Former Pinnacle Marketing Director Aly Lalani is one of the key drivers behind BetRegal.com, a new sportsbook created to provide its customers with the “highest possible value” in prices. In the sixth diary of this series, Lalani is reflecting on the lessons learned from 2017, as the company looks ahead to its first full year with a live product.
It’s fair to say that we’ve had some challenges to deal with, particularly those documented in the diary titled ‘Moving past some of the early frustrations’. However, we’re getting in the Christmas spirit by ditching the ‘Naughty’ and focusing on the ‘Nice’, as BetRegal readies itself for a fruitful 2018.
The biggest thing we’ve learned over the past year is that what we are trying to accomplish is actually achievable. You have no idea how gratifying (maybe the word is relieving) it is to be able to make that statement. Building a reputable igaming brand in such a competitive industry is very much achievable.
Of course we still have a million miles to go to really be considered a major player in this space, but in the span of about 18 months we went from a back-of-the-napkin idea to having a functional gaming product in place that is already servicing almost 3,000 customers.
Beyond the feasibility of the entire endeavour, the most important thing I learned, especially through the periods of frustration, was the importance of retaining the support of investors. It is always encouraging to hear that we are singing from the same hymn sheet in terms of long term vision and goals. It’s always ‘sunshine and lollipops’ when strategic goals are initially defined, but when the frustrating times hit, it’s easy for investors (especially ones who are not operationally involved) to get cold feet and look to change the plan.
We have not had that problem. Our long term vision for BetRegal.com has remained unified, and our strategic goals for this year have remained consistent. Absolute ROI efficiency has not been the primary focus. Launching a functional product, brand building and generating the initial buzz have been our focus for 2017.
The best way to retain this investor support is through clear communication, and by seeking investor input in the businesses key decisions. It can be a fine line, but having the input and sign off of these key stakeholders is vital, and helps go a long way in managing expectations.
“If we do X, the benefit will be Y but the compromise will be Z” sounds like a simple conversation, but trust me it isn’t. A good example of this was our decision to choose the iframe solution from EveryMatrix, rather than building our own sportsbetting interface. The understanding was there that while this would ‘handcuff’ us in terms of the flexibility to make change, it would satisfy our desire to get to market quickly.
This decision was also evidence of our next key learning, namely that there are so many, paths to take between the starting point of an endeavour, and the desired end goal. Each has their own efficiencies and inefficiencies, and you need to be flexible in your approach. From product selection to front end appearance to sponsorship, affiliate strategies, promotional strategies, pricing and customer support. There is no fundamentally right or wrong way of doing things, just different paths to navigate in the direction of the end goal.
We were forced to reign in expectations over early marketing spend because of some fundamental UX issues, but we have since been ramping this up through our successful relationship with TAG Media. Using affiliates to get more eyeballs on the brand will inevitably be a key part of our World Cup strategy, it’s just a case of how aggressive we will be in this area. This is something that will be clearly defined within the next few weeks.
While some operators may lead you to believe otherwise, next year is not just about the World Cup. Our recent success in pricing the ATP World Tour Finals at 98% was indicative of our ongoing multi-sport approach. Pricing that tournament so aggressively had a very positive return in terms of player acquisition from our key odds comparison affiliates.
As we build our player base and betting volume, we will continue to be aggressive in our pricing strategy across all sports. Just seeing the BetRegal.com brand as best price on a couple of the larger odds comparison sites was extremely gratifying.
Yes, the World Cup is going to be huge in 2018, and we will endeavour to provide the best possible value in terms of pricing and promotions to both our existing and potential new customers. We’re all extremely excited to get on the road to Russia, but 2018 is so much bigger than that for BetRegal.
Happy holidays from BetRegal.