GPWA Times Magazine - Issue 48 - December 2020

community, they have to engage in a race to attract more players by incorporating more sophisticated methods and focusing on their customers more than any competitor. FOSTERING A SENSE OF BELONGING At school, we were taught that one nuclear reaction could cause a series of these and lead to an explosion (thanks to the “Cher- nobyl” TV series for reminding us how this works). The point is, one action can cause a chain reaction. This is precisely the goal of affiliate networks — creating a chain of customers attached to their business. It is, however, essential to remember that the number of customers does not guarantee customer loyalty. Businesses that find the right balance by personalizing their marketing methods, creating a positive brand experience, offering excellent customer service and reliable options on their plate are the ones that will come out victorious from this belongingness deficit. What truly matters is keeping your community engaged and cultivating a stable, long-term relationship. Think about it: if you earn the trust of players by featuring reliable and reputable brands on your website, your players will keep depositing on the same platform or, when bored, move onto another option from your list of brands. For you (and your income), as an affiliate network, it’s a win-win situation. A sense of belonging is an inherent, universal human desire. However, in the race of creating our communities, let’s not forget that even though people are striving to be part of a community, they still want to be recognized for their individuality. our surroundings. Trouble is, that even though, as humans, we all share the need to belong or be affiliated with a community, we are also carriers of a particular identity, which is way more complicated than an affiliate network can sometimes imagine. Human identity comprises various elements such as age, gender, religion, and ethnicity. And this is where it gets com- plex. In today’s data-driven world, affiliates tend to abruptly categorize people into clusters, and create a target audience based on limited data around age or sex to create a profile that seemingly matches their business goals. The problem with this approach is that it fails to recognize the complexity of human identity by only measuring their belonging to a particular “type of people.” The new technological era is gradually shifting away from long-established distinctions. People are increasingly living multidimensional lifestyles, mixing and matching the outdated labels, and adopting a more fluid self-definition. And while this can cause difficulties to affiliate networks and call for a more personalized approach, it also becomes an opportunity to belong to global and virtual communities, which are not restricted by borders. Another problem that sometimes results in the inability of companies to make customers feel like they belong is that they are increasingly trying to appeal to a broader audience and often ignore the population cluster with a niche. It is crucial for affiliate networks to provide options to the players who don’t fit into the rule of thumb model predetermined in their brand strategy. Finally, the abundance of choice people are experiencing today can also lead to a belonging deficit. People can get overwhelmed by the multiple communities that have been forming online, which results in them not having the time or the willingness to form a bond with a specific brand. Today, we have more freedom to choose whom we affiliate with. For the affiliate networks to succeed in creating their own Maria Tsnompilantze is a Content Manager for PlayAttack Affiliates, an affiliate program behind six reputable gambling brands. Maria has been in the industry for the past two years after completing her International Relations studies and her Master’s Degree in Journalism. For more information on PlayAttack visit: OF BELONGING 47 G P W A t i m e s . o r g