An exclusive interview with Francesca Mifsud, founder and CEO at Harviist
A revolutionary digital era, with a new generation of consumers has resulted in a shift in the way they perceive and interact with the world. Francesca Mifsud, founder & CEO at Harviist examines the way forward for brands in terms of player marketing, as they seek to remain relevant in today's crowded marketplace.
What is Harviist:
Harviist is a tool that allows the brand to engage their customers (players) to become brand advocates and brand ambassadors. In doing so the customer is not only motivated to share the benefits offered by the brand but is rewarded for their loyalty. This is a strategic and planned effort to incentivise word of mouth, that may occasionally get forgotten by the wayside. The equation Harviist was built on was the acquisition and retention of the customer through our effective tool, a brand is able to acquire new players, retain their current base for longer, thus leading to a solid ‘player base’.
Tell us a little bit about the Harviist journey, how did the company get started?
Harviist was born out of an understanding that customers control the narrative. Any savvy marketer knows that finding a way to forge trust is crucial to ensuring your role in their story is a pivotal one. To this end, knowing your customer and understanding what makes them tick will ensure that the focus is not just on acquisition but part of a longer-term strategy for retention.
Attention is competitive - as a customer, or an individual, we are connected at all moments of the day to a digital world. We look to it for information, inspiration, to communicate and even shop. With our attention being pulled in so many different directions, distracting our thought process, any brand worth its salt will need to get into this world and grab the remnants of that limited attention span. It isn’t easy, customers today are more frustrated by advertising, and wield more power to ignore than ever before. To get your brand in front of your customer you need to have a brand story that resonates.
Whilst working as a marketing consultant with a focus on social media and influencer marketing, I was able to see the value influencer marketing could bring to the table. Traditional marketing may still have a foothold, but today’s audience are looking for something different and more genuine. Brands need to resonate, to connect customers to people who can inspire a community and have an authentic voice that connects with the brand as well as the target customer.
The business environment has changed and it is our customer who holds the reins, controlling what they see, when, and where. These influencers offer a unique road to capturing this valuable attention space.
Through this, the power of the micro influencer was also growing and so I made the connection to this idea to word of mouth/referral marketing.
Eventually, the idea of Harviist was born - a comprehensive tool focusing on customer marketing, with our first product centred around referral marketing. Harviist provides a brand and the tools to harness the power customers can bring, to deliver a strong core of the business.
We want to work with brands of all shapes and sizes thus our platform is adaptable and flexible. It’s also super easy to use, we want to ensure that using Harviist takes up limited time but gives maximum value and results.
What is the best way of ensuring brand loyalty from customers both old and new?
Onboarding customers is a process, one that is both lengthy and costly. To ensure that this process is more of an investment than a drain on resources, we endeavour to entice customers to stay for longer, and thus re-purchase.
Ensuring allegiance to a brand depends on a number of key tenets, however, the main influencers for loyalty lie in great marketing, a memorable customer experience, top-notch customer service and support and of course, most importantly - a great product.
In every business and every industry there has been a shift in understanding and approach - that not only does the brand supply a product (such as a casino game) but also provides services and entertainment. This shift in perception allows us to ensure that as a brand we’re truly delivering at every step of the customer journey.
There has also been a significant shift in the way younger generations consume products, with many making the choice to support brands with a social conscience. Understanding their personal narrative is essential then if we hope to play a role in their purchasing journey.
Customer loyalty and thus retention is further impacted by the competitive landscape almost all businesses work in. It’s everywhere and it allows for a healthy business arena to flourish. To ensure that our business stands out to our customers, it’s important to focus on brand building. The brand story and what the brand represents is crucial for your customers to feel proud to be your customer.
Harviist provides the tools to create referral-marketing solutions within brand marketing activities that can further enhance loyalty. In doing so, you’re connecting with the customer by highlighting them as your brand advocate, thus they feel a close connection to the brand, reassuring them that they are being seen and valued. Their behavior is then rewarded, ultimately enhancing and securing this bond to the brand.
How does the brand ambassador referral program work to encourage new acquisitions?
A brand ambassadorial or referral solution harnesses the network that your customers have. As a brand, referral marketing utilises your customers as a marketing resource. We can see them as a new source of customer acquisition.
Consumers have always valued opinions expressed directly to them. Marketers may spend millions of dollars on elaborately conceived advertising campaigns, yet often what really makes up a consumer’s mind is not only simple but also free: a word-of-mouth recommendation from a trusted source. As consumers overwhelmed by product choices tune out the ever-growing barrage of traditional marketing, word of mouth cuts through the noise quickly and effectively.
Understanding how and why messages work allows marketers to craft a coordinated, consistent response that reaches the right people, with the right content, in the right setting.
By incentivising the customer to spread your brand message (thus encouraging word of mouth), the brand is capitalising on the trust that the customer has amongst their friends and network. A recommendation from a friend is always viewed organically and from a position of trust.
Referral marketing generates word of mouth as well as harnesses on trust marketing. Thus incentivising word of mouth is a tried-and-true solution to increase acquisition.
What are the advantages of referral marketing over traditional advertising strategies?
As we touched upon earlier, the business landscape is an intensely competitive one. Operators are competing for the attention of the player who is also a consumer of a growing digital economy. Their attention is therefore spread across the social media world too, which takes up so much of our head-space nowadays.
Ensuring that our brand message is in front of a potential player is tough however, and hoping they see it, listen to or digest this message is not guaranteed. Referral marketing allows for your customer or player base to be converted into your brand ambassador. They are championing your brand to their network and friends. Their voice therefore is trusted by this community, creating a valuable alternative to the cluttered din of advertising. They are seen as micro influencers, their friends trust the message. It is a more organic and native way of spreading your brand story.
Your customer is sharing your brand message to their friends who most likely have a similar demographic. Thus they are likely to be individuals who match the brand target customer criteria.
What kind of support does Harviist offer to brands using the Harviist marketing tools?
We offer a very holistic service. Once we begin working with a client, we host a workshop. This workshop is intended to fully go through the suite of tools, features and functionalities that Harviist offer their customers. During the workshop we seek to understand their business model in more depth, and to learn about their customers. In this way, the Harviist dashboard is tweaked and tailored specifically to their needs.
Furthermore, not only do we provide the tools and technology that powers referral marketing, we are also on hand to ensure our clients see the full potential of Harviist. Thus, on a monthly basis, depending on the client package, we are able to advise on the type of referral campaigns and offers best suited to the business and suggest the ideal creative direction for the brand to take.
The iGaming industry is quite a crowded market these days, how can Harviist help companies make their voices heard?
Harviist empowers the brand to engage and activate their customers to become ambassadors. They then incentivise this customer to spread word of mouth and reward their behaviour.
Referral marketing is of course there to grow the customer base, your customers are utilised as an acquisition tool. On the retention side, customers who are being recruited to become your brand ambassadors feel a stronger, more intense connection to your brand.
In a crowded landscape, such as that within iGaming, Harviist is there to give the companies a way to truly embrace player marketing, helping them to stand out from the crowd and offer something unique and of value to the player.
We’ll be attending SiGMA this year, if you’d like to set a meeting with any of our representative please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.