Strategy

The 22 immutable laws of marketing for egaming

In the first of a monthly series of articles on marketing strategy, RIZE Digital founder Nick Garner takes us through the 22 laws of marketing

How universal rules can drive your marketing decisions.

You’re faced with a choice. Do you go ‘left’ or ‘right’? In fact, in marketing you’re faced with hundreds of decisions and any wrong turn at any point in your decision making process could destroy your marketing efforts.

With this kind of complexity, it’s very helpful to have a set of rules which you can trust. Imagine these rules acting like a compass to guide you through those ’left’ or ‘right’ decisions.

In this series I’ll be going through the 22 laws of marketing. I’ll give examples of strategic decisions based on each of these laws and how you can apply them within the igaming ecosystem.

The most important lessons.

Marketing is a battle of perceptions, not products or services

This sounds counterintuitive. Surely a better product will always win? Not necessarily. It turns out consumers take a holistic view when making a purchase decision. Bet365 casino is nothing special, yet it’s very popular. Why? Consumers aren’t buying into the best casino, they are buying into the best overall brand proposition. If you’re perceived as the best, consumers will believe you are the best.

It’s better to be first than it is to be better

When change happens, there is an opportunity to be the first in a marketplace. Once a business has established itself, it’s hard to win over their market share. Do you think a LeoVegas clone could win over a significant proportion of their customers? No. If you can get your footing in a marketplace and consolidate it, you build a ‘fortress’ that you can protect.

Create a category that you can be first in

Since it’s exponentially harder to win market share from an incumbent, it’s better to look at a market segment that’s emerging or has very little competition and considerable scope for enlargement.

If you don’t see a specific category you could compete in, then aim for a subcategory of a bigger marketplace. Category: sports betting. Dominant players…bet365. Subcategory: exchange betting. Dominant player: Betfair. Both do sports betting but within different subcategories.

Make sure that your category can be described very simply

Human memory relies on mental ‘hooks’. We all think in a categorised way. We think: casino, offline casino, online casino, regulated casino, grey market casino…

If you’re planning on launching within a new market category, make sure it’s easy for people to remember.

If you’re just another online casino, you’re in the same bucket as another 1,000 operators. Maybe your category is ‘no wager casino’? PlayOJO has done well in that new segment.

Beat the market winner not by being better, but by being different. 

Most people believe you should beat the market winner by having a better equivalent product. As I mentioned previously, marketing is a battle of perceptions. What consumers want to know is why they should make a choice between you and somebody else. That’s why being different is better than being ‘better’.  Offer an alternative, not more of the same.

Don’t extend your brand too far from its core identity. It just dilutes your brand equity

Consumers trust a brand for what it is excellent at. PokerStars dominates poker but can’t easily grab more market share. Instead it’s working laterally and has launched ‘BetStars’, a sportsbook offering.

Of course, PokerStars will cross-sell customers from poker to sportsbook, but it’s unlikely BetStars will ever become a dominant sportsbook. Why? Poker players probably don’t believe PokerStars can have the best sportsbook on the internet. Fortunately, with PokerStars, they understand the dangers of brand dilution which is why they haven’t launched ’betpokerstars’.

Study your customer, the markets and trends to find the proposition that works

We’ve all seen changes in technology triggering a gold rush. For those of you who have been around long enough you’ll remember 1999 and the.com bubble. You’ll also remember, between 1996 and 2002 was when most of the leading igaming brands were founded. These brands were the first big winners in igaming.

How many great igaming brands have emerged since the igaming market consolidated 10 years ago? I can’t think of any except one… LeoVegas. Why? Because it was the first winner in mobile egaming.

In the UK we’ve seen huge pressure around gambling legislation. As a result, there is change. The biggest new UK newcomer sells itself on ‘fair play’ and ‘no wagering requirements’; Playojo.com

In the forthcoming series of articles, I will explore many of these laws of marketing in far greater detail.

How this helps you? By having a set of simple marketing laws you can sense check your decisions against, you’ll make better marketing decisions.

Nick Garner, RIZE Digital

Nick Garner is an igaming specialist, marketing strategist and founder of RIZE Digital, an agency which specialises in web development for marketing applications. He writes prolifically and has worked within igaming for many years.

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