Entering 2018, industry full-service marketing agency Digital Fuel has launched a new marketing platform for the online gambling sector, developed to be compliant of forthcoming regulations set by the European Community’s ‘General Data Protection Regulation’ (GDPR).
Toby Oddy Founder & CEO of Digital Fuel, details why he has placed data compliance at the forefront of his agency, and how GDPR will impact industry marketing practices and relationships between acquisition stakeholders.
SBC: Hi Toby great to catch up. From concept to launch, can you detail to SBC readers Digital Fuel’s development of a GDPR Compliant industry-specific marketing platform?
Toby Oddy: Our platform is really borne out of a wider customer acquisition requirement. Our team are constantly looking to find new ways to engage relevant audiences and optimise the conversion flows to maximise marketing budgets. One area that we believed could be significantly improved within our sector was the end to end capture and optimisation of user data in the traditional Lead Generation model. The 2018 GDPR, and associated compliance requirements came as a timely coincidence to a project that Digital Fuel had already identified as an opportunity for our clients. Ensuring best practice across the board was always going to happen, we now just have an updated set of requirements within which we can work.
SBC: As an industry veteran how will GDPR demands change industry marketing and player acquisition. Where do you feel stakeholders are currently blindsided?
TO: The GDPR has already improved how the industry considers and works with marketing partners across all gaming verticals. We are still a couple of months from the enforcement of the regulations but we have seen some really positive steps taken by operators to clean up their marketing activities whether that be internal or via affiliates – putting a real focus on the consumer and their needs. Given the hype both within our sector and the wider digital community over the last year, there is certainly no reason for any operator to be caught short when it comes to setting up their marketing workflows to cater for the changes.
SBC: GDPR comes as industry marketing teams face added pressure to be more socially responsible? In terms of player acquisition, what do you define as responsible framework for all stakeholders?
TO: From our perspective, the framework is fairly simple – Consumer ownership. At every point in the journey, the user is one click or call away from understanding what data is being held, why that is the case and how they can change that situation if required. Operators and marketing partners, be that agencies or affiliates, need to be transparent within their own relationships and work closer to make sure that the end user is in control. I believe that as an industry (on the whole) there has always been a desire and willingness to meet social responsibility requirements and it is a shame that often the whole iGaming sector gets tarnished by the actions of a minority of rogue operations looking for a quick win.
SBC: Do you worry that the demands of GDPR and Social Responsibility will enclose operator marketing functions away from outside parties (agencies, affiliates and media partners)?
TO: Absolutely not. Affiliates and agencies that embrace the GDPR and show a commitment to social responsibility will flourish. Affiliate operations will continue to develop ground breaking products and provide an independent voice that consumers want and need – removing your brand from legitimate affiliate partners would be extremely short-sighted. From an agency perspective, we can speak first-hand knowledge that there is such a wealth of knowledge within them.
Agency staff should have a skill set that is constantly developing through campaigns run both within and outside of the industry. Understanding how best to develop and optimise under a new regulatory framework may be possible within some of the biggest operators with big resource and even bigger budgets but for the majority, tapping into partners that already have experience will continue to be important.
SBC: Finally, as a sector marketing stakeholder, what debate and context do you feel should be fully debated and examined in 2018?
TO: Acquisition bonuses. We have heard people talk of the race to the bottom for years now yet things haven’t really changed. The welcome bonus is such a key part of the armoury when it comes to competing on the acquisition front. We see time and time again, operators entering with a product led strategy, ultimately getting sucked into a promo focus to meet ambitious acquisition targets. A framework for fair, sustainable and responsible bonuses needs to be seriously discussed. I think as marketers, we all want to focus on brand and product to differentiate and this is what the user is ultimately searching for.
Toby Oddy – Founder & CEO – Digital Fuel