Author: Sebastian Scheplitz
Empathetic marketing for the iGaming industry is a bit of a thorny issue. Marketing is innately financial-based; whether directly guiding players towards a deposit or via a larger promotional goal.
While iGaming direct marketing email subject lines occasionally lean towards content such as “Because We Care” or “We’re Thinking of You,” players can read the marketer’s intention – or lack thereof – like a children’s book.
This kind of approach can lead many to believe that empathetic marketing for the iGaming industry is as rare as hens’ teeth or fails to exist completely. From our unique iGaming perspective, let’s take a look at empathetic marketing and find out if it does, in fact, live and breathe.
What Exactly Is Empathetic Marketing?
If you’re an empathetic person, you have the ability to perceive other peoples’ feelings. You’re seeing the world from their perspective.
For iGaming marketers, this means seeing the world from their players’ viewpoint and building profiles regarding iGaming content marketing personas. As opposed to the traditional marketing model, empathetic marketing places your users at the very core of your marketing strategy – as you work outwards.
Empathy only exists when it is genuine and will only be believable when it builds trust and a strong relationship between casino and sportsbook brands and players.
Why Should Empathy be Used in iGaming Marketing?
Empathy in marketing and connecting with your users are more important today than ever. Without sounding overly dramatic, the world has changed, especially in how we live and work.
We’re adapting to a new mode of life/work and iGaming marketing strategies need to accommodate this. We experience a huge range of positive emotions from – but not limited to – happiness, intrigue, amazement to our more negative emotions that could include anger, frustration, fear, or unhappiness, to name but a few.
By anticipating how your audience feels and when they feel how they do, you’re one step closer to building a stronger user profile and therefore becoming more intimate with your audience as individuals.
Let’s take a closer look at how to use empathy in marketing for sports betting and casinos.
How to Use Empathy in Marketing for Online Casinos
Marketing has had a two-track mind for decades – to strengthen a brand image and sell.
While it may be kind of tricky to shift this mindset as an iGaming marketer, it’s not impossible. While many believe that marketers influence trends directly, this is a bit of a misnomer.
External influences such as socio-political factors are one of the main drivers in setting trends for the iGaming industry and marketing teams adapt to this – ideally with a sympathetic mindset.
Here we have the best ways that you can use to incorporate empathy into your iGaming marketing strategy.
1. Adapt, Adapt, Adapt
Once you’re aware of the needs of your audience, you need to adapt your business formula to these exact requirements.
Generosity is a superb example of applying empathy to your marketing approach, and it’s easily done. While it may not increase overall wagering or boost your deposit levels, it will hopefully put a smile on players’ faces.
Here are a few ways you could do this:
- Slash your wagering requirement on Free Spin offers
- Offer more generous Free Bet terms
- Boost your prizes in leaderboard competitions
- Hold a completely random prize draw, inclusive of every player
Adapting your offers is a great start but the way these offers are communicated to players is also key. It’s time to drag out your brand style guide, give it a good dusting off and rework it with a more empathetic edge.
A 360° approach to encouraging the adaptation of your business around your customers’ needs begins at street level. Customer support employees are on the front line of your business and therefore present your brand image. The way the customer support team interacts with players has a huge influence on how your customers feel.
Training sessions focusing on tone of voice and the importance of listening and sympathizing are invaluable to creating a truly empathetic support team.
2. Put Yourself in Your Audience’s Shoes
Sounds easy, but how exactly are you able to do this? Player empathy works in two simple ways:
- What difficulties are your customers facing in their everyday lives?
- What issues do your customers have with your company?
During 2020 and 2021, we’ve been facing many of the same problems: isolation, loneliness, boredom, anxiety, and frustration. While this is a broad overview of how we’re feeling, that’s sometimes all we have to deal with.
While there’s no cure-all for these emotions, entertainment can go a long way.
From Russia, With Equal Love – Paddy Power
Paddy Power created an awesome campaign that was all about seeing things from other people’s perspectives and sympathizing with not only their audience but also the majority of the Russian population.
This campaign has a simple premise – a £10,000 donation to LGBT-focused Attitude magazine for every goal that Russia scored during the 2018 World Cup. This not only caused ripples of positivity from a marketing perspective but had the aim of increasing sexuality inclusiveness in sport overall; a marketing campaign with both empathy and pride.
3. Make your Audience Laugh
They say laughter is the best medicine, and ‘they’ are probably right. A doctor wouldn’t prescribe giggles to someone with the flu but it can change your mindset and elevate your mood in both surprising and satisfying ways.
Experts say that laughter can strengthen your immune system, diminish pain, and protect you from stress. If you can carry this off, then you’re one step closer to using empathy in marketing for online casinos.
While casinos and sportsbooks aren’t a goldmine of comedy, some operators have absolutely nailed it.
Gambling at Home – William Hill
The anarchic mashup of an online casino player kicking back in a land-based casino – as if he were at home – was a hilarious concept and one that rings true for many an online gambler.
The image of a guy strolling through a casino wrapped in nothing but a towel while munching on a slice of toast was one that struck a chord with those of us who prefer to play from home.
A campaign not only perfectly executed but charmingly honest; a real mood lifter.
Cheap Thrills – Ladbrokes
The premise of the Ladbrokes Cheap Thrills TV ad campaign was one of both hilarity and ingenuity. Why skydive and risk a broken leg (or worse) or endanger your life in a shark cage?
Ladbrokes highlighted the fact that thrills don’t have to come in life-threatening forms. You can get them just as easily playing slots or a few rounds of roulette from the comfort and safety of your own home.
While the TV ad did receive a few complaints regarding comparing the safety of gambling to extreme sports, it’s highly likely that most viewers took it as it was intended – as a bit of fun and not to be taken too seriously.
While empathetic marketing may seem like a classic contradiction in terms, it can be done in a fashion that doesn’t scream, “Hey, check us out, we’re being nice! (Now, hand over the cash.)”. Sometimes, as during the pandemic, many online operators showed empathy by completely halting all direct marketing activities.
The fact that online gambling had risen during the period was widely reported across major news channels globally. Promoting a Free Spins offer, for example, to a gambler that has spent the past three months indoors and is fully aware of the spike in online sportsbetting and casino play is a bit insensitive, to say the least.
Sometimes less is more, and sometimes doing nothing at all is the finest way of showing that you and your marketing co-workers truly care.
So, to answer the question as to whether empathy does in fact exist in iGaming, we should instead ask the question: “Does empathy exist within your marketing team?”.
While some individuals may express more empathy than others, it doesn’t mean the team members that don’t express empathy aren’t feeling it. People just operate differently.
A training session on how to boost empathy with sports betting content marketing strategies and also that of casinos is essential when teaching how to communicate effectively that empathetic feel-good factor.
Header Image Source: Photo by Nayan Bhalotia on Unsplash
How did you like Sebastian Scheplitz’s blog post “Empathetic iGaming Marketing – Does it Even Exist?”? Let us know in the comments if you have anything to add, have another content idea for iGaming blog posts, or just want to say “hello.” 🙂