Emiliano Sanchez, Chief Commercial Officer at Mancala Gaming, explains the company’s innovative commercial offering, with its ‘B2B2C strategy.’ He also describes how its gamification and retention tools are helping operators from all over the world to engage and maintain new players in their platforms.
You are part of a young, innovative, ambitious, online game provider. How the process for launching the brand was and what core values and qualities do you want to associate it with?
Launching a new brand is always complicated and requires a lot of work. We started with a small team and, before we knew, we consolidated 20+ artists and developers from different backgrounds, but always keeping the core with extensive experience in different areas of the industry. This key factor has allowed us to steadily grow and accomplished not only an expanded classical slot portfolio, but also to work in new games and tools for operators. Mancala itself comes from the traditional board game, which is considered one of the oldest games, still widely played worldwide. With our brand, we want to consolidate the idea of the traditional games, but with our own twist, coming from a mix of experienced and younger designers. Our company is bold enough to try new things and respect traditional slot games who paved the way to what the industry is today.
How to “create something truly unique” in terms of online slots in such a very competitive environment?
We combine experience, classical development and the incorporation of new trends and technologies. Right now, our main target is to cater both the casual and the high-roller player, offering operators simplified solutions to increase players’ retention. We know how to design attractive games for players to enjoy, with tools that enhance their interaction with the operator. In terms of design, we have an extensive catalogue of classic, simple games for more traditional players. We are progressively releasing some new games. Our new Monster Thieves slot title was launched along with new user interface (UI), which is modern and aligned to industry standards. A great effort has been done to consolidate an experienced team, with extensive knowledge, both in B2B and in B2C. For our design team, we are lucky to have such talented people from inside and outside the industry, which allows us to think out of the box and analyze old and new concepts. We also have a strong math team who are constantly developing new algorithms to make our games more exciting for players. All of this effort will be shown in the upcoming months, with the releases we are planning.
As you mentioned, main concern of online operators is how to attract and retain players on their platforms. In what way can Mancala help them achieve that goal and what loyalty tools have you developed for this purpose?
Currently, one of the key objectives we have is to simplify technical aspects for operators. We not only provide games and back-end, but also a full dedicated reporting suite. Moreover, there is a possibility of having full control and set up of our Mancala Jackpots, with some extra bonusing tools that we are planning to release in the near future. The B2C experience has been used to develop tools and games that are targeted to increase players’ retention. There are a lot of independent tools for retention and gamification. Our idea is to implement some of these concepts on a B2B level so that the B2C operation can reap the benefits. We call this our ‘B2B2C strategy,’ which has been a conceptual core since we started to think about our brand, and to develop games and tools for our partners. Besides, we want to improve the Lifetime Value (LTV) of players, to enhance retention and increase virality of our brand, in order to service our partners with bigger, better benefits. With experience on game development and operations, the core value is retaining players. Acquisition costs are always generally higher than retention ones. Our new catalogue will mix several gamification and loyalty tools to enhance players’ experience. Of course, the goal is to improve engagement and retention of players, a key issue for all marketing departments in the industry. Lots of providers may have their own set of tools. In that sense, we know how difficult is for any product manager to set up different strategies for each provider on a weekly basis. That’s why we prefer to offer a one-time set up and automatization tool to make it easier for all product managers. It doesn’t need extra integration steps that always complicate, delay or not even include these options. At the end, our business is always to create the best entertainment for the end user.
What are the key elements Mancala Gaming’s sales strategy is based on in order to advance with your offering in different markets?
As a new provider in the market, we have approached the commercial issue with beneficial terms for our initial partners. We are rolling out our products with consolidated platforms in CIS and Europe, and we are looking to expand to other continents as fast as we can. We are finishing our testing requirements with GLI to be able to quickly access several regulated markets. This is one of our main objectives. We have also incorporated bonuses, VIP structures, insurances, and cashbacks to our commercial offering. All of this benefit operators and extend users playtime, which ultimately leads to higher retention rates as well. We aim to provide as much flexibility as possible to help our partners grow. Ultimately, this strategy will make our own product grow with them. We are in advanced conversations with several platforms and operators from different jurisdictions and we trust to have more exposure in the upcoming months.
What interest does the company have in Latin America? From your point of view and experience, what are the current players’ preferences in terms of online slots in LatAm? Why do you think your products can respond to those demands and help operators boost their business in the region?
LatAm is a growing market, and I have been an open believer of this for a long time. The increasing Internet and mobile penetration in the region, as well as a better social image of gambling, especially the online vertical, make LatAm a fertile ground for the industry to expand. There are still difficulties for a mass adoption, but you can clearly see how the landscape has changed over the last years. Colombia is an example of how a properly and successful regulated LatAm market can look like. We don’t have to forget about Mexico’s mature online market, and the efforts Peru, Argentina and Brazil are doing to advance in their respective regulations. LatAm audiences are already familiar with traditional, less complicated slot games. Our traditional catalogue is working quite well there, and as our new content is being released, this will introduce more games options and features they will surely enjoy. Bringing on top loyalty and retention tools we have (those that we are about to launch there), this will only increase players’ engagement and LTV, while enjoying top quality games for this market. As it is usually said, content is king, so the more content any operator has, the better benefits players will receive. As an operator, you can include content that has some gamification and retention tools. These tools will make operations cost efficient and let operators to experiment with automation in loyalty.
What prospects and projects does Mancala Gaming have for the future considering that, due to global pandemic, the number of online gaming fans playing from their homes has significantly increased over the last six months?
Our product has been designed to be able to seamlessly scale. The key component of our strategy has focused on looking for the right partners to distribute our games. Our experience in the industry has opened us lots of doors so far, but we keep looking for more opportunities. Global pandemic situation (with people staying at their homes) has only increased the online industry activity and has also opened land-based operators’ eyes for them to expand their reach into the online vertical. Besides the importance of developing amazing new content, when you have providers who truly understand current challenges for operators, it is easier to dedicate resources to acquire and retain new players. Conversion is always a challenge, but gamification and retention tools are essential to boost business. These tools can also help migration of new users into depositing players, and ultimately into potential VIP players, who at the core of all successful operations.
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