EL/WLA Marketing Seminar: “It’s all about the Player”

The 2020 Annual EL/WLA Marketing Seminar, held in London, saw a vibrant mix of senior industry figures and speakers from leading-edge agencies and consultancies combine to create a dynamic event for the assembled international delegates. The event also witnessed the presentation of the EL Innovation Awards, a reception for the Women’s Initiative in Lottery Leadership (WiLL), and the latest inductees to the Lottery Industry Hall of Fame. The event was, as for many years, kindly hosted by Camelot.

As always, the event saw a dynamic combination of internal lottery industry professionals and external speakers give their viewpoints and expertise on an array of key issues impacting lottery brands, with the core subject being “It’s all about the player”. Issues such as corporate responsibility, social sustainability, player engagement, navigating the customer journey and integrity were recurring themes over the two days. These issues were, however, set within an external context that sees a wide variety of ongoing disruption mean that lottery brands must continually innovate and evolve.

The event began with opening remarks from Ivor Burns, Head of Marketing Strategy and Activation at Camelot, Hansjörg Höltkemeier, EL President and Rebecca Paul Hargrove, WLA President (pictured below).

Moderator, Author and Researcher Sean Pillot de Chenecey

As well as moderating the event, Sean Pillot de Chenecey, Researcher, Author and Speaker, gave the keynote speech, basing his talk on trust and innovation as highlighted in his two books. The core message of ‘The Post-Truth Business’ is that all brands, quite naturally, want to have strong and long-lasting relationships with their consumers. That relationship is built on trust, due to ‘reputation capital’ being of such immense importance. It’s where consumers (and voters) needs unequivocal answers to their questions of whether the brand or organisation in question is trustworthy, competent and reliable. For lottery brands, this is obviously crucial: as trust and fairness go to the heart of a sustainable lottery model. In ‘Influencers & Revolutionaries’, Sean outlines a more humanistic approach to innovation – one that promotes environmentalism, diversity, social progression and individual wellbeing as a foundation of the concepts, products, services and experiences that organisations and businesses create.

Journalist and futurist Sabrina Faramarzi then gave a fascinating talk about ‘online communities and how to mobilise them’ from the perspective of leading-edge cultural trends regarding subversion, participation, and connecting players.

During the CEO panel discussion, Gretchen Corbin of the Georgia Lottery USA and Hansjörg Höltkemeier, Member of the Managing Board, Deutsche Klassenlotterie Berlin and EL President both spoke about personalisation, new product development, national legislation and leading-edge engagement regarding good causes. Participants had the opportunity to hear experiences from both the European and American perspectives.

Sina Aiello, VP Marketing of WLA Platinum Contributors Pollard Banknote replaced Douglas Pollard, and delivered a powerful speech about how to engage infrequent players via precise segmentation and best in class functionality.

We then had the results of the eagerly awaited EL Innovation Awards, presented by Fiona Jennings of the EL Innovation and Technology Working Group and the Honorary EL President Ray Bates, which was won by Norsk Tipping with their ‘Wake-up Call’ campaign, closely followed by OPAP. The bi-annual Innovation Awards showcase the top innovation case studies in the EL membership.

The afternoon session began with a talk by John Shaw, the Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer of Superunion, who kindly stood in at short notice for Brian Uy, general Manager of HKJC Lotteries, who was unable to travel. John talked about the ‘Future Agency / Client Relationship’ which included a stunning case history of data visualisation work the agency had created for their client, the London Symphony Orchestra.

Paul Kemp-Robertson, Co-Founder of the globally renowned Contagious Media, followed on stage to discuss his views on how ‘Brave Creativity is the Business Growth Engine’. Paul’s talk related to his book ‘The Contagious Commandments’ and highlighted some excellent brand examples to highlight the importance of engaging with the target audience and making it all about the customer.

We then heard from Randall Lex, VP Retail Solutions for EL Level 1 Partner and WLA Platinum Contributor Scientific Games. His insights around ‘Data in Motion Reimagines Play’ were riveting, particularly with reference to SCIQ, C-Stores and ‘Healthy Play’.

The Marketing Strategy Manager of Camelot UK, Rachel Moss, followed with a speech about ‘Storytelling at Scale – turning the National Lottery brand promise into compelling consumer communication’. Ms. Moss looked at the importance of engaging with players, highlighting the fact that in addition to having the chance to win, they can all say they have done something good. Summarising her presentation, great stories should scale across multiple media touchpoints, be human and relatable as well as refresh and build memories.

George Vassilaras, Group Strategic Account Director of the EL Level 1 Partner and WLA Platinum Contributor Intralot then delivered a presentation titled ‘Retailtainment – capturing the player’ with reference to issues such as sound, emotion, activity and the retail environment.

Paul Jason of the Public Gaming Research Institute USA, welcomed senior industry figures to the stage as part of the Lottery Industry Hall of Fame Award Ceremony; where Younes El Mechrafi, General Director, La Marocaine des Jeux et des Sports, Morocco and Olli Sarekoski, President and CEO of Veikkaus Oy, Finland were inducted. This ceremony was attended by a large audience.

The afternoon ended with a reception hosted by Rebecca Paul Hargrove, WLA President, who gave an inspiring address to the assembled delegates regarding the developments in the Women’s Initiative in Lottery Leadership (WILL) programme both in the United States as in Europe.

Matt Strawn, Iowa Lottery

The final day of the seminar began with a talk from Andy Middleton, Chief Exploration Officer of the TYF Group, who highlighted issues such as risk, the climate crisis and the example set by the B Corporation movement, where ‘nature’ is taken up as a valued shareholder.

Scott Gallagher, VP International Marketing from EL Level 1 Partner and WLA Platinum Contributor, IGT discussed issues such as ‘phygital play’, and the importance of word of mouth in an ‘expectation economy’ during his presentation entitled ‘Living up to Expectations’.

Matt Strawn, CEO of the Iowa Lottery presented an authoritative case history of their ‘smaller national-market story’ which included linking with, and both championing and supporting, veterans in the state.

Dr Martina Olbertova, CEO of Meaning Global followed, with an address about ‘Creating Relevance in the Age of Cultural Disruption’ before Hana Barochova, Head of Lotteries from Sazka Czech Republic spoke about ‘Player Engagement & the Customer Journey’ regarding issues such as generational differences and similarities, creating an impulse to play, and how entertainment is so vital.

Jari Vähänen, Senior VP of Veikkaus Oy gave the final speech entitled ‘How we utilize customer data in Game Development’ where artificial intelligence and machine learning show a way forward. Mr Vahanen highlighted key aspects of customer data including how it can improve player behaviour segmentation, provide forecasting models and provide insight for future game development.

To summarise, the various subjects spoken about over the course of the seminar clearly showed that the numerous examples of international lottery campaigns and brand behaviour are indeed being created and enacted ‘for the benefit of society’; where responsibility, social sustainability, player engagement, storytelling and integrity remain the crucial foundations of lottery brands. It was all about the player.

The conference then concluded, with delegates looking forward to the EL Industry Days event in Manchester (8-10 June) where the focus theme will be ‘Sustainable Lottery for the Future’. See you there!

Article by Sean Pillot de Chenecey, Seminar moderator

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