Guest Blog: Connecting with consumers, by Chris Graham of WeLoveBetting

Guest Blog: Connecting with consumers, by Chris Graham of WeLoveBetting

Friday, February 27, 2015 Totally Gaming

As someone who has always been passionate about sports betting projecting a positive, aspirational feel to younger people it was nice to be asked to share my thoughts on TotallyGaming.com, writes Chris Graham.

There’s no doubt the attitude of gambling has softened in the UK over the last decade. But is that down to the industry’s methods, or sheer visibility in high streets and ad breaks? Probably a bit of both. There’s still work to be done though, and the day I feel comfortable proudly announcing on a first date what industry I work in will be the day the summit of the mountain has been reached.

In terms of engaging with young consumers in 2015, where does the industry stand? Well, when you see the rise of twenty-somethings placing a bet every Saturday it’s hard to grumble. Betting companies have always been tech-savvy, and riding on the wave of the explosion of football and live TV sport, it’s become a hugely lucrative industry.

What I’m passionate about is connecting with consumers and making them believe in a brand. Most betting firms fail at this in my opinion. You only need to watch the risible patronising gimmick-laden TV adverts to grasp that.

The increasingly-relevant social media has become their voice and while some like Paddy Power and Coral have crafted a strong personality and identity, others just don’t get it. Some emails I receive from betting companies are like bank statements. Dull, to the point and dry. This is the entertainment industry isn’t it?!

Betting companies need to think more like pubs. They are a place where people want to visit to make their day better. They want warmth, they want positivity and they want it to be an easy experience. At the moment, some bookmakers still resemble a library. We need to hear more what they stand for, their relationship with customers and the more human side to their brand.

One of the key problems that the industry hasn’t tackled is the lack of distinctiveness between each brand. Paddy Power have been the absolute masters of this, and their huge success owes more to their outstanding marketing tone rather than any huge marketing spend.

In the post-Big Brother world of the 21st century, where social media plays a huge part, everyone’s a celebrity now. Everyone has a voice and everyone demands to be heard. Personalisation, not just on a user experience level but through communication should be a key ingredient of any bookmaker service. Data should be treated like gold-dust when categorising customers and using that to engender a stronger bond.

I started my time in the industry behind a smoky betting shop counter, before working in the marketing teams of Ladbrokes and Sportingbet. Now, alongside some consultancy work, I’ve got my own vehicle in the shape of WeLoveBetting.co.uk.

At WeLoveBetting we preview betting events. Some would say we’re simply a tipster site. We say we’re much more than that. Stats, data, interaction and a huge dollop of personality are at the heart of what we do.

My WeLoveBetting partner Mark O’Haire and I strive to break down barriers and build up personality. Our event previews are well-researched, laden with information and written in a very personal tone.

We produce weekly video content that’s not two-men-in-suits-behind-a-desk but rather two mates in a pub talking about their best bets. Authenticity is key, and after launching in September we’ve already built up a strong social media following.

As the industry matures and punters become more savvy, a more intellectual approach to betting will be sought after. People want to hear informed choices with backed-up opinions. This is something we’re aware of.

In conclusion, the betting industry’s relationship with young people is a strong one, but as players become more educated via stats and analysis it will be imperative for them to offer a more enlivening representation of their brand. Spare me Robbie Savage and rubbish TV ads and feed me an image I can impress a girl on a first date with.

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