Pivot Don’t Panic – what was discussed in our industry call?

On Monday 30th March, Lee-Ann Johnstone invited a host of iGaming and Digital marketing professionals to share how they feel we should move forward during these uncertain times. 

The key talking points centred around how digital and affiliate marketing is going to change  in light of COVID-19 pandemic and how affiliates and digital marketers will need to pivot their thinking and their strategy across all online channels.

On the call we welcomed a number of industry professionals ranging from business advise to digital and affiliate marketing and brand protection experts. Many of you had asked in the chat to get in contact with our experts and they have graciously agreed for us to post their information live on this site so that anyone who wants to get in touch – can do so directly.

Right now, we believe getting people connected and in contact is one of the best things we can do to help businesses grow during these uncertain times.

Martin Calvert – ICS-digital 

Martin is marketing director at ICS-digital, an international digital marketing and translations agency that specialises in iGaming. Working in over 71 languages and with services ranging from SEO and digital PR to content marketing and advertising, ICS-digital has over a decade of experience working directly with affiliates and operators to grow their revenues.

Van Chappell – BrandVerity 

Van is the EMEA General Manager for BrandVerity, a company which provides leading brands with tools to stop trademark violations and affiliate non-compliance.

Email: [email protected] 

Sarafina Wolde Gabriel – Income Access 

Sarafina has over 16 years of experience in digital marketing, with a specialty in affiliate marketing. She is currently Income Access’ Vice President of Strategy for Paysafe’s Income Access. 

Email: [email protected] 

Dawn Crossingham – D52 Limited 

Dawn is the Managing Director of D52 Limited. She created the D52 Business Toolkit to provide a range of support for established businesses and is an award winning business advisor as voted by Experian in 2018

Email: [email protected] 

Sharon McFarlane – Crystal Content 

Sharon is the Managing Director of Crystal Content, an award-winning content marketing agency. With over a decade of experience, they have been nominated for multiple awards. 

Email: [email protected]

Dean Seddon – Maverrik

Dean is the CEO of Maverrik and looks for ways to grow businesses and improve marketing for his clients. His business provides various training events, including business growth via LinkedIn. 

Email: [email protected]

Nick Garner – RIZE Digital 

Nick specialises in online casino and has a marketing background in SEO. He was the founder of a cryptocurrency casino which he sold last year and is currently working on another one as a start-up project. 

Email: [email protected] 

It’s going to be a long winter, which we’ll eventually come out of.

If you happen to be reading this from above the Arctic Circle, you’ll know just how testing the winter months can be. You’ll know about the sun not rising above the horizon for weeks, the ferocious blizzards slapping you in the face and that layer of ice on the ground which could lead to an unwanted ice skating session if you aren’t careful.

You’ll also know about how even during the darkest times, there’s often a glimpse of light. That could be either the few hours of twilight each day, or the Northern Lights. And then, on top of that, there’s the flipside of 24-hour daylight in the summer.

That’s what we’re going through now. In the words of Nick Garner, “it’s a long, dark, north of Sweden winter – but we’ll get used to it”.  

In periods like this, it’s good to be reminded that we actually deal with adversity every day. This just happens to be a tougher one than usual. And because there’s so much we’re unable to control right now, it’s easy to forget there’s still a lot that we can. 

Sarafina Wolde Gabriel pointed to the practical shutdown of affiliate marketing in the US, following the introduction of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in 2006. The industry found new markets to target and verticals to promote, which helped Europe to become the force in gambling that it is today. 

As Garner was also keen to point out, rough spells like this often precede great innovation and permanent societal change. So, while the situation may look bleak right now, we’ll come out of this stronger if we continue to adopt a forward-thinking mindset.

We are all looking for unique opportunities 

You might have seen people talk about individuals picking obscure leagues and amateur sports to bet on. 

From the operator’s perspective, MarathonBet’s Sam Behar says that… they aren’t. Players want La Liga, Serie A and the English Premier League. 

But they can’t have those right now, so what do you do? Look at other verticals which could interest your existing customer base. 

Poker is one area where opportunities could be found. As Lee-Ann Johnstone mentions, the mindset of a sports bettor and poker punter are similar. Behar expands on this – poker is like sports in the way that it’s skill-based, pre-existing knowledge is useful and it has highs and lows too. Comparatively, in his words: “who knows anything about the Belarussian Premier League?”. 

Social betting is also worth looking at, according to Facebook marketer Sarah Sangster. Even though people can’t interact with each other much in the real world right now, they still want to online. And they want to do so through activities that they normally do together. This is something that might well continue when the sporting calendar eventually comes back, too. 

Since not much action is going on right now, this is also a great time to engage with your existing audience. Across the world, many people are feeling the effects of cabin fever. They want to be entertained in some way, shape or form. 

Intelitics’ Allan Petrilli noticed an interesting rise in people interacting with players opening packs of sports cards within Facebook groups. This was a big thing on YouTube in the early to mid-2010s, with many gaming channels recording their pack openings on video games. It’s a unique way to interact with your audience and if you cure their boredom now, they may be more inclined to remember you later. 

Looking at the long-term game 

As many people on the call noted, this is our new reality for at least a while. Even when Covid-19 has slowed down and restrictions are lifted, life will not go back to normal straight away. Rather than looking at just the next three weeks – we should be looking to pivot for at least the next 12 months. 

Right now, it was agreed that many operators still haven’t come to terms with this new world they’ve been thrusted into. For these, they need to determine which level of ‘crisis thinking’ they’re at. And after doing this, it’s important to think about next steps – because it’s nearly impossible to think rationally when your mind isn’t clear. 

Another thing that needs to be remembered is this is the worst time for stupid marketing measures. We’re constantly under scrutiny as an industry in the best of times, so not adhering to calls against coronavirus-related advertising will do more harm than good. 

Once this has passed, some parts of life will change forever. We will, again, just have to get used to that. The best way we can pull through this is by providing value, as well as predicting what people will look for in advance. Neither iGaming nor affiliate marketing will go away and those who adjust will thrive in the future. 

In the end, we will look at this experience as a character-building one. 

Watch the full video below: 

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