by Mateusz Mazur

“Having a team that’s fully engaged has been crucial to our success to date”

We sit down with Sarah Curran, Head of Marketing at eCOGRA, to explore her innovative approach to crafting tailored marketing strategies in the dynamic world of iGaming.

How do you approach developing and executing marketing strategies specifically tailored for the iGaming industry?

First and foremost, it’s about the customer. You begin by asking what kind of relationship you want to have with them. How do you want them to feel when they think of your brand? What problem are you solving for them and what makes your service or product different your competitors? Once you have the answers to these fundamental questions everything else can flow from there.

Knowing your industry comes next. The more knowledge you have about the challenges that your customers face on a daily basis, the more you can anticipate their needs and what they’re looking for from their product or service. Being an expert in your industry means that you know where your customers are and this informs the channels you can use to communicate with them.
At eCOGRA we work in the B2B side of the iGaming industry, so our clients are primarily operators and software developers.

The cornerstone of our marketing strategy is our breadth of expertise in Testing, Inspection and Certification services. With our in-depth knowledge of jurisdictional regulatory requirements across the globe we can anticipate our clients’ needs sometimes before they do.

With your experience in building brands from the inside out, what are the key elements for creating a strong and engaging brand in the iGaming sector?

At eCOGRA we are extremely lucky as the company was founded as a non-profit 20 years ago, at a time when the industry was largely unregulated, on the pillars of Player Protection, Fair Gaming, and Responsible Conduct. Over the years we added Regulatory Compliance and these pillars form the foundation of everything we do and very much guide our corporate strategy.

We also believe very strongly that our people are our brand. They are the face of the company that our clients engage with, the voice of experience that find the solutions and the beating heart of the organisation. We aim to add value wherever we can, which we do through our content marketing strategy positioning eCOGRA as thought leaders and an educational resource within the industry.

It is this authenticity, value offering and dedication of our team which has contributed to the strength of our brand within the iGaming sector.

How do you involve and engage internal teams at eCOGRA to create brand advocates, and why is this important in the iGaming industry?

I think the mistake that a lot of organisations make is that they view the company and the people who work for it as separate entities. At eCOGRA, our CEO Shaun McCallaghan is very vocal that our people are our greatest asset. He really believes in our team and uplifts them at all opportunities, both externally and internally through things like his open-door policy, passion for training and development, career pathing, and his willingness to give people opportunities to step up and take on new responsibilities.

When you have that sort of leadership and approach from the top down you begin to understand that the people ARE the brand and when our internal teams engage with eCOGRA publicly they’re really advocating for each other. Having a team that’s fully engaged has been crucial to our success to date.

Can you share insights on how to effectively distil and communicate the ‘WHY’ of a brand’s messaging in the context of iGaming?

There’s no shortcut to this one. I strongly believe that as a marketer it is our responsibility, not just to be experts in the field of marketing but to be an expert in your product or service and industry, or at least our niche within the industry. A good marketer should know their business inside and out.

I’ve always found that there’s a tipping point, a moment of clarity that comes when you ‘get’ the brand where you understand enough about our approach, our services, our jurisdictions, our people, our processes to ‘get’ why we do this and what separates us from the competition. The challenge is then to articulate this in a succinct way that resonates with the customer, and this really is a distillation process, one of continual refinement until you’ve reached the right message.

How has your background in Visual Communications influenced your approach to marketing in the iGaming industry?

My studies in Visual Communications have been a key component of my own personal career success to date. The Limerick School of Art and Design has one of Europe’s most highly regarded Visual Communications courses and as part of my honour’s degree, I studied the history of graphic design, visual story-telling, branding, layout and typography, hierarchy of information, all of which gave me an excellent understanding of how to create a dynamic and well-crafted brand. I was lucky enough in my early career to develop these skills while learning from some incredibly innovative, creative marketers who taught me the value of balancing commercial targets with a strong aesthetic.

This led me to further my studies in business development and training, which gave me a more rounded perspective on how branding and marketing interlace with other departments and wider business objectives. I would highly recommend all marketers to seek out some experience in graphic design and vice versa. Aside from learning a new skill, it is also an opportunity to consider aspects of your own role from a different viewpoint which is always valuable.

How do you measure and analyze the return on investment for your marketing campaigns in the iGaming sector?

Where possible we use analytics to track metrics such as website traffic, engagement time, form submissions etc but we also take a very considered view of our activity as a whole to see if there are wider trends or seasonal aspects which come into play, for example regulatory deadlines in certain jurisdictions.

When trying a new activity, we will generally start small and test different options until we find a formula that delivers and then we scale up. This ensures a strong return on investment. We also liaise closely with other departments such as sales and delivery for feedback on conversions and client satisfaction, which gives us valuable insight on active campaigns.

Based on your experience and current trends, what future directions do you see iGaming marketing taking, and how is eCOGRA preparing for these changes?

There’s a lot of talk of AI and its potential applications for marketing. Having personally used a couple of AI tools, I believe they can help streamline processes and provide a starting point for certain content pieces, however human resources are and always will be vitally important and, in my view, irreplaceable.

For our brand within the iGaming industry, authenticity and consistency are key to the success of our company. By this I mean staying true to our brand values and ensuring that every marketing activity we coordinate aligns with our overall marketing strategy. For a brand experience to feel truly authentic, everything from tone of voice to the creative to the messaging must be consistent with the brand guidelines. The iGaming industry is evolving rapidly with new jurisdictions legalising and introducing regulations at pace and so it’s important for us to anticipate clients’ needs and roadmaps and market to these accordingly.

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