World Cup diary – Breaking the ICE on BetRegal’s plans for Russia, a new sportsbook created to provide its customers with the “highest possible value” in prices, is on the road to Russia for this summer’s FIFA World Cup.

In the first diary of this new World Cup series, Aly Lalani is talking about the importance of trade shows for a start-up company, as the industry’s annual London meetup draws closer.

Whereas last year was all about ironing out integration issues with EveryMatrix and discussing design ideas with Vegas Kings, this time BetRegal will be attending ICE and the London Affiliate Conference (LAC) as a live and fully functional brand for the very first time.

Given that the major BetRegal stakeholders all live in different countries with different time zones, the week is not just an important opportunity to touch base with existing clients and prospective customers, it also represents a great time for us to meet up as a team.

Part of my time in the UK capital will be spent reviewing the past four or five months of operation, not necessarily at a granular numerical level, but more around some of the lessons learned we touched on in the final diary of the last series.

A larger part will be focused on confirming strategic goals, agreeing on a list of priorities to help us achieve these goals, and staying off the booze at a multitude of parties (honestly).

Of course, many of these strategic goals will be centred around the World Cup in Russia. This will include the implementation of a product that can help us to manage customer communication, and the segmentation of our higher value players through a VIP platform. Building on the exclusivity and aspiration of the ‘Regal’ branding to introduce ‘Royalty points’ would be a nice touch, right?

Meanwhile, a specific priority of mine is to find a solution which allows us to create and automate our CRM communication based on the actions (or inactions) of a particular customer. We all know personalization is key in customer communication. Rather than build a platform internally, I’m sure we can find a product ‘off the shelf’ to bolt onto our database.

I’ll admit that I’ve walked past tons of this type of company in previous visits to ICE, but this time it will be different. My plan is to go up to each and say “Hi, I’m Aly from BetRegal. We’re a new brand that has a couple of thousand players, what can you do for us?”

Now, if three action-packed days at ICE isn’t enough, mustering up the energy for LAC is going to be vital for our 2018 plans. Up until now, affiliates have been the only thing we have focused on from an acquisition perspective, by leveraging the services of TAG Media.

We will meet up with TAG, the driver of our affiliate program pretty much since the inception of the brand, to discuss putting meetings in place for the “general maintenance” of our existing network, and a strategy to recruit more affiliates for the brand.

While the big boys may walk around the ExCeL scooping up affiliates irrespective of player profile, we have to stay focused on becoming a differential in the market.

Previously, I have always had an Affiliate Manager responsible for managing my LAC presence, so I’m looking forward to getting my hands dirty this time around. However, I still plan to spend a good part of the time in quiet observation mode.

My expectation is that will develop a presence at affiliate conferences in 2019, so this year I want to pay particular attention to what other brands are doing.

What is working well? What is not working well? What makes a brand stand out in this cluttered community? Which brand is succeeding at driving engagement, and why? All of this research will help to define how we will present at future events.

The key for both events is to maximise the opportunity presented, not to pre-plan all of my time, and walk around as a new brand with my eyes wide open.

See you all in London.

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