The Millionaires Club – BetVictor’s marketing gold
The Millionaires Club – BetVictor’s marketing gold
Bearing in mind the marketing and promotion blitz that surrounded the recent European Championships, it was all the more impressive that BetVictor achieved significant cut-through with its Million Pound Goal promotion. It was a simple idea: for the price of a £5 bet during the competition competitors got the chance to predict the identity and time of the first goalscorer in the final and a shot at winning £1m.
What the company couldn’t have predicted, though, was the publicity they would gain when it emerged the ultimate winner, a kitchen fitter from Birmingham, couldn’t be found, prompting a #MissingMillionaire campaign and acres of publicity when he eventually claimed his prize. TotallyGaming.com talks to Shane Stafford, head of brand and creative at BetVictor, about the MPG and BetVictor’s other recent marketing innovations about how the company is managing to punch above its weight in a highly competitive market.
Totally Gaming: Can you explain the thinking behind the Million Pound Goal?
Shane Stafford: It’s like any intuitive idea - it needs to be so simple that when you tell someone about it they say ‘why didn't I think of that’. Instead of pushing offers on match or player specific, we decided to give it away in one offering. By simply placing a five-pound bet you would get a prediction and a chance at winning £1m. It was about changing one customer’s life forever. That turned out harder than expected when we couldn’t reach the winner Daman Chick for the first couple of days. He was on holidays with his family and had turned off his phone. When we finally got in contact it took a while to convince him we weren't playing a prank. It was a very effective campaign to cut above the noise in terms of all the promotions and offers.
TG: Do you think online sports-betting/football betting marketing generally is somewhat stale today?
SS: In relation to advertising I would say they all mimic the same tone. Remove the brand stamp at the end of the ad and you would be hard pressed to identify the brand. In relation to acquisition, it’s a fight to offer the best value. In doing so customers cannot see the wood for the trees. Standing out can be a difficult task, customers are regularly faced with flashy TV adverts and in-your face campaigns and we are awash with mirroring offers that compete to bring in first time depositors.
Moving away from the ‘norm’ can be very challenging, as you have to convince and change your ethos both internally and market facing. When an industry flourishes moving in one direction, it can be difficult to justify diverting from their path. BetVictor’s shift away from its competitors came from a decision that louder is not necessarily better - instead we opted to move away from an irreverent marketing strategy and get back to basics. While we need these offerings I think The Million Pound Goal was a change-maker in how to acquire and retain customers, coupled with strong product offerings and our simple as ethos, why would you go anywhere else?
TG: Does BetVictor believe that innovative marketing is a way of challenging the larger, newly merged or soon-to-merge sports-betting giants?
SS: I don't think of it as innovative marketing. We are using the same tools to get our message out there, it’s just how we say it is different. We are simply letting people know this is what we offer and the benefits of using our product. We focus on what really matters to the customer; the bet. Improving the betting moment by removing the clutter from both the product and value messaging has helped us to differentiate ourselves from our competitors. Establishing that clear and distinct identity is the key to standing out, something I think has been lost in the marketplace for the last number of years. The merging of competitors in my view is a positive for companies like us as merging companies tend to stagnate while getting process and reporting structures in place, giving us prime opportunity to get our brand and product offering out with little or no opposition.
TG: Do you think the established sports-betting markets need more innovative products, not just marketing? Which direction do you think the sector will be heading in the years to come?
SS: Yes. I think as an industry we need to produce more innovative products. The problem is the process of innovation is a messy and chaotic one which can sometimes lead to failure; because of this most companies stay away from risk. In actuality, they only want the end result. As an industry we need to accept that failure is part of the process and we need to factor it into future strategies.
I think personalising the experience for customers will be key. Adapting to the customer’s behaviour, taking the footwork out of engaging with the product will be the focus in the next few years. In-house development is crucial to this success.
TG: Can you go into what future plans BetVictor has in terms on innovative marketing and product?
SS: Our end of 2016/17 plan is simple. We will focus on letting people know the benefits of our product and offerings in a clear, straightforward way. Our updated ‘simple as’ campaign will start soon, in our next wave of communication. They highlight the benefits of our product offering and infuse our brand identity for stronger recognition. This coupled with our partnership with Liverpool FC and British Horseracing Authority means we are in a good position to push brand recognition for the next few years. Our sponsorship of the Gold Cup in November (at Cheltenham) will also be our first push back into racing this season - one I’m personally looking forward to.