Not many people can claim to have an education in both computer science and psychology, followed by a successful career that appeals to these two wildly differing fields. Serkan Gecmen achieved just that.
Starting with a bachelor’s degree in software engineering at Orta Dogu Teknik University in Turkey, Gecmen moved on to psychology, economics and public administration classes at Anatolia University. Then he saw the challenge ahead of him: to determine a career-advancing route based on his unique education.
Gecmen knew his computer science background would lend itself nicely to a future in application development and architecture. But his psychology education pointed toward technology marketing. Bear in mind the era in which this happened—20 years ago, when technology comprised less than 5 percent of all traditional marketing and public relations. But Gecmen’s keen business instinct told him technology would be the wave of the future for all of the above. So he opted to utilize both his technical and marketing education.
Gecmen kicked off his career as a software developer, moving up in the ranks to become a lead architect. It was then, as his IT career was progressing steadily, that he was presented with an opportunity to use his technology background in a digital marketing position at Ameristar, a decision that had the biggest impact on his career to date.
As director of digital marketing, Gecmen was able to use his technology experience in a newly born marketing field where technology was the driver. As a result, he ended up being one of the leaders and influencers of technology’s role in today’s casino industry marketing intelligence.
Reflecting on his formative years, Gecmen says attention to detail was a main factor in his success in a rapidly changing industry. His interest in the human psyche, meanwhile, let him dive easily into information about what drives people—the very essence of successful marketing.
Given that today’s technology is used to create even more technology, Gecmen looks back with pride on his ability to keep up with that insane speed and the exponential growth that comes with it. Throughout his marketing career, he’s maintained his deep knowledge of light-speed evolving technology and IT, keeping him miles ahead of traditional marketers and other digital marketers.
Gecmen believes the changing gambler profile is driving many of today’s opportunities in the gaming industry. “As the buying power has been shifting to millennials, so have the target audiences for casinos,” he says. “The disinterest in traditional gambling of new, young customers creates many fun, opportunity-presenting challenges for young gaming professionals.”
The communication weaknesses that some young professionals share have not gone unnoticed by Gecmen, who identifies poor business writing ability, weak presentation skills and ineffective time management at the top of the list. In an effort to help them improve these seemingly simple skill sets, Gecmen personally coaches young professionals on a regular basis, offering helpful reading materials and his own expertise.
Ironically, he says technology is one of the main roadblocks to effective communications among young executives. “Technology has a negative impact on communication due to its warp speed,” he says. “I’ve seen many great ideas dissipate on account of miscommunication or poor presentation.”
As for the future of the industry, Gecmen eagerly anticipates the release of more skill-based games, which he believes will create a leap for casinos. And like the rest of the industry, he looks forward to seeing how online sports betting will impact casinos and the sports community.
Finally, he has his eye on data intelligence, saying, “I’m really curious about the adaptation of ‘big data,’ which is an old term today. I think the casinos are just getting to a place where they have collected enough data to come up with really cutting-edge stuff.”