“I love to work. If you love what you do, you don’t work a day in your life”, was one of the first things Scott Dodson, Hero Gaming’s newly appointed CMO, shared with me during our post-iGaming NEXT POWER Hour fireside chat interview.
Dodson’s outlook on professional life is contagious as is his enthusiasm in general, exactly what you would expect from a seasoned CMO. What is especially interesting about Dodson’s background though, a topic we covered during the POWER Hour fireside chat itself, is his deep experience with tech start-ups and his ability to marry marketing and a knowledge of technology.
This unique skillset is surly one of the many attributes Hero Gaming saw in Dodson, resulting in his onboarding with the company in April, 2020.
“For me, what drives the quality of my work life is the quality of the people that you get to work with, if you’re solving problems with really great people. I just hit it off extremely well with the executive team and they were just fabulous and everybody else that I met kept taking it to another level”, Dodson said of Hero Gaming.
To make matters even more interesting, Dodson joined Hero Gaming during a time of lockdown due to COVID, so the entire onboarding process for himself and his 17-person marketing team was 100% remote. Dodson noted that working remotely is easy for colleagues who already know each other from numerous in-person encounters, however working with new people through video chat alone can present some challenges.
“When you’re now suddenly meeting new people and trying to make sure that what you’re saying is actually landing in the right way and understanding the nuances of what they are saying and you’re working off of a post-card size video, I found it absolutely exhausting”, Dodson shared.
“All these things that your brain takes for granted are suddenly having to work overtime to make sure that the communications happen”, he said.
Despite the initial COVID-induced challenges, Dodson described his move from a start-up background to an established iGaming company as a smooth one.
“I think it would be very hard to go from a corporate environment to an iGaming culture. But start-ups, I guess we’re close cousins, I think, to the iGaming industry. We’re both used to moving pretty fast, breaking things and trying things…culturally we really come from the same family tree”, he said.
Even though Dodson has worked with numerous tech start-ups and studied engineering at Carnegie Melon way back when, he considers himself a “marketing guy at heart”. He revealed how much he enjoys motivating people to do things such as sign up or make a first-time deposit because his company’s product or service is bringing value.
“I think actually it’s a travesty that people that are in marketing don’t have a stronger relationship with the other parts of the business. I think developers in some cases rightfully mistrust marketing and its one of the things that I think I can bring to the table which is just to be able to have an affinity to developers”, Dodson said.
“I’ve been there, I can speak their language, I know what its like, I understand product and all that. I don’t think about it as I have responsibilities as a CMO, but it’s a team effort and if I can help commercial win, I don’t really care about my KPIs if the business is crushing it”, he added.
While joining a company during COVID posed it challenges for Dodson, it also poses opportunities for Hero Gaming and iGaming in general, especially from a technology and innovation point of view.
“Its kind of one of these interesting things where sometimes a shift in one direction actually creates a positive force in the other”, he said.
“So if you think about what’s really doing well in COVID, its live gaming. If COVID’s taught us one thing, its that hey, we’re all human beings and connections to other human beings matter and sharing things”, Dodson pointed out.
“I think there’s opportunity for innovation in the iGaming space around sharing and participating together in this kind of an activity…my favorite form of gambling is craps because it’s a very social game and I think this is an area on the game side where iGaming could actually do a better job of letting people play together”, he added.
Another area of innovation for the gambling industry, especially on the land-based side, comes in the form of cashless payments and payments is an area that iGaming, according to Dodson, has notoriously excelled in.
“It took a while to get the touch payment systems on your credit cards, but now how cool is that, when you just touch your card. I certainly think there’s a lot of work that needs to be done, design work around the UX of that in a gambling environment, so you can really have a lot of control over how you’re betting”, he explained.
“I think its something that the land based casino industry can probably learn from the iGaming industry because I bet we will actually innovate these types of UX for virtual betting before they will”, Dodson added.