B2B providers are about so much more than the equipment or software they provide to their clients: they are about their people. This article is the second article in GAN’s Profiles Series – a closer look at a few of our team members who are driving innovative changes to our offerings and in turn creating exciting new digital worlds for our casino operator partners' end-users.
Siska Concannon is GAN's Head of Client Services (Marketing). Her role involves managing the relationship and strategy between the GAN marketing services team and our casino clients. We recently sat down with her to discuss her role, her expectations for the future of the company and the ever-evolving situations and growth of the company and how it pertains to her.
James (J): So just as a very generic starting point can you describe what your day to day role is at GAN?
Siska (S): Sure! So my day to day role is head of client services, specifically in the marketing services department. I am basically the conduit between the broader marketing services team and the partner. I manage and own, together with the partner, the marketing strategy and ensure that everyone is aligned. I also filter any requests to ensure their commercial viability, and act as a general sounding board to mitigate any confusion or knowledge gaps in our specialized field of iGaming digital marketing.
J: So you just said that you act as a go-between for the two sides. Typically would that be one of our casino partners approaching you with a strategy or the other way round, or a bit of everything?
S: Of course it is a strategic collaboration where both partner and GAN bring their collective specialist knowledge to the table, but with regard to the specific online casino strategy generally this is what we present to the partner, due to our vast iGaming digital marketing experience and expertise.
Quite often the reason why clients take on GAN marketing services is because there is an understandable knowledge gap in this very niche area of iGaming digital marketing. So whilst they have extensive experience in their specialist casino marketing fields, this is a space that most partners have not resourced within their own teams, and as such rely completely on us to safeguard launch and the critical (and formulate) growth months immediately preceding launch. Therefore we are the owners of that strategy for the online casino, so then it is critically important that both the partner and GAN Marketing Services is completely aligned – and where my role is then critical for this partnership.
J: Holding hands a little bit?
S: I would say it is about aligning, and yes, knowledge sharing. But it really is a collaborative approach, as GAN Marketing Services must ensure that we are speaking to the voice of the casino partners’ patron audience, and this is critically where the casino assists us and provides us with that understanding and knowledge. Because every casino audience and every organization- whether that be a casino or otherwise- has a very distinct voice and is essential that we are mimicking that voice to ensure consistency of brand.
J: I guess you have to bring quite a personal touch to the role, considering how niche the market is and dealing with so many different unique brands every day?
S: Absolutely, this is essential, and quite honestly if I was a partner I would expect nothing less. As said earlier, tone of voice and differentiation as a whole is obviously a very important factor, and to ensure that we are in essence not only representing our partner casinos well but differentiating each partner casino.
Another essential component of my role, and one that we at GAN are in the position to do, is share trend data against our partner network. Never confidential, nor individual data, but aligning each partner against the network trend to track how they are progressing as well as use to dictate any amendments to the evolution of the strategy.
J: Is it easier integrating everything, such as funnelling all the information from the marketing team and disseminating information at the other end, because without you as that cog in the machine the whole thing doesn't really flow.
S: Ultimately there's currently 15 iGaming digital marketing specialists in the marketing services team undertaking very distinct roles across the customer lifecycle to ensure the growth and profitability of the product. It would be a tall order to have a partner communicate, understand why we do what we do, and how it all fits together without one person who fundamentally understands how it all fits together and can bring all of the individual specialist outcomes together into a story that's easily digested and understood, which in the end communicates the commercial value. This is essential for both partner and the internal GAN Marketing Services team.
J: I had a two parter here...You're coming towards the end of your first year here, and during that we've picked up a number of clients over a short space of time. How's it been managing that rapid growth? And the second which you just alluded to is on the personnel side how's it been managing that ever growing number of people on the GAN side as well?
S: The evolution of the team has been, interestingly, very closely related to the evolution of iGaming and digital marketing as a whole – in that it is constantly evolving and fundamentally having to evolve in the face of constant marketing challenges.
With regard to our team and GAN as a whole, GAN is a completely different company than what it was when I started, little under a year ago. We have very long serving clients that were benefiting from our then knowledge and expertise under the strategy that we implemented launch, and evolved as the product and market evolved. With the onset of new clients we as a marketing team had to examine our efficiencies. In brief, how can we bring in efficiencies so that we are agile and easy to respond to a growing partner network?
So the team has fundamentally evolved. We've had to critically look at our own process, and at how we execute what we do to ensure continuity of service to all our partners. We've had a small headcount change but it's really the efficiencies that we've been able to deliver.
With the onset of new partner, our own knowledge has really expanded. We are a highly experienced specialist team, but we are by no means above building and growing our knowledge in our specialist areas as well as building on our experience, and that has been a fantastic by-product of the new partners coming into the fold, and is a clear strength of the marketing services team that we've been able to evolve at a very rapid pace.
J: Almost like trial by fire in a sense?
D: Exactly! We've learnt the weaknesses and the strengths of a purely digital marketing offering. And with the onset of new clients it has given us the opportunity to move towards a more holistic marketing offering, in that we collectively must recognize the inclusion of traditional media to work in tandem with the digital strategy – and this is again where our collaborative expertise (GAN and the partner) is strengthened.
J: Obviously approaches get tailored based on a wide range of things for each of the different partners, but terms of getting the team running as a well-oiled machine is the overall process broadly similar across the partners?
S: It's a turnkey solution in that there is a universal, generalized approach to market which we know through many trials and tests, works. Audiences aren't so different as to say that these broad approaches don't work, and every e-commerce industry in the world follows a broadly similar systematic approach. Where we differentiate is brand audience, brand voice, segmentation, and the promotions themselves. Whilst the actual deliverables at a broad sense are generalized and rolled out across all partners the individual campaigns that we run be that from a UA or from a retention campaign perspective, are personalized because every audience will react differently to different promotions, and we have to constantly examine our campaigns to ensure they are producing the desired result.
J: And what are some of your favorite campaigns you and the team have created?
S: Personally, I really like the more engaging campaigns. For example we had a Girl's Day In vs Guy's Night Out game promo which asked the player for a preference of which they would most enjoy, and then they would click on either option. From a personal point I found it very engaging. And I’m all about the Girl’s Day In!!
However, if we're basing it on results the Easter campaign, the St Patrick's Day campaign and the Christmas promotions are generally top performers. Having a combination of email, landing page, onsite player inbox messaging, and push messaging produced some of the best results on key holiday periods.
J: Tell us more about the beta program GAN is working on to bring your traditional media marketing to US casinos?
S: From a User Acquisition perspective there are two audiences we look to acquire. The broad but fickle social casino audience where you are acquiring traditional social casino players, that may not necessarily have much involvement with the casino brand itself but are avid social casino players and as such a key audience. And the second audience is the casino partners’ audience, whether it be their actual physical member loyalty database, or the patrons that come on property.
The beta program is centered on the evolution of the team, the product, and our partners. Marketing is all-encompassing, online and offline must work in tandem to bring to life messaging and capture an audience’s attention – no player is only online, and no player is only offline, as such the marketing must reflect this. This is something the marketing services team has evolved with in fundamentally understanding the need for traditional media marketing as managed by GAN under the partner strategy. This beta program is ultimately to project manage conversions of the casino database whilst also our standard inclusion of managing the UA of the social casino audience (paid media).
J: You just had the opportunity to spend some time on-property with our partners. How important was it to be able to sit down and work together on strategy with them?
S: I believe it's essential to meet our partners at their casinos, and spend time with them as well as understand their patrons. Also meeting face-to-face strengthens the relationship, as well as being able to have better insights into how the casino and marketing teams are run, and importantly the challenges they face. It allows a much more empathetic approach in discussing how to grow and moving forward together in a collaborative partnership.
J: I imagine it helps in managing relationships going forward
S: Exactly! It simply fosters a more cohesive, constructive, and collaborative relationship – a true partnership.
J: How do you see us moving forward and what are you looking forward to?
S: Personally, I'm looking forward to seeing the continued growth of GAN. I'm looking forward to the next wave, the next chapter as it were. We've been very much a startup organization, and we're quickly growing into a much bigger and structured organization. I'm looking forward to seeing how this growth is managed and the evolution of our partnership relationships.
On that point, from a broader perspective, I'm very much looking forward to a genuine partnership with all our partner casinos. I think in the past it's been slightly more client relationship, and I want to move to a whole partnership where GAN and casino partners embrace and collaborate together as part of our joint commercial growth. I'm hoping to see greater depth to the relationship from a partner perspective where we are embedded with the client rather than a subset, or seen as an additional marketing agency. I believe that's where we're headed and that having a partner relationship is essentially key to our growth.
J: Awesome! Thank you very much for your time.
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