can really make the difference for a game.
By using data-driven insights, to create personalized communication and campaigns, I would say CRM managers can improve engagement and retention, ultimately driving revenue for the company. Additionally, as the gaming industry is constantly evolving, I believe that CRM managers really need to stay updated with the latest trends and technologies just to make sure that the company and their strategy is right on the track. Especially that the game story in general have a quite complex, buildup in terms of tech. You really wanna make sure that there is a close collaboration, to get the right data.
3. Minute 10:14 - Can you tell us a bit of how does Player Feedback influence your day-today job as a CRM Manager?
As the podcast and the subject is around gaming, I don't mind focusing my answer around that. Especially that the past 10 years I worked a lot with players feedback and it was an important part of my role. I did rely a lot on player feedback to gather valuable insights into their needs and preferences.
I think with those needs and preferences in mind, CRM managers, usually identify trends and opportunities for improvement. So, the data that is collected is not only important for product development, which a lot of player feedback is definitely going into product development, but also for creating customer engagement and support strategies.
So for example, CRM managers can use feedback to design hyper personalized campaigns and loyalty programs that cater to specific needs of the players, and I would say in short player feedback is really playing a vital role in shaping the CRM retention strategies that we develop to drive revenue for any company, including at Phiture.
4. Minute 11:49 - What is the type of data that you search for when doing player or user research? What are the metrics you look at to optimize performance?
I would say that to create a CRM strategy, you have to use a combination of qualitative and quantitative data. I would say including, like these sets of and combinations of data include demographic data, behavioral data, attitudinal data, and monetization data. And to answer the second part of your question, to measure effectiveness of the CRM strategies, you must track a variety of performance indicators such as retention rate, lifetime value, player satisfaction and engagement rate. This would be only a few that I used to work with in the past.
We currently use a lot of these metrics in our campaigns today. And I would say these metrics can be positively impacted by personalized engagement strategies. Which is why CRM managers rely heavily, on data and user research to inform their decisions and to optimize their strategies.
5. Minute 13:24 - Can you share with us some effective CRM strategies that add value to the customer experience and drive revenue?
I've been thinking a little bit like, throughout time, in general about this question and I think I will give you a rather counterintuitive answer, so bear with me here.
It might not seem obvious at first, but a crucial strategy for the gaming industry is to really create a robust MarTech stack that covers a wide range of communication channels. Unfortunately, many game companies neglect this aspect resulting in quite disconnected marketing channels from the game data.
This leads to inefficiency, a lack of automation and in general, from my experience, an inability to effectively engage with players at different stages of their game experience. Honestly, you'll be surprised how many game executives just rely on reactivation campaigns or win back strategies, to re-activate their users. But their opt-in rates are either very, very low or they don't capture marketing permission at all. So I would say my recommendation is to audit your games marketing tech stack. Understand which channels you can use and where is your opportunity gap, what type of data is connected to your CRM tool, and really build a growth strategy from there.
Once you cover the foundation, I would say as you get going, some strategies that you can consider experimenting; and I always say this a lot l"experiment test, experiment test", there is no one size fits all; could include lifecycle marketing, funnel win back, so you could have people who needs to be part of an onboarding funnel or some other players who are actually more advanced so that's why person personalization is key to the success of any CRM strategy. Or feature education campaigns. And in general, I do recommend the close collaboration with live ops and product for testing and experimentation.
6. Minute 16:20 - What are the top three user insights that bring your team the biggest impact?
To continue a little bit on the idea that I've mentioned earlier, I think as a CRM manager, it is really crucial to maintain strong connections with teams such as product, community, customer support, and research to stay informed about the day-to-day reality of your game, your player needs, but also your business needs. I would say this will really allow a CRM manager to effectively utilize user insights such as customer behavior. Like, for example, how often a user interacts with the game and which features they use the most.
Purchase history could be another good user insight, for example, how many days after installation a user makes a purchase, what that purchase could be and cohort analysis is again, a really important user insight. Um, for example, who is at three sketch of churning, like I did see some successful strategies in the past, we've not necessarily done complex analysis behind, but rather even frequency use. That would really help a game team to reduce the risk of churn. I think focusing on some of these user insights would help a CRM manager make an impact and driving revenue for a game.
7. Minute 17:58 - Can you tell us a bit more specifically, how do you intertwine player insights qualitative and quantitative data?
A great question! In my opinion is also one of the most controversial topics in the game studio. Bear with me, but both qualitative and quantitative data are vital. Finding the right balance between the two before making a significant decision is not always straightforward. For games with a large online community, you may find that qualitative data is more important in determining the next steps.
But even then, even if qualitative data is the biggest driver helping you make a decision, I still believe it's essential to ensure that any pattern you hear in the feedback aligns with the numbers, with the quantitative data. So, that's why I really believe that a tool like Affogata which can compile large sets of player feedback and turn them into actionable insight can be a valuable asset for a game team.
But yeah, I don't think there is one single answer into how to intertwine the data, it depends a lot on your game, on the size of your community and a lot of other factors. But I always, always, encourage for balance.
8. Minute 20:05 - In your opinion, what is the best way to retain players?
Again, not the type of one size fits all answer, but I think we saw time and time again, that's through content. Content is the most powerful, wow thing that a game - or in general any product I would say - can offer in order to, to create value for money for their right users.
Creating game content is by far one of the most expensive things a game has to do. So as easy as it was to answer that, I believe there is more than one way to retain players and the more you can do the higher your chance is to retain players over competition. Some other suggestions could be regularly releasing small updates that ultimately contribute to a larger deployment, building and fostering a strong community of players, repurposing existing content...
Innovative live operations, I think is another thing. We see Live Ops really growing more and more. And the beauty of Live Ops is that it really allows you to reuse, big part of the content you already have.
Last, but not least, creating highly personalized campaigns using the right CRM channels at the right time for ongoing retention improvements. I really believe that CRM managers could be a strong asset for any game studio.
9. Minute 21:53 - With that amazing answer, we are arriving to the last question of the podcast and maybe one of the hardest ones: If there would be a dream insight you could get from your users, what would it be?
Ooh. What dream Insight? It's a tough one, you're right. I think I will keep my CRM hat on my head to be honest, but if I could have like one dream insight, I would love to know how different groups of players prefer to receive communications from an app.
It would be so helpful to understand which channels work best for which players and how to tailor your communication to make sure that everyone feels heard and understood and definitely not spam.