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Business Unusual

2020. Day X. It’s business unusual as lockdown continues and we all observe social distancing measures. Yes, this has interrupted brands’ activities the world over, but we’re quickly learning and adapting to keep business going in the ‘new normal’.

While everything is in flux and changing each day, here’s a few areas where iGaming marketers need to shift their focus.

Your heroes First things first, it looks like we’re in this for the long haul, and it’s possible that waves of infection could keep this new reality in place for many months. Bear in mind that you might go through a period where a large proportion of your workforce are off sick, so plan ahead to weather difficult times, prepare to operate at 60-70% capacity, and take care of your staff, keeping them up to date with fluctuating workloads.

Most importantly, reward them for their hard work, and beyond the statutory support, if your staff get sick, a basket of fruit isn’t too much to show you care. We’re all in this together. Advertising The way you advertise online to players has shifted balance, and the story has changed. Your old strategy for 2020 is in the trash, so review all your online ad banners and content themes to make sure they echo the current situation. Be careful not to play on lockdown themes, as your brand may come across as opportunistic and lacking empathy.

Furthermore, compliance with shifting regulatory environments during COVID-19 will keep you busy, both with your advertising teams, and your affiliates. In Spain, for example, two new laws prohibit the advertising of online gambling services during the pandemic to protect players from problem gambling while stuck at home. Be prepared for similar proactive requirements from other regulatory jurisdictions - now is the time to develop clear and consistent messaging for affiliates and ensure removal of any non-compliant promotional content from their traffic-driving sites. As with any Spanish-facing sites, operators may need to replace any bonus ads and other non-compliant messaging, perhaps with responsible gambling information to stay on the right side of the conversation. You want to be praised for your actions, not vilified. Affiliate marketing Keeping in touch with your affiliates will pay dividends right now, and may avoid regulatory problems, as mentioned. Brands that add more juice to their affiliate activities will stand out from the crowd during a busy period. Player traffic and new sign ups are busier than normal while the world is in lockdown, so your affiliate network is crucial at the moment. Consider how you can cut through the noise. Create more unique content that affiliates will appreciate, giving them better assets to drive traffic in your direction - videos, artwork, anything that is different to what everyone else is doing. The players will be drawn to it, and the affiliates will thank you. B2B Communications B2B communications also need an alternative approach. You don’t need to add yet another CoronaVirus update to your audience’s inbox. Everybody on this blue planet knows what’s going on right now. Everybody. But it’s wise to have a page available on your website that gives more information about any differences to your services during the pandemic. Moreover, your comms activities need to go into overdrive while all global events are postponed for the foreseeable future. Get your teams together and be creative, innovative, original. Re-evaluate the channels you use for B2B comms, and consider new technologies emerging in the global consciousness. Many events companies are rapidly deploying digital or virtual offerings, so you need to evaluate these opportunities, in terms of cost, time, and reach. Some may succeed admirably, while others may sink for bad planning and logistics. Most of all, be agile, keep the conversation going with Zoom or similar, and come out the other end of this with new ways to connect with your B2B audience. New verticals (and fast-changing regulations) As the industry experiences a major shake-up, one vertical that has undeniably suffered is sports betting - there’s just no sporting events, anywhere. Ten years ago that would be that - game over. But advances in iGaming technologies have brought us ready made solutions in the eSports and virtual sports space. While not quite a replacement for IRL sporting events, these innovative sporting sectors now have an opportunity to show what they’re made of. Virtual sports, from brands like Magellan Robotech, offer an out of the box solution that’s all software-based and randomly pre-determined, and it’s already gained popularity in the last year. But as with any new vertical, it requires trust and buy-in from the players, so with a shift in your sports-related focus, keep players informed with details that deliver transparency. In the eSports vertical, while it’s an exciting genre that’s grown quickly in recent years, the sector is currently reliant on human participants competing online in self-isolation protocols. Checks and balances are less available. As such, marketers should pay attention to regulatory issues with eSports, and be careful not to jump in without provably fair oversight to third party eSports activities. If your players get burned, then so do you. Finally... Consider how everything might change in the future. The way we interact with each other will have been substantially transformed, maybe forever. There will be new patterns in our lives. New forms of online pastimes with friends and connections - video groups, virtual gatherings, board games played countries apart over Zoom, creative lockdown TikToks tapping into the millennial psyche, shared humour generally, and the list goes on. Opportunities abound for brands to move with the times, and although we may not be able to predict what we’ll go back to when this crisis levels out, we should pay attention to emerging trends and new cultures, understand our audience needs and behaviour, and evolve with the changing times. Innovate. Adapt. Learn. Don’t just survive, improve. Embrace the new normal, and everything will be OK.

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