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Offline Marketing and Online Gambling

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Offline Marketing and Online Gambling

The marketing methods utilized by early online gambling operators were acquisition focused.   There was little or no brand building.  They were marketing a commodity product with little differentiation.  The objective was return on investment and almost all activities were online.  Market domination was a case of who could drive the most traffic and offer the best promotional incentive to convert this traffic into real poker players.

     

Low barriers to entry caused the market to become saturated.  Too many online gambling operations were chasing too few customers.  The online customers pool became re-cycled traffic.  Online marketing response rates were declining.
      The regulators in the US, the world’s largest market, begun a series of measures to try and ban online gambling, US media companies were warned they might be ‘aiding and abetting’ an illegal pursuit by running ads by online gambling entities.  This resulted in a diminishing pool of promotional opportunities available to operators.  With a stale customer base and increasingly ineffective online marketing channels, operators had to find new customers and new ways of reaching them.
     The marketing methods utilized by early online gambling operators were acquisition focused.  There was little or no brand building.  They were marketing a commodity product with little differentiation.  The objective was return on investment and almost all activities were online.  Market domination was a case of who could drive the most traffic and offer the best promotional incentive to convert this traffic into real players.

      Low barriers to entry caused the market to become saturated.  Too many online gambling operations were chasing too few customers.  The online marketing response rates were declining.
      The regulators in the US, the world’s largest market, begun a series of measures to try and ban online gambling.  US media companies were warned they might be ‘aiding the abetting’  an illegal pursuit by running ads by online gambling entities.  This  resulted in a diminishing pool of promotional opportunities available to operators.With a stale customer base and increasingly ineffective online marketing channels, operators had to find new customers and new ways of reaching them.
     Some operators see traditional offline marketing channels as the way to bring online gambling into the mass market and realize its huge  potential.  However, there are considerable obstacles to deploying a conventional mix of offline marketing tools.  In most jurisdiction operators have to navigate non-extent or ill-defined legislation which can involve court cases.

      Reaches the world’s largest market is a particular challenge.  This has prompted some operators to find imaginative ways to circumvent the activities of law enforcement agencies.  Ads promoting teaching and play for fun have appeared on television.  Marketing stunts have been successful in getting attention.
      Legal issues, high value IPOs, and marketing stunts have received widespread  press coverage and generated a lot of ‘buzz’ around the online gambling industry.  The media is now receptive to the industry.  Recent programmes targeted at the mass market such as  CBS “60 minutes” in the US, have provided a platform for greater exposure of online gambling and the brands.
      Public relations provides an opportunity to not only build brand awareness but also gain acceptance of the industry among institutions and the public.  Unlike the anonymity of the early days, operators are willing to give interviews, provide industry commentary and act as industry figureheads.
      The televising of poker has proven to be ground breaking for online gambling.  Never before has gambling received so much television airtime.  ESPN’s World Series of Poker, and Bravos “Celebrity Poker Showdown” are just two examples of the proliferation of televised poker games sponsored by online poker operators.  This massive exposure has fuelled the growth of online poker often through word of mouth.

Industry Maturity

Consolidation, legal frame work in the UK, and acceptance by the financial institutions, notably the City of London, has demonstrated the maturing of the industry.  In some cases, market capitalization of online gambling companies now rivals that of major corporations.  This has set the scene for an environment in which the industry can thrive and gain greater acceptance in the mainstream.
      For the market leaders in today’s online gambling industry, brand is now as important as for any other major global e-commerce corporation.  A sophisticated marketing model is required demanding an understanding of the consumer, gaining their trust and building strong customer relationships.  It is a long-term view.  It builds a sustainable strategy.

      These operators understand that they have to build durable and sustainable brands with integrated mix of on and offline marketing components and develop sophisticated campaigns.  These encompass the whole marketing mix to include television, print billboards, sponsorships, and public relations to convey their message to a mass audience.  Online marketing has become one part of a larger picture.
      The marketing budgets required to run campaigns of this nature has raised the bar to market entry.  This is not to say that medium or smaller sized operations can no longer participate in this market, but they may not necessarily be able to compete at the highest level.

