Having joined industry start-up Luckbox this April as first Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), former PokerStars executive Vadim Soloveychik has been tasked with delivering an effective and engaging esports-to-betting marketing strategy.
SBC gets the lowdown on why Soloveychik and Luckbox will seek to ‘flip the script’ on industry marketing values and legacy engagement practices.
SBC: As a new industry incumbent, what specifically do you feel the Luckbox team is trying to resolve with regards of esports betting?
Vadim Soloveychik: We believe that Luckbox will help esports fans wishing to spice up their engagement experience to enjoy a safe, secure and convenient betting environment.
Unlike many traditional sports, the esports industry is largely targeting people who enjoy playing the game they like watching. Among other differences, it means much closer interaction, a different tone of voice and a greater sense of community between the esports industry and its audience.
Sportsbetting majors who entered the industry do not necessarily understand that or, to be more precise, are not willing to understand that. The segment is simply too small and too different for them to really focus on.
On the other hand, many esports betting incumbents who understand gamers do not have good experience in providing a great gambling product with its safety, security, convenience and variety.
We, at Luckbox, love gaming ourselves and also know how to run a traditional gambling business. So, our aim is to adopt the best gambling practices and tailor them to esports fans’ needs.
SBC: In 2018 is ‘esports natural fit for betting’… or is this somewhat a false consensus? From your perspective what do stakeholders need to work on with regard to bridging esports play-to-betting dynamics?
VS: I think that betting is a natural fit for any competition and esports is not an exception to that. Of course, the attitude to betting is different in the UK and, let’s say, China but this is down to cultural differences and not esports per se.
In my opinion, esports can greatly benefit from betting as football, tennis and many other sports have. Betting may significantly contribute to the esports ecosystem, bringing more money to the industry and creating a better overall experience for fans.
The industry is in its infancy right now and it is still to be seen where it will evolve. In my opinion, in the near future, we will see industry consolidation with fewer but bigger global series and events. It will also be interesting to see whether the franchise model will succeed in North America.
Another interesting question is if and when esports will go mainstream and attract a non-gaming audience. Already now we see some attempts to design games specifically for esports rather than build esports on already successful games.
When it comes to betting, consolidation of the esports industry is the good thing. It will give more depth of betting experiences, as well as ensure fair play, which is essential to give people faith to bet on something.
SBC: As a seasoned industry marketer, do you feel that esports audience can be engaged with legacy betting functions (bonuses, CRM, loyalty points)?
VS: Yes absolutely! But such legacy betting functions should be tailored to esports fans’ needs. Most of them play the games they like watching, so we need to gamify our loyalty scheme.
Many of them value skins and other in-game items, so they should be able to get them on Luckbox as a bonus and so on and so forth.
The idea of getting rewards for loyalty and engagement is universal but, in order to appeal to gamers, the way its implemented should be different from typical sports betting loyalty and engagement programmes.
SBC: Joining a start-up’s leadership, how will you look to grow and define Luckbox’s marketing team. How will Luckbox marketing differ to industry standards and norms?
VS: The shape and the spirit of the Luckbox marketing team are defined by our value propositions. Unlike many gambling companies, we will put a lot of emphasis on the content and community, as opposed to performance marketing and advertising.
This doesn’t mean that we won’t have any focus on performance/call to action-led marketing, however, to build Luckbox brand awareness and consideration we will focus on building and engagement with gaming communities as well as producing valuable content for them.
First and foremost, we want to add value to gamers’ community and become part of it, rather than crack into them uninvited with advertising of our free bets, etc. To achieve that we need to have strong content marketing and community management teams in place who leave and breathe esports.
SBC: Finally, how do you feel Luckbox should shape ‘social responsibility’ between betting and a new vertical/audience of esports?
VS: Being compliant, regulated and socially responsible are among our core values. We believe that this is the area which can be significantly improved on existing esports betting scene. We aim to achieve this by being regulated by Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission – one of the strictest regulatory authorities in the world and by applying best-in-class practices existing within the traditional gambling industry.
Vadim Soloveychik – Chief Marketing Office – Luckbox