SiGMA meets Mikael Gummerus, Frosmo CEO
Can you tell us a bit more about your working background? How long have you been in this industry?
My first proper job after night shift gigs at local gas station was in a SaaS eLearning company. I was their first sales guy working in close operation with the development team. That was very valuable work experience where I learned a lot about customer oriented software development and about conversion optimization as our website was very valuable sales channel.
After couple of years there I moved onto Fremantle Media which is part of Bertelsmann, one of the world’s largest media companies. My responsibilities included producing and selling TV-shows like the Apprentice and Idols. I worked closely with the broadcaster’s web team in order to gear our company towards the digital world. The web started to become more and more important channel to tie viewers to our products.
At that job I finally had the courage to become an entrepreneur and founded my first company which was casual browser-based online gaming and MMO gaming. I learned so much about conversion optimization and results-based development. I’m still the chairman of the board of Dodreams and currently the company is developing casual mobile games. At this company I came up with an idea of Frosmo.
We know that you have been an entrepreneur for a while, first creating a gaming company, producing games, then Frosmo. Originally Frosmo was a gaming platform, helping game makers. That concept appears to have widened, and nowadays the term ‘Customer experience software’ is used. Can you explain in more detail?
The idea of Frosmo was originally to help game developers get more revenue from their games. Developers added their game to Frosmo and we then recommended them based on what we understood about the gamers. Eventually we realised that this kind of statistic based iterative conversion optimization will spread to all websites. We decided that we will start offering Frosmo’s solution to all eCommerce sites. Currently our customers include airlines, travel, retail, banking and gaming industries.
Given your office base and background, is Frosmo predominantly strong in Finland? Scandinavia? Europe? Rest of world? What are the short, medium and long term projections?
Frosmo has a very strong presence in Finland and in other Nordic countries. Our customers are nearly all biggest companies who sell to consumers more than one product online – Veikkaus, RAY, Finnair, Eventim just to mention a few (see more at http://frosmo.com/en/our-customers). As eCommerce will be the biggest sales channel for all companies in all industries, Frosmo has an unique and strong position to grow into a very big company.
We started to expand last year to UK, France and Spain and we have excellent customers from all these markets and they are growing rapidly. We have just opened in Germany and we will continue expanding our market share with key focus in Europe for 2014 and 2015. We already have some clients in Asia and we will later expand Frosmo to global market.
ABOUT THE INDUSTRY
In the world of remote gaming, there is increasing talk of localisation. How important is this to optimize player conversion? What are the lessons you learnt about creating competitive advantage?
When you optimize your service to fit particular users’ interests and needs, it is bound to maximize your conversion. Naturally, when a remote gaming service is localized for a certain market it becomes more accessible for users, closer to their expectations and what they are used to. You can’t just release something on a “one size fits all” principle and hope that it will stick. Not anymore, not in this day and age when users expect you to cater to their whims. You get profits from this afterall.
However, localisation is just one of the many steps on the road to creating competitive advantage. And even that should be tested and checked if it brings positive results to your business’ bottom line. There is no point in doing something, because everyone else is doing it. In conversion optimization it is crucial to test everything.
From your experience with Frosmo, how does the remote gaming industry compare with other industries?
Naturally all industries have some differences, but at the general level we have discovered that within all our customer industries we can share learned lessons and the problems we are helping to solve are very similar. Usually they are related to the fact that the eCommerce platforms – in this case gaming platforms – are not flexible enough to allow iterative development process.
Malta is very strong in remote gaming, with close to 300 companies based in Malta. The country is also creating the right environment to attract digital games companies to its shores. What is the difference between the digital games industry and remote gaming industry?
Digital games industry covers a broad perspective of entertainment: from children games to hard core role playing games. We see that remote gaming is one part of digital games industry with it’s own approach to entertainment. Within remote gaming there are also different genres and niches. The key difference is business model. Best learned lessons will spread within both industries and gaming as entertainment will continue to evolve and dominate the entertainment industry.
It is very competitive out there. Best practices are copied immediately. How important is personalisation to retain a competitive advantage?
The key thing is to never stop continuous improving using iterative testing process tied together with longer perspective strategy. That will be the only way to keep your players returning and happy and to grow your business from there.
ABOUT THE PRODUCT
Is Frosmo a software? What is the technical risk of implementing your product on a site? Does Frosmo’s approach into content apply to any kind of content or is it applicable to gaming only?
Frosmo is a cloud based SaaS – software as a service. Our customers are companies that sell products to consumers online. They use Frosmo to increase sales conversions. In addition to our software we offer complete service with implementation, ideas and reporting. There’s no technical risk implementing Frosmo to our customer’s website. We have been audited at the highest banking level security standards even.
What makes Frosmo unique and can you tell us a bit about your typical client?
Frosmo’s uniqueness comes from our core philosophy: versatility combined with transparency. We don’t know any other solution on the market that combines so many different conversion optimization features into one solution, thus allowing us to show brutally transparently what works and what doesn’t. There hasn’t been any single technical challenge we haven’t been able to solve for our customers. In addition, as a software company we provide full in-house service for our customers – which is very rare.
Our typical client is in a situation where their team responsible for the business side of the service feels that they cannot really do any improvements to their site. The gaming platform is too inflexible, the IT department is crowded with projects or outsourced. They feel that they are blindly driving a car and they can’t break, turn or accelerate. Frosmo removes the blindfold and gives power to the operative team. Upper management is happy as they can monitor results, the IT team is happy as they can concentrate on the development roadmap and customers are happy as the service improves.
Is experimentation and testing risky? Important? Also, are the suggestions made by Frosmo as simple as, for instance, changing the colour of a button? Or is your support more complex?
The iterative experimentation and testing with results tracking related to conversion optimization is the single most important thing to focus on. That’s your everyday business which will help the company to make long-term decisions related for example to branding or new platform features. The risks are controllable as tests can be isolated to only certain kind of users.
The tests vary from simple things like changing the colour of a button to complex dynamic tests like pre-setting bets according to users preferences or basing recommendations on the local weather conditions.
What are the differences and similarities between targeted ads, using cookies to localise the most relevant customers, and Frosmo? A lot of tools seem to be readily accessible out there, no? Feel free to go technical.
There are lot of tools available at the market for advertising and targeting advertising. Frosmo’s idea is that when you do conversion optimization at your site it should work hand-in-hand with your advertising. That’s why we can feed the segmentation data you collect at your site to your advertising solution. We have integrated Frosmo to all major ad-servers like Google, DoubleClick, Emediate and Adtech.
In practice it means that you create targeting rules using Frosmo at your site and then target the users you want where you want. The key difference is that whatever you learn about your users at your site you can utilize in advertising and measure the impact. Naturally you can use this data also in email campaigns, SMS campaigns and push the information to your CRM.
What does the future hold for Frosmo? What are the next projects? Anything you can divulge?
Frosmo’s software is developing very fast. We release new features at least every month. The next exciting features we are about to release are sales and trend forecasts. These features will help our customers to make decisions to which kind of users they should use how much resources. It will help to identify hidden revenue potentials.
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