Serious CRM results from Web services games
XML, SOAP, UDDI and WSDL are not generally associated
with fun and games, but a Los Angeles-based company named YaYa has developed an
application that combines play and Web services with serious CRM results.
YaYa LLC (http://www.yaya.com) develops
Internet games used in marketing programs for everything from hamburgers to
SUVs. While consumers play YaYa games and try to collect points for prizes, they
also provide data for corporate CRM systems, said Keith Ferrazzi, CEO and
president of YaYa.
'It helps to fill the databases of CRM systems, which are the weak link in
most CRM systems,' he said. 'You have great applications. You have big
functionality. But you don't have a means of populating it with data. What we've
done is to combine two things to cure that problem. The interactive content of a
game is a great way to engage a potential consumer in a persistent relationship
and also extract data from them.'
YaYa has developed a Consumer Dialog Technology (CDT) platform with Web
services capabilities for game designers that allows them to create games that
capture data on a player's preferences for things like car models, according to
Ferrazzi. That information is then delivered to an auto manufacturers CRM
The initial data is gathered when the consumer registers to play a game and
has to provide the CRM basics such as name and address; as a player moves into
the gaming experience, even more information is provided to companies.
'We do a game that is a survey-type game,' Ferrazzi said, 'it's called
Personality Test. It profiles [a person's] personality based on answers given to
a series of questions. In that case, the CDT is actually gathering personal
profile information and delivering that back to the CRM database.'
This new generation of advertising technology, called AdverGames, can become
even more sophisticated in role-playing games where the model car a player
selects for their character provides auto dealers with information on which
vehicles they might want to buy in the future.
YaYa recently completed an application of its CDT system for DaimlerChrysler
that includes a Web services component for game developers.
'Chrysler wanted to test the viability of alternative marketing formats to
drive customer loyalty and vehicle sales,' Ferrazzi explained. Other
requirements were that customers would have to register only once to play a
variety of games, which would both increase customer satisfaction and avoid
duplication of CRM data from multiple registrations. The data gathered would
then be fed into the automaker's existing CRM system.
Chrysler wanted the gaming platform to be open to any game developer they wanted
to contract with, according to Kevin Rivard, vice president of technology at
YaYa. This is where the Web services component of the CDT Internet gaming
application came into play.
'This is a platform that can be used by third-party game developers who want
to service Chrysler,' he said. 'If Chrysler wants to contract with other game
developers, either now or in the future, this is an application suite that can
be used to facilitate that. It all ties together and will deliver information to
their CRM system.'
The CBT application uses a basic Web services architecture with SOAP, WSDL
and UDDI to allow contracting game developers to hook into the system YaYa has
already developed a way to keep the registration and data capture consistent,
'That allows a player to use one set of registration information across all
game experiences, including if they're non-YaYa games,' added Ferrazzi. 'Second
is a rewards/royalty service that allows players to earn and redeem points
across all game experiences.'
YaYa's CDT is Java-based, and uses Iona's Orbix E2A Web Services Integration
Platform and Oracle9i and 8i databases, Rivard said. The application for
Chrysler was developed over the past 10 months by 16 programs from both YaYa and
Deloitte Consulting, he explained. While the UDDI component is yet to be
implemented, noted Rivard, outside game developers contracting with Chyrsler
would be able to get an API from YaYa to use the platform.
'It's a very practical use of Web services,' added Ferrazzi. 'We expect this
to be a platform that many more game companies can use over
Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.