The iGaming Super Show 2015 was a hit and everyone I spoke to during and after the event said they had a great time.
I think in order to come home with a solid review of a conference there are three elements that need to take place on the ground: 1)you do some business, 2)you learn something new and 3)its fun.
Without a doubt the Super Show hit points 1 and 3 and for those who attended the sessions, its likely number 2 was hit as well. When there are so many gaming conferences to choose from, its important for organizers to try and hit all three of these boxes, something I think iGaming Business did well this year.
After spending an intense four days reporting from the Super Show, two days at Gaming in Holland and two days at the RAI, I would like to share my top six takeaways from the experience.
Nice weather equals nice conference
It sounds simple, but its true. Everything could go wrong at a conference, but if the weather is nice, delegates will still go home with a decent memory of the experience. Unfortunately weather is an element the organizer cannot completely control, but they can choose a location where the likelihood of nice weather is high. Amsterdam in late June is good example of this.
The expo hall was in a different part of the RAI this year and featured an outdoor networking area and beach bar just steps outside the front entrance – delegates loved it. Yes, people hanging around outside rather than inside the expo hall may make the event look less busy, but if people are enjoying themselves in the sun they will most likely remember the event fondly.
Movement of focus from regulated US market to Asian market
For the first time in two to three years I didn’t notice any sessions or much talk about opportunities in the regulated US market. I think this is because not much is really happening in this market apart from the explosion in Fantasy Sports, something we already heard a lot about at iGaming North America and GiGse.
This year at the Super Show there were at least two well-attended sessions dedicated to the Asian market, something new for a predominantly Euro-focused event.
Patrick Jay, formerly of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, delivered a fantastic presentation highlighting the sheer size and opportunity within Asia and revealing complex corporate structures of the iGaming giants already operating there. David Jung, MD of Hero Poker, discussed the intricacies of dealing with Asian partners, something every Western iGaming company must master if they want even a small piece of their foot in the door.
eSports the next big thing?
While the phenomenon has been around for some time, eSports have finally earned their right as a standalone topic on our conference agendas.
The eSports craze has been dominant in Asian countries such as Korea for quite some time now and with the rise of video platform Twitch, the popularity and following of eSports is building momentum around the globe.
There are several betting companies offering live odds on various eSports events at present and experts such as Super Show speaker Peter Warman of Newzoo believe there is a huge opportunity for iGaming companies in eSports. In addition to the huge following, what’s so appealing about this sector is that it engages the younger generation, an area of challenge for many traditional gambling companies.
Its all about entertainment and sharing with others
The idea of entertainment isn’t anything new to our industry, but the discussion around how to provide entertainment to our customers as opposed to simply winning money has certainly increased. For example, at the Gaming in Holland mobile panel Johan Styren of LeoVegas said people are using their mobile phones mostly for entertainment, therefore providing entertainment to their customers is what LeoVegas will focus on.
At the iGaming Executive Summit, Technology Theorist Tom Chatfield said people choose to inject satisfaction, pleasure and entertainment into their lives and if you want to get people excited and involved, you need to make sure they feel what they are doing is appreciated by others. He advised the iGaming industry must think of new ways to build ambient social experiences into digital offerings.
Be picky with notifications
One of my favorite speakers at the iGaming Super Show was Minter Dial of the Myndset Company, chair and keynote speaker at the Player Acquisition Strategies conference.
Dial presented a number of tips and tricks for CMOs and other marketing executives including how to engage employees in brand advocacy, to consider customer service as “the new marketing” and keeping customer satisfaction at the center of the C-suite, but I enjoyed one tip in particular- be picky with notifications.
Dial said to get on top of notifications coming through on your mobile device and to be careful about the notifications dropping into your life randomly. Know who those five people are who are important enough to interrupt you and allow them notifications…turn the rest off. “Make friends” with your notification center, otherwise you could be missing out on what’s going on around you in the real world.
Importance of brand advocacy
How to utilize affiliates, customers and even employees as brand advocates were topics discussed throughout the Super Show this year.
Emma Loveday presented at the AAC and she emphasized the power of using affiliates as brand advocates, but advised operators to take the responsibility of educating these affiliates on what their brand stands for and why the operator is doing what they are doing. She also pointed out “word of mouth” recommendations are much more powerful than advertisements, so ensuring customers have a good experience is now more important than ever, especially with the rise of social media.
Dial said employees can serve as outstanding brand advocates of their own company, especially seeing as they all have wide circles via social media. What’s important here is to be sure the organization’s brand values are communicated properly internally and the company’s leaders are modelling these values in their actions and behaviors, otherwise the wrong brand values will be communicated externally.