With Markor Technology recently partnering with Ibex.ai to strengthen the range of solutions it can supply to partners, we sat down with Thomas Aigner and Melissa Summerfield to discuss the benefits the tool offers CRM teams and the impacts of AI and machine learning in the wider iGaming industry
Before we get into how Markor will utilise Ibex.ai to strengthen its client offering, can you tell us a bit more about the company’s core concept and how it differs from other rule-based AI systems?
TA: When Ibex was started, our core focus was to really look at each player individually and come up with ways to maximise their lifetime value. We weren’t happy with the level of personalisation and automation that existing technology could deliver, so we set about re-thinking the process of a CRM campaign from the bottom up. With the machine learning models that Ibex utilises, it’s able to create a full profit/loss calculation for individual players that takes into account everything from the payment method they use to the costs of sending a bonus via SMS or email. From these calculations, the system is able to implement the action that has the highest impact for each player while also learning and optimising its models based on the previous outcomes. In this respect, Ibex differs from some of the more traditional, rule-based systems – where CRM teams usually still have to build a customer journey to trigger their desired action – as it provides a true level of automation by constantly A/B testing its approaches and evaluating their performance without the need for manual prompting from the user.
Last year, Ibex.ai was involved in a ground-breaking trial where it was pitted against a human CRM team and delivered some pretty convincing results – what factors helped contribute to its success?
TA: Over the course of that study, Ibex delivered a 20% increase in NGR and a 17% decrease in bonus spend when tested against what a human CRM team was doing. One of the keys to this success was the fact that our technology doesn’t need to create and target customer segments in the way that a traditional CRM team does. Instead, we looked to fundamentally overhaul the approach taken by CRM teams and place a greater emphasis on targeting each individual player, meaning that the bonuses Ibex offers are 100% personalised. Additionally, Ibex can look at how each player reacts to its offers and use this data to automatically decide and trigger the next best action specifically for them. This is known as level five automation and means it can build optimal models by itself, with CRM teams then being able to look at its choices, understand the actions and use them to come up with new campaigns.
Another perk of Ibex’s approach is that the system is able to quickly identify bonus abusers, who obviously have a big impact on a CRM team’s overall profit/loss figures during each campaign. Whereas manually rooting out bonus abusers and segmenting them accordingly is a costly and time-consuming process, Ibex’s personalised, player-by-player approach means the technology can easily spot signs of bonus abuse and decide that the best action in these cases is often not to issue any offer.
The increased use of AI in traditionally human operations is something of a hot topic at the moment – is Ibex.ai intended to replace CRM teams entirely or merely supplement what they currently do?
TA: This is a really important question and one we get asked a lot because of the high level of automation Ibex can deliver. Our AI is not at all intended to replace CRM teams or take away human jobs, but rather to enhance their current capabilities by removing some of the day-to-day legwork. This gives them more time to focus on building creative campaigns and optimising their overall strategy, which can in turn help them increase profits without taking on further costs. With this in mind, CRM teams shouldn’t be fearful about AI replacing them, but should instead be experimenting with it and learning its capabilities so they can better understand how to work alongside it in future.
How will automated technology such as Ibex.ai enable online operators to better structure their CRM teams going forward and will it allow for a more efficient distribution of resources in future?
TA: We’re already starting to see this with our current partners. By using an AI like Ibex, it’s possible to take some of the manual legwork out of the CRM process – i.e. defining a target group and then scheduling/executing a campaign – which in turn gives executives more time to focus on the creative side of things and how they refine their top-level strategy. One of the important things to remember about Ibex is that it’s not a content generating AI, but rather one takes all of the templates and bonuses that are already in place and combines them to get the most optimal results. As such, removing a lot of the manual admin can give CRM more freedom to focus on creating better content.
From Markor Technology’s point of view, how does partnering with highly-specialised companies such as Ibex.ai enable you to enhance the service that you’re currently able to offer your partners?
MS: Markor has always been focused on providing innovative solutions for our clients – and one of the value propositions that we pride ourselves on is that our iGaming technology is powered by AI and machine learning. The role of this technology is to make people’s lives easier, so by onboarding specialised partners such as Ibex, we can automate more, decrease human error and track data so it can drive informed, real-time business decisions. By streamlining operations in this way, we save our clients’ time so they can focus more on high level topics such as branding and business development.
Can you tell us a little bit about some of the advantages that Ibex.ai gives to your online casino partners and how the technology has been incorporated into your current PAM platform offering?
MS: One of the main benefits that Ibex has delivered for us is that it intelligently targets customers and increases their lifetime value – two things that have already been backed up by the company’s reports. By constantly A/B testing its actions and learning from the results, Ibex is able to consistently choose the optimal offer or reward based on the projected value of each player, meaning once a network of campaigns has been set up, CRM teams will be free to focus on their overall user strategy.