• April 1, 2024
  • By Erik J. Martin, freelance writer and public relations expert

CRM in Gaming: Vertical Markets Spotlight

Article Featured Image

Gamers can be a tough bunch to serve, but their spending power is huge.

PwC expects total global revenue to grow from $227 billion in 2023 to $312 billion by 2027.

The bad news is that many gaming companies fall far short on customer experience. A recent study by conversational artificial intelligence provider Netomi found that just 53 percent of gaming companies globally provide an easily accessible email address; among them, 76 percent disregard straightforward customer emails requesting game recommendations. The average response time to customer service requests is 39 hours.

Experts agree that valid worries abound for companies in the gaming vertical.

“Gamers are a unique type of customer,” says Ryan Lipari, vice president of business development for technology and gaming at Alorica. “Their main objective is to keep playing games, and they want quick resolutions and easy access to customer support, especially through digital channels like chat, email, and social media. Hence, it’s critical to not only utilize their preferred communication channels but also to create content tailored specifically to players’ interests.”

Josh Baldwin, an account director at Flourish, notes that gamers are as involved and vocal as they come, very active in finding content and getting involved in discussions.

“Practically reaching gamers and the logistics of marketing to them isn’t hard. The challenge marketers continually face is authenticity and resonance,” Baldwin says. “Larger brands and publishers can often be seen as corporate, financially motivated, and untrustworthy. On the flip side, smaller niche brands don’t have the resources, reach, or pedigree that larger outfits have to launch authoritative promotions. Gamers want to invest time, money, and loyalty in a valuable experience but are tired of hype and empty promises. If you can’t communicate that subjective value or you misrepresent the offering, you’re in for a bad time.”

Another major marketing mountain to climb is oversaturation.

“So many different companies and their products today compete with each other for customers’ attention, trying to be their go-to choice of entertainment,” explains Dorota Wróbel, chief research and development officer at G2A.com, a digital entertainment marketplace.

Motti Colman, vice president of revenue and gaming at Optimove, says achieving true personalization amid escalating marketing fatigue remains particularly problematic.

“Excessive and irrelevant marketing messages risk overwhelming and alienating players, eroding their trust, loyalty, and business. Operators need to prioritize personalized and pertinent marketing communications,” he says.

Converting leads into paying customers can be tricky in the gaming industry, particularly with the rise of free-to-play models and microtransactions.

“Companies must find a balance between monetization strategies and providing value to players,” Baldwin says. “The sales model in gaming has become overly skewed toward microtransactions or launching unfinished games and then using patches or paid add-ons to fill gaps.”

Samantha Pang, vice president of customer success at Helpshift, zeroes in on these significant customer service challenges for the gaming industry:

  • Ensuring prompt responses to player queries to maintain gameplay momentum.
  • Handling a large influx of player inquiries, ranging from minor concerns like password resets to critical gameplay glitches and technical issues across multiple communication channels, including in-game, email, social media, forums, and more.
  • Offering multilingual support to a global player base, which can be financially demanding to provide in all native languages.
  • Managing and setting clear expectations for response times across all channels while prioritizing based on player lifetime value (LTV) and the nature of the issue.

“In the gaming industry, where interaction is critical, customer support needs to be adaptable, prompt, and well-versed in the game’s intricacies,” Pang says. “In free-to-play games, player spending varies, posing a challenge to offer consistent support to all users. Timely responses are crucial to re-engage players in this fiercely competitive environment. Slow customer service can lead to player abandonment.”

Recognizing the gravity of these problems is essential for succeeding and growing in the gaming space.

“Because the gaming industry has such an active community, leaving it unattended can result in major hits to a company’s reputation and sales results,” Wróbel cautions. “Remember, too, that markets have their specific quirks, and to address them a company has to apply a local approach to their specific core segments.”

Make no mistake: Customers in this sector can make or break reputations. Positive interactions can turn gamers into enthusiastic brand advocates and loyal supporters. Conversely, failing to address their needs or demonstrate proficiency in the game can hurt sales and tarnish a company’s image.

“Gamers want their needs resolved quickly so they can get back to playing the games,” Lipari suggests. “That’s the best way to keep your players happy and engaged.”

When players encounter obstacles, they are likely to switch to other games, and since user acquisition costs are high, customer retention initiatives are critical.

“Gaming companies can foster greater loyalty and boost player spending by ensuring players are satisfied with their support and receiving timely resolutions,” Pang recommends. “Understanding how to efficiently categorize issues based on type, urgency, and player characteristics like lifetime value spend and community involvement empowers companies to enhance the player experience and improve agent productivity.”


Contemporary CRM resources can serve as potent instruments for resolving these common pitfalls, providing a wide array of solutions custom-tailored to the gaming vertical.

“CRM can help gaming companies truly understand their customers, including their preferences, interests, and activities,” Lipari says. “Mining data like this in centralized platforms will enable brands to know exactly who they’re selling to, which kinds of games to develop, and which other complementary services to sell.”

Baldwin says the right CRM tools can help gaming companies do the following:

  • Centralize and segment player data, identifying lapsed players, promoters, or detractors.
  • Personalize marketing campaigns based on user cohorts, including free-to-play, single-player, and massively multiplayer online users.
  • Triage customer service actions and surface common fixes to be addressed in marketing communications.
  • Monitor forums to glean product and sales opportunities based on common requests and comments.
  • Use brand sentiment analysis to measure unknown issues or perceptual challenges that may hinder campaigns or sales.

For marketing, experts recommend popular platforms like HubSpot, Marketo, or Salesforce Marketing Cloud, which can assist with automating campaigns, analyzing player data, and tailoring communications.

For sales, Salesforce CRM, Microsoft Dynamics 365, SugarCRM, or Zoho CRM are top options that can be customized to track player interactions, segment by life cycle to measure progression and retention rates, and integrate with other departments.

Customer service management tools such as Zendesk, Freshdesk, Helpshift, or Help Scout, meanwhile, are also commonly mentioned by the pros.

Pang advises considering a CRM tool that seamlessly integrates with the games you produce, allowing players to access support without leaving the gaming environment.

“Next, evaluate the ease of setup, workflow organization capabilities, and the ability to personalize the player experience based on in-game profiles. Integration with other tools in your ecosystem is crucial for smooth operations,” Pang says. “Additionally, opt for a CRM solution that consolidates all communication channels, including chat, phone, email, and social media support, in one platform. This integration facilitates a comprehensive understanding of player interactions across various channels, enabling better-tailored responses.”

Colman’s ideal CRM marketing solution includes these capabilities to support operators at every stage of the process:

  • Advanced marketing tools that provide AI-driven insights for better player understanding, streamlining content creation, and campaign optimization across channels and player touchpoints.
  • Enriched customer profiles that unify all historical, predictive, and real-time customer data from sources such as service clouds and data warehouses to create a comprehensive single customer view.
  • Multichannel personalization that can orchestrate hundreds of campaigns by leveraging AI-mapped CRM journeys across channels.
  • A continuous optimization loop that leverages productized experimentation tools to measure the incremental uplift of each campaign, journey, and strategy.

Regardless of the CRM resource you select, remember to set realistic expectations and demonstrate patience throughout the journey.


“Understand that it’s an iterative process,” Pang says. “Expect to invest time and effort into retraining based on results. Be prepared to start small, define clear outcomes to measure, and decide next steps. Continuously monitor progress to identify areas for improvement.”

To get internal buy-in, it’s crucial to develop a compelling business proposal that links CRM adoption to measurable ROI metrics that align with business objectives, cost reduction, identified challenges, or opportunities for enhancement.

Remember, as well, that implementing a new CRM system requires effective change management.

“Anticipate a learning curve for staff as they adapt to new systems, requiring training and time for seamless integration, which will ultimately empower them to work more efficiently with a smaller team saving money, time, and resources,” Colman recommends.

In addition, “emphasize the reasons behind the switch to garner support and understanding from key stakeholders,” Pang continues.

Finally, be realistic about costs, recognizing that initial investments might be significant but lead to long-term benefits in customer retention and engagement. 

Erik J. Martin is a Chicago area-based freelance writer and public relations expert whose articles have been featured in AARP The MagazineReader’s DigestThe Costco Connection, and other publications. He often writes on topics related to real estate, business, technology, healthcare, insurance, and entertainment. He also publishes several blogs, including martinspiration.com and cineversegroup.com.

CRM Covers
for qualified subscribers
Subscribe Now Current Issue Past Issues
Buyer's Guide Companies Mentioned