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ALEX Czajkowski is marketing director for Sportingbet PLC Americans Region, and manages the largest online sports book in the US, Sportsbook.com, and several other online sports books, casino and soft gaming brands.

Sportingbet PLC’s America Region continues to dominate the US sports betting world (we have more than twice the active players of our nearest competitor) in part due to the multi-brand, multi-product strategy that we’ve put to play in the US. If you only have one kind of customer, one brand may suffice. But the US is a huge market, you have to segment and target and brand appropriated to cost-effectively reach and keep players.
      Even when you have a massive US facing brand, such as our US flagship Sportsbook.com, it pays to continue to segment on a variety of factors, including regional. We’ve identified twenty key DMA (distinct marketing areas – like when you say New York City you really mean the five boroughs, and parts of Jersey and Long Island) where we focus our effort. Sure, we have plenty of national campaigns that reach the betting cold-sports, but when we look at local press, local out-of-home, we focus on the twenty. We determined those twenty through a combination of factors : existing customer base, propensity of that DMA to bet online (our prospects for growth), the number of professional sports represented in the area and the strength of their fan base.

      The obvious suspects quickly rise to the top: LA, NY, Boston, Chicago…If they ’ve had a team at the top of a professional league recently, you have to think about being there. Some of the middle grounds were surprising such as Baltimore or Denver. And some you’d assume to be in failed to make the cut:   Pittsburgh, St Louis and Kansas City for example. Not that we’re not there, in one way or another (hell after London, I am still a Pittsburgher and yes we won the Super Bowl and yes I backed ‘em, and if you want great BBQ in KC leave the Plaza in KC MO and head out to Johnson County for the Smokestack – local knowledge is key, you can’t sit on your ass in Costa Rica or Canada or the UK and pretend you get these guys, you have to go and drink local to have a clue).
      But understanding where our customers are is as important as understanding WHO they are. In part, because where you live makes a big difference to who you are in America. It’s a land of transplants, to be sure, where someone with an Atlanta IP address could well be the biggest Philly fan you’ve ever seen. But while they still support the Eagles, as they get closer to their new hometown, so too will their allegiance shift – even if only in their second and third favourite sports. The key thing is they love sports, they love to bet and they have the means to do so.

Our plans include continuing to go more local-both online and on the ground  - in key DMAs, while broader, national plays keep the entire market covered. But the depth, the emphasis, will be in those core target areas. And, alone among major US sports books, we have a variety of brands to meet the players ’ needs; cities love Sportsbook.com, Ohio and Teaxs like SportingbetUSA.com, west coast prefers aces.com and ex-urbanites (skewing  younger) off the exits of the freeways and by-ways throughout the exists the freeways and by-ways throughout the heartland like PlayersOnly.com.
      The key thing  is of course understanding and meeting their needs, giving them a localized, meaningful experience. It ain’t one size fits all – never has been in America. Never will be.

Martin lerby is the VP & Director of Ongame Network. His background in tourism where he set up a chain of hotels in the French Alps. Martin focused on IT in 2000 joining Spray / Lycos Europe as Product Manager. He has a degree ion finance and marketing from IHM Business School, Stockholm. He has been with Ongame since August 2004.

Regionalization of marketing is essential to the success of every iGaming operator, regardless of the size and scale  of their brand. The dream of being “The Nike of Online Gaming” is a noble one, but a single brand and promotional startegy for the global marketplace will never help you realize your sweet dreams of glory, growth and global success.
      There is no single global marketplace. Even in the age of post-internalization when all our products have been configured to support multiple languages and individual localization for specific markets, we must recognize that each of these markets, we must recognize that each of these markets are distinct in many different ways. It’s not just language that separates consumers in Germany from those in Mexico, Canada and Portugal; it’s culture as well. The promotions they find appealing, how they like to be spoken to, what their motivations are for playing games and even what graphical design approach will have the highest success rate for your business all vary in a linguistically-agnostic way.
      A mere text translation is insufficient. And tone of voice is very important. Comparing the advertising designs of our Chinese –facing poker operator with our Eastern European –facing operator and our American – and European –facing operators, the diversity of their creative is astonishing, particularly when cross-referenced by success factors. What works in one place is definitely not what works in another.

Even where language is common, such as between the US and the UK, or between California and Nebraska, the tools for initial customer attraction, hopeful conversion and long-term retention, are quite disparate. Regionalization – being relevant to consumers in their lives – is key.
      Many operators design broad media campaigns across online, print and broadcast channels, but also recognize ECRM (Electronic Customer Relationship Management ) as an invaluable tool for narrow casting, messages directly to their individual players. Unfortunately, they often neglect the intermediate space between the mass market message base and the point of a pyramid-shaped increasingly-personalized message.
      Market research and player data analysis help define both broad and narrow demographics for intelligent targeted advertising, but we often forget the importance of middle tiers could be based on any number of player sub-categorizations as defined by linguistic or geographic lines, gender, or actual player preference.
      A localized product offering is not simply a matter of providing customers with a product in their own language – something that’s becoming increasingly important and which On game Network has been focusing on. Context for marketing is essential in order for a product to relevancy to the consumer, not only for promotions but in how those promotions are communicated.
      Instead of just creating generic and specific messages, one –to-many and on-to-one, consider adding one-to-some campaigns to your regionalized media strategy. As always, test a variety of creative, measure your results and make adjustments as necessary in order to ensure you are maximizing the efficiency and ROI of your advertising budget.
      Also remember that regionalized marketing of localized products must mirror all aspects of your core marketing efforts, including local PR representation, search engine optimization, buying local media (online and offline), pushing your affiliate programs and extending services like payments and support to interface with local channels and customs.

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The Internet is a resource used by millions everyday, from all around the globe. The possibilities for Internet based businesses are boundless, but in order to tap into the full potential of this invaluable resource, you need to bridge the gaps created by language barriers, are cultural differences.

      Only 30.6% of internet users are English speaking, so without regionalizing and catering for other languages, companies are losing out on almost 70% of potential customers. In the Imaging industry especially, a quick translation of a website and /or  banner is unfortunately not good enough, and tracking your foreign language campaigns forms an integral part of the strategy.
      Translation, infrastructure, service and tracking are all pieces of the puzzle that need to be in place before marketing can take place. These factors need to blend perfectly before foreign language campaigns are even attempted. Customizing your brand image to suit the target environment is also not a bad idea. However, just putting a picture of the Eiffel Tower on your webpage, because you are marketing to France, won’t cut it, I’m afraid.

Translation needs to be done by a competent (preferably native) speaker of the language that you are targeting. They need to understand the product you are marketing, as well as the needs of the target market. Research is very important, as you need to identify opportunities, as well as obstacles before launching a campaign.
      Your infrastructure need to be in place and tested before taking on a new market. It’s no good trying to market your brand to Germany, if you can’t offer sufficient payment methods or local currency options. The  poker experience needs to be streamlined, convenient and comfortable for the end user.
      Service is probably the most important part of the whole project. You need to have customer care consultants who can service potential customers in their native tongue. This makes the experience more personal, are builds a trust between you and your customers. Your customers need to trust you, before they would even consider sending money blindly into cyberspace.
      Tracking your campaigns lets you know whether your efforts are successful, and where you need to concentrate your resources. By now it’s clear that advertising on the net is all about ROI, and that internet advertising campaigns can be tracked and analyzed to the nth degree. It you’re marketing internationally, you should make full use of the software available, and their capabilities, in order to minimize or even eliminate unnecessary costs.

      The online gaming phenomenon has exploded into a multi-billion dollar global industry, and more people are being introduced into the existing world of online betting every day. The Vegas Partner Lounge group are trying to make it as easy and convenient for players from all countries to participate in the fun. It’s a tiring and interesting journey, translating journey, translating your service seamlessly to cater for the global village, but judging by the growth of internet usage in other languages, it’s an exercise well worth the effort.

SECTION EDITOR:-  Oscar Nieboer – Oscar found his way to the gambling sector when he became head of the UK National Lottery advertising account. From Lottery to Gaming, Oscar joined MGM MIRAGE Online in 2000 as Vice President, Marketing. Following the launch and roll out of the business in the UK, Oscar left MGM Mirage to study for an MBA at London Business School which he completed in 2003. That same year he was asked by the Virgin Group to prepare a business plan for the online gaming  market and served as MD of Virgin’s new online gaming division until 2005. Oscar is currently working on a range of assignments in iGaming.