Last Wednesday I had the pleasure of attending iSoftBet’s Virtual Tea Party, a celebration of their Queen of Wonderland Megaways slot launch and a lovely excuse to mix and mingle with fellow media professionals and iGaming operators.
Prior to the event, iSoftBet sent goodie bags to the homes of all of those participating, including a branded mask, Alice and Wonderland mug, tea bags and cookies, all to be used during the Tea Party. The goodie bags even came along with personalized, hand-written name tags and other small touches that truly made each and every participant feel special.
During the event itself, we learned about the slot, its unique features and Josh Green of FruitySlots, the largest slots streaming community in the U.K., led an engaging slots tournament for the group, complete with an impressive grand prize for the winner (who was not me, sadly!)
After attending the event and quite honestly having a wonderful time, I sat down with Virginie Luce, CMO of iSoftBet, to get her thoughts on industry events in general and the value they provide to those who attend. I wanted to hear about everything from large, in-person expos as we remember them, right down to one-off digital events such as the iSoftBet Virtual Tea Party, all serving an important marketing purpose for iSoftBet and other B2B suppliers out there.
“I believe that we can’t deny that face-to-face events are best for networking, it brings a true sense of people reactions on our vision and our mission, it enables us also to build a momentum around our new and existing products and I believe that we all miss them, especially in gaming which is such a social sector”, Luce shared.
“In terms of metrics of successful factors, of course the number of deals that can be signed during an event is a core deliverable, but there are many other subjective factors such as the brand exposure being top of mind and really this is also what matters for iSoftBet”, she added.
As we are all aware, the big, in-person events that we know and love such as ICE and G2E have been forced to go digital for the time being, introducing a number of challenges for organizers, especially in replicating the networking opportunities Luce speaks of.
While we’re all still searching for the most effective ways to network and meet new people online, there have been no shortages of sessions to attend which is wonderful from a content perspective, but Luce warns the content must be relevant.
“[Digital events] are beneficial to the industry because it is convenient to be able to learn more from the comfort of your living room or the comfort of your home…however, the content needs to be educational, informative, or boost people’s knowledge and awareness”, Luce said.
“It seems there are some events that could sometimes be geared more towards a sales pitch or being perceived as delivering generic stories and so subsequently, it has a negative impact on the digital events category and it means that audience engagement levels are not always at their best”, she added.
Digital or in-person aside, Luce appreciates the strong value industry events have from a networking and entertainment point of view, but she also believes there is a continuous networking effort that must be running in the background.
“The idea is really work towards reinforcing the commitment to our partners…its important for iSoftBet to have a clear digital marketing strategy and not only at an event level but also as a part of a wider engagement communication program”, she revealed.
A perfect example of how iSoftBet endeavors to maintain contact with partners outside of events can be found in their Virtual Tea Party last week.
“It was a real priority for the marketing team to enforce our position in the industry by delivering a key activation by the end of the year and the Queen of Wonderland Megaways was a perfect opportunity”, she said.
“And what we delivered with the Virtual Tea Party was a 360-consolidated market approach, in terms of owned, earned and paid media channels, also leveraging a key channel for us which is the streaming and the affiliate marketing channel, hence why FruitySlots and Josh were truly at the heart of this campaign as well”, she explained.
“And as a nice touch also, we integrated the voice-over of the artist, The Queen of Hearts, to introduce the game and the features of the game”, Luce added.
Heading into 2021 and without any clear direction on when large in-person events will be allowed again, Luce provided her thoughts on how our industry can make events – especially one-offs such as their Tea Party – more engaging and popular.
“I think we touched on something important during the Virtual Tea Party, its that events should be more immersive. There’s a sea of sameness and its something that we can avoid with a touch of creativity and passion and also understanding how we can interact with the channels that are available for us”, she said.
“We appreciate as well that the audience’s time is precious, there’s a certain level of digital fatigue, events can’t simply be listening to someone talking for several hours”, she pointed out.
“We want to create engagement, so that’s what’s going to be happening in 2021, we want to be relevant, topical and immersive and we expect our attendees to be involved in the story, to be part of the journey”, Luce added.