      Online casino operators also have to be mindful of the potential market entry by the land based operators.  While their earlier attempts at an online presence fizzled out, any move towards a legal frame work in the US could see a significant  re-entry of the powerful US land based brands.  By building strong brands themselves, the online casino operators can be ready for this eventuality.
      Another future pointer is the growth of other forms of interactive gambling.  In future it is possible more people will gamble on i-TV and mobile than on the Internet.  A mix of strategies and campaigns are required to reach these gamblers.

AUTHORS PROFILES

GILLIAN HATTON  is President of Cyber sensibilities, a company providing marketing and gaming services.  Co-ordinates:  ghatton@cybersensibilities.com; www.cybersensibilities.com

The Anatomy of a Successful Radio Ad Campaign

By Keith Brunson

Have you ever wondered how to execute a successful radio campaign?  Its an involved process that begins with simple direction.  Who are we as a company?  What do we want to say about ourselves?  Those kinds of questions, you as the client must come to the table with before you  make move number one.
      In the case of BOS dot net.  BOS were really were not sure at meeting one who they were, but they knew what they wanted – a campaign – not a one shot deal.  A campaign is a continuing saga of spots with all the same undertone.  Time was of the essence because Will Griffths, the company’s marketing director, already had radio placed on 357 U.S.  stations.  What he needed was content.

      Enter Ad Ventures Inc, a Texas company founded 14 years ago, that specializes in broadcast and online ad campaigns.  So as we set out to concept a campaign, we came up with “BOS misnomers”.  Things people think about poker, but are wrong.  There’s lot of room to play there, and for us is was a great playground.
      The three scripts drafted were all humorous because comedy loosens up even the tights of minds and lets the information through.  That’s why it used so frequently in commercial production.
      The campaign itself was pure edge.  The reason was to get attention.  It touched on the queen going through menopause, a young British woman with “a big pair” and a gay guy who loved the game.  In America, where the straight and narrow still reigns. Some do.  Some don’t.  It is up to the general manger of each station and if he thinks its too edgy, and create negative calls, he won’t run it.  It actually happened here ..in some cases.  Is this good?  Yes, because in other cases he would run other spots in the ensemble of spots we submitted and talk would be generated.  Remember, the best advertising is the stuff people talk about that they heard or saw.  That’s when you know you’re on to something.
      As to how you can create you won successful radio campaign, find yourself an ad agency or hire yourself a marketing director that can create in this audio-only medium and ask to hear their old work.  Ask for references and ask for a personal interview.  If all three go well, hire them.  If you see yourself as a straights forward company, let your commercials depict that.  If you find you want a monkey swinging off the top of the curtains to illustrate “we’re nuts when it comes to gambling”. do that.
      You as the CEO decide your image.  That’s where the anatomy starts.  The next thing to do is to decide the message you want.  With BOS, it was comedy in continuing saga.

     

Media buying is ultra important.  Since the audience that listens to news talk and sports is the same audience as the online gambler, it is only natural to produce radio for those formats specifically, and that’s what we did.  But the frequency is then what becomes vital.  Not to be confused with where the station is on the dial, “frequency” refers to the number of times the spot will be heard by the target listener.  In your case, if the frequency is NOT above 3.0 you will fail.  Fail, in that you will not be able to get to the audience enough to penetrate their mind.  To cure this problem, have your station lower their rates so you can reach that golden number.  Or you increase your budget to meet the 3.0 requirement of effective media buying.  You can have a great spot but if you don’t play the spot enough you will fail.
      Finally, the last part of your ad campaign is quantification.  How did it do?  Did it increase  business?  What are people saying about it?  Everyone should case study their campaign, but few do.  Why?  Time?  Staff?  Other priorities? 


      However BOS case studied this campaign and that’s the sign of a firm that has its eye on the pie in the sky.  If only we as advertisers knew what went right or wrong in our campaigns, we’d have far more success stories than failures.  The anatomy or makeup of a successful radio campaign can and will build your business.
      It’s very involved, but executed properly, you can see the hits on your site increase week after week.  And in the end, you can enjoy the advertising process.  After all, as Herb Kelleher the former founder of SW airlines said, “I think business should be fun.”  We agree.

 

 
 
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