The Next 10 Years in Online Gaming
Article for the Final Print Edition of EGR Marketing Magazine
Toffos. The A-Team. Guns n’ Roses. Your first holiday romance with Katie from Reading who jilted you for that 17-year-old asshole guitar player from Dublin and broke your heart. And now to add to that long (and occasionally heart-rending) list of good things that came to an end - EGR Marketing’s print edition will be no more.
Presumably in response to the Extinction Rebellion, this magazine is shedding the restrictive red corduroy trousers of printed media and donning spangly silver hot pants to become an online and mobile only publication. As I struggled to conjure up a eulogy befitting of such an occasion, I thought it would be an opportune time to hypothesise on the influences that will likely shape the next decade in gaming marketing. Think of it like a hard copy prediction – a time capsule reminder of what’s possible or just a brain fart message on a printed page to reflect on and laugh at in the inevitably different future.
Despite the huge money involved and the new regulated markets available to operators, a cursory search pops up the same bog-standard casino image/ excited hot girl/ welcome bonus creative that sadly belittles our otherwise innovative little industry. For UK operators you have the best creative talent in the agency world on your doorstep and some pretty heavyweight design and marketing teams in house. So for god’s sake, set them free.
The Gambling Commission seems to have been pumping iron recently and has flexed its not inconsiderable guns in the form of huge fines for firms not playing by the rules. This is bad news for those involved but ultimately good news for the longevity of the industry and the rapid uptake of affiliate compliance software like Rightlander by 30+ operators is testament that solutions are now readily available. The sooner operators behave themselves in totality and collectively act in the most real interest of their customers (especially those at risk of developing a gaming problem) the sooner we’ll be free to market our wares under a clear and absolute set of guidelines, thus levelling the playing field. To get there sooner, its best not to rely on government bodies but to self-regulate.
‘When the fun stops, stop’ is a good start - but it’s only that. More effort is needed from everyone if we’re to avoid a Stasi-like mandate that blocks all the fun marketing channels entirely.
Gambling is still a dirty word around the University careers office. Sad, but true. For most of us, we like telling people what we do: - ‘I work in gambling’. It’s edgy, feels a little illicit. Vegas springs to mind. But for many talented young marketers wanting to explore a client-side career above agency life, gambling comes somewhere between the grubbier end of disruptive car insurance brands and payday loans in the dream career hierarchy. Add to that we’re still hugely underrepresented by female marketing professionals from graduate to C suite and you realise how much better we could be at doing what we do if we opened the doors, cleaned up our collective brand reputation and made gambling desirable.
This is gambling, right? Betting. For money. For adults over 18 years old. When I look at the average email, ad campaign or landing page what I see, for the most part, is lazy, recycled, ‘play it safe’ crap – so grow some fucking balls and have some fun with your marketing and advertising. The good news is that the creative and imagination bar is still set exceedingly low amongst mobile and online betting brands, so if you decide to make a run for the summit with engaging copy, stunning creative, a fully integrated channel spend sitting under a brave and exhilarating marketing strategy it really shouldn’t be that hard to shine.