Be “out of the box” in online marketing!

An interview with Ovidiu Joița, founder of

2020 and 2021 were the years that taught us that it is increasingly difficult to anticipate, to predict what will happen economically and socially in the medium and long term. The pandemic changed mentalities, social and economic behaviors that implicitly affected all economic areas, including the gambling industry. