World Cup diary – Setting goals for BetRegal’s big event debut

BetRegal.com, a new sportsbook created to provide its customers with the “highest possible value” in prices, is pulling into the car park for this summer’s FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Ahead of the first game of football’s showpiece event, BetRegal Head of Marketing Aly Lalani addresses his nervousness ahead of the company’s most significant sporting event to date, the importance of establishing goals, and why everyone involved should enjoy the ride.

As I sit here and write this, we are literally hours away from kick off at the 2018 World Cup. Sure we have had a Champions League season, a couple of tennis majors and a full NBA playoffs, but this is the first real milestone event in the young life of BetRegal.com.

This is the first real large scale, global sporting event we have ever had and it would be an understatement to say that I am nervously anxious to see how it goes. Part of that nervousness is simply not knowing what to expect.

In all my past experiences with World Cups, it was a relatively straight forward process to forecast the expected volume and margin, as there was so much historical data to work with. Also having access to a full BI team of people much smarter than me doesn’t hurt. I’m sitting in a completely different seat this time around.

We are just at the point of beginning to understand what our customer looks like, never mind understanding their behaviours during an event of this magnitude. However, part of the fun and excitement of being a start up in a very top-heavy vertical is that we can be much more flexible in our assimilation of player data. We don’t yet have an extensive team of data scientists, but what we do have is a small group firmly committed to the journey ahead.

It’s learning as we go and making adjustments on the fly to take advantage of opportunities. Regardless of how unclear the path of the next four weeks may be, there needs to be some level of expectations set. I can’t go to my stakeholders saying I have no idea what to expect over the next month, no matter how true that may be.

Are expectations the same as goals? I mean we certainly have goals for the various marketing initiatives that we have undertaken for the World Cup. That’s a basic fundamental component of any marketing initiative, but I’m not sure if ‘goals’ and ‘expectations’ are synonymous. I think the biggest difference between the two is effort. Goals are something you work towards, while expectations are the belief that something will take place.

Almost by definition expectations rely on historical data, which we have already established is limited. So perhaps the best way to set and manage reasonable expectations for my stakeholders is to make sure that we have set responsible goals for ourselves (wait so does that mean they are synonymous in this instance?)

The first step in defining those goals was coming to a consensus around what metric(s) are most important to us right now, which one(s) are we most interested in influencing. It was quickly decided that ‘activity’ was the most important metric for us to try and influence.

Not necessarily worrying as much about wager size, or deposit amount. As important as those metrics are, they are not the primary focus at this stage. In an ideal world, we would already have enough wagering volume to really get aggressive with our World Cup pricing and try and differentiate ourselves that way (as I alluded to in a previous diary).

Instead, we have had to invoke more traditional marketing initiatives, like running acquisition-based affiliate contests, increasing our first deposit bonus significantly (grudgingly), and applying extremely targeted communication to our existing customer base.

All promotions were (and will be) created with the goal in mind of maximising the ‘betting activity’ at BetRegal.com during the World Cup. For example, we are running a contest with our existing user base that rewards them for wagering on multiple games in each round. We have made the minimum wager required to qualify intentionally low, instead trying to encourage to users to wager spread their wagering activity across more matches.

Another goal we have is an internal goal that I have set for myself. It’s going to be difficult to measure but I want our small BetRegal team to have fun with this whole experience. The World Cup is a special event; it invokes a passion from fans rarely seen on such a global stage. I want our guys to soak up that energy, and really see the game through the eyes of a fan.

I believe that can go a long way in spurring creativity, as we look to create customer communications and promotions. Beyond that, it’s a great way to build camaraderie and friendly competition within a relatively new team, and to remind ourselves how lucky we are to work in an industry where we have such a passionate and personal connection to the product.

Whenever I am asked what I do for a living, I often preface it with ‘I’m the luckiest guy in the world’. I want my team to feel that way too. I hope everyone reading this has a productive, profitable, and most importantly enjoyable 2018 World Cup… I expect it will be epic.

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