Mr Green Head of Sportsbook Enda Gaffney, a key speaker in the opening ‘Leaders in Betting’ session at last week’s Betting on Sports conference, spoke to SBC News to recap the discussion and highlight the launch of the company’s new sportsbook offering which has just gone live in the UK & Ireland.
SBC: In this world of algorithms and automation, where is the human touch best utilised in the process?
EG: It’s about where you create a better experience for the customer? Knowing and understanding all the customer touchpoints in your product and in your marketing. Lots of opportunities are available, be it what you present on your homepage to how you do cross sell. Strategizing and figuring that out is where the human touch is best utilised.
SBC: What is the future for the role of a sports trader or are they becoming obsolete?
EG: This largely depends on the strategy of the business but for most I do see it as a role that will evolve over time. I believe it will move more to being a data scientist – customer profiling, extracting insights and so on.
SBC: Is the marketing department, the finance department or someone else the enemy of a sportsbook?
EG: No. Becoming a successful Sportsbook involves many factors, one of the most important is how effectively you work with other departments in your organisation – be it Marketing, Finance, Tech or BI. You need to help them understand the opportunity and how they can each add value to the Sportsbook and ultimately the overall Sportsbook revenues.
SBC: What are the factors that make you decide it’s time for a new product?
EG: The primary factor is about by being very close to and understanding your customer – what does existing data tell you about your customers, what insight can you apply to justify the creation of new product features, what trends are emerging elsewhere in other online industries. Overall how can you add value for the customer.
SBC: How do you weigh up the cost against the benefits of a new product?
EG: With my Mr Green team, we will do a SWOT analysis of every new product idea. Then if we still like it, I will move forward by doing a mini-business case for management where I crunch down the numbers, establish KPI’s, set timelines for delivery and achieving ROI.
SBC: Anything new in the pipeline?
EG: We’ve just launched phase 1 of our new Sportsbook offering. It’s what we believe to be a new and improved experience in the marketplace. There’s two key elements to it. Firstly, we’ve set out to increase engagement for the customer by now displaying snippets of content throughout our product. These snippets which we call ‘Bet Assists’ are provided to us by Bettorlogic and we showcase over 15,000 of them per week across both Football and Tennis.
The second element of our new Sportsbook 2.0 is about looking to add entertainment for our customer – so we’ve set out to create new Experiences around betting on Football and Tennis. Partnering with the development team at Bettorlogic we’ve created Football Combi Spin which has a Slots type feel to it. We’ve also built in-house a new feature called Instant Tennis which is about betting on next point. A mobile first experience, it’s already proving very popular with our players.
SBC: Is the sportsbetting industry in danger of becoming too generic and not enough differential between different companies? and if so what can we do to change that?
EG: Most definitely and I believe we already see that in some places particularly with the UX of the major sportsbook operators. Having just launched over 1 year ago, Mr Green Sportsbook is still a baby but I’m determined that we’re going to grow up to be different in the marketplace.
Central to that is taking a customer first and a data driven approach. Working with our great in-house UX team, we will deliver a best in class product experience, and our Marketing will be about being super relevant to the player. The Mr Green brand is about entertainment and we’re going to ensure that it is represented in our Sportsbook offering.
SBC: What is your priority in running a sportsbook? The customers, profitability, innovation, your team.
EG: Customers…it’s easy to say but everything should be about the customer. They will give you so much feedback that if you listen to it and act upon it then you will be successful. Customer feedback can be found everywhere from CS emails to Google Analytics data. In our office, we sit right beside our Customer Service team!
Equally important to Customers is our own Sportsbook Team – they are the ones who drive the Sportsbook business forward every day, by working closely with external suppliers and internal teams such as Marketing, Customer Service, BI and Tech. A customer-first mentality and a great Sportsbook team, get them two right and then profitability and innovation will follow.
SBC: Is the sportsbook related know-how and innovation moving over to PR-odds and the marketing surrounding it?
EG: There will always be room for product innovation – it’s the lifeblood of any online industry in 2017. There’s also room for PR-odds but the key is to be tactical with what you go after. Less is more.