SBC Leader Profile – Marion Gamel – Betsson Group: Navigating a multi-brand approach

Marion Gamel

SBC latest leader profile speaks to Betsson Group Chief Marketing Officer Marion Gamel, regarding leading her company’s ambitious international multi-brand marketing strategy.

A former Google Europe executive, who has consulted multiple leading enterprises on international advertising, Gamel details to SBC readers the changing values in industry marketing as operators seek deeper intelligence gained through better data process and analysis. 


SBC: Hi Marion and thanks for this interview…You have the unenviable task of growing 27 Betsson Group brands internationally. As a Chief Marketing Officer how have you approached this hard challenge?  

Marion Gamel: A multi-brand approach offers a lot of advantages if you do it cleverly. Having a central marketing team who is brand-agnostic and who focuses on economies of scale and sharing best practices across brands and countries is the way to continuously expand the Betsson Group portfolio, efficiency and reach without increasing our marketing headcount and budget by the same ratio. My previous experience working across many markets at Eventbrite and many products at Google comes in handy!

SBC: With regards to Betsson international goals,how do you create an aligned and balanced strategy for all Betsson assets?  

MG: Each brand of the group has its own offering, audience, positioning and strategy, and specific user acquisition goals. We use a ratio of about 70/30: Whereas 70% of what is done on a brand or country level comes from a playbook of tried and tested best practices, and 30% is about brand specific activities, or market-specific media mixes.

Our various brands don’t need to be “aligned” as you mentioned, they all have strong personalities and exist independently of each other, it’s our deployment that needs to be efficient.

SBC: Entering 2016, we have seen betting industry leadership place a higher emphasis on building intelligence and data processes. From your previous leadership roles at EventBrite and Google, what should this entail for our sector?

MG: The betting industry, or at least Betsson Group, is not following but rather leading the way when it comes to making the most of its Big Data lake and customer intelligence. The challenges faced by our business, be it regular e-commerce challenges, or regional regulations, or compliance rules etc. make our business extremely reliant on best practices when it comes to understanding our potential and our existing users. Segmenting, predicting lifetime value based on early behaviour, attribution modelling, personalisation… these are some of our focuses that are enabled by impeccable Big Data, Analytics and Intelligence practices.

SBC: In a saturated market-place where consumers are inundated with competitor choice, what core values do operator marketing teams have to develop and maintain?

MG: It’s true that in our industry, like in many others, a lot of operators tend to shout about the same thing, so they try to shout louder by increasing media spend and bonus offers, this turns into a cacophony and a lot of confusion for the end user. I think that what makes a difference in the end is two folds: (1) the brand with its unique tone of voice, the experience and environment it offers, the level of engagement it demonstrates via social media as well as the content it publishes, and (2) innovation translating into engaging products, exciting new features, delightful new functionalities, wider choices, personalisation… But I honestly think that when facing a very competitive environment, although the marketing function is important, only a cross-functional collaboration can help you stay on top….therefore nothing can lag behind.

SBC: Finally and most importantly is there a fear that betting/igaming marketing is becoming tedious and boring? How should marketing leadership challenge this industry condition?

MG: In my view, there is no risk of online betting and gambling becoming boring. For a start, the very fact of betting or gambling is instantly exciting, so from a user point of view, boredom level is low. It’s like saying that bungee jumping becomes tedious! No it does not. Maybe after a while, you get less of an adrenaline rush, but you will still have that great feeling every time you jump!

From an operator’s point of view, this is one of the most competitive environments which means that all operators are kept on their toes and must continuously innovate at a very fast pace.

I think that the role of marketing is first and foremost to understand what the user wants, and anticipate what he will find appealing in the future based on societal and broad digital trend watching. This information is used to challenge the status quo on a daily basis about the way we communicate with users, what message and offerings we put in front of them, as well as to help the product team innovate and delight, based on eye-opening data. This is the ultimate digital environment, everything needs to be permanently re-assessed and enhanced:  Payment methods, mobile offering, CRM, site flow, log in experiences, user engagement, product adoption, churn rate… I can’t speak for the whole industry, but believe me, at Betsson Group, we’re not getting bored!

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