Marketing in Africa by Manuel Sagall - iGaming Business - Africa Focus (Jan/Feb2017) Special Issue.

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Africa Focus 2017

MARKETING IN AFRICA Manuel Sagall, Head of Design at virtual sports provider Golden Race, looks at the marketing strategies needed to drive results in the African market. Becoming the leader of any market is not an easy task. In an emerging territory like Africa, where the possibilities for growth are enormous, having a clear and well-defined marketing strategy is fundamental to beat out the competition. Without presenting yourself to potential customers in the correct way at the correct time, the challenge will become an insurmountable one. Search engine marketing (SEM) has always been one of the most beneficial means of attracting new customers, due specifically to its potential for focused segmentation, significant and easily measurable ROI, as well as the ability to adapt and fine tune your approach as the campaign develops. However, there are restrictions regarding online gaming when making use of SEM platforms such as Google AdWords or Facebook Ads. Therefore, your online gaming strategy must be based on alternatives that deliver results whilst also adhering to local regulations. However, for physical establishments, these platforms can become key elements of an effective plan, complemented by the following strategies. Search engine optimization (SEO) can greatly improve visibility and attract potential players as advertising relevant to a potential player’s search can appear near the top of search results. This is incredibly powerful. Content marketing can attract customers by delivering relevant content related to their interests in our industry, also helping elevate brand exposure and an operator’s position as leaders in their niche or market. For example, “viral videos”, dismissed by some as coming across as immature or unprofessional, can in reality be extremely effective in engaging new customers – as long as the content is relevant. If the content goes viral, your audience has grown exponentially, with no

extra cost. This means it is very important to optimise different broadcast channels (social media) outside of your primary website to allow others to generate content and publicize the brand to a far wider audience than is possible directly. Additionally, social media has proven incredibly effective in reframing the position of companies and providers as more trustworthy, more friendly, more relatable, and more likeable, in turn increasing levels of brand loyalty. The more you talk on social media – about yourself, your projects, your promotions, but also in general - about the industry or current events or the world in general – the more part of people’s lives you become. Maybe they aren’t a potential

Essentially, any merchant can promote our products and services in exchange for a cost per lead. This has been one of the most interesting strategies in the last few years: we gain an immediate commercial network and the desire of others to promote us through it, without an initial cost for us. Furthermore, the costs are not as high as those strategies based on cost per click, since these actions are only paid for when they deliver tangible results for the company. Clearly a win-win strategy. In addition, affiliate marketing provides added value to customers who can rely on the brand as their “go-to” and helps nurture a long-term relationship. Successful marketing strategies are always going to link online and offline channels. Any offline strategy is of course limited by physical logistics, especially in a vast territory like Africa. So analyse all mediums

“Successful marketing strategies are always going to link online and offline channels” customer yet, but in the future if they decide to be, your brand can already be firmly linked with your market. It may seem obvious, but, even today, many brands overlook the huge potential that social networks possess. Even more overlooked is mobile-optimised content, which is absolutely fundamental, especially in an emerging market such as Africa where the technological infrastructure we recognise in the western world simply isn’t there. Mobile internet access surpassed “fixed access” (internet access via PC) more than two years ago - successful marketing strategies must take into account the world we live in and the ways that people interact with it. When the use of SEM is limited, especially when marketing a new brand or breaking into a new market, a digitally focused commercial push is essential, and it is here when affiliate marketing comes into its own.

130 | iGamingBusiness | Issue 102 | January/February 2017

and media, e.g. television or printed press, to identify any specialized platforms to increase brand visibility. The potential of sponsoring famous popular sportspeople or local celebrities should not be overlooked. If your audience knows you in “real life” (which, oddly in these times, actually means online!) and they also know you where you are “you” (i.e. in your usual digital medium – website or blog for example), your brand will get the most important return: customers who choose you over your competitors.

Manuel Sagall is Art Director for virtual betting solution provider Golden Race. He has an extensive background in online marketing, graphic design, user experience, video games, mobile and interactive apps. Manuel has worked in the gaming industry since 2003.

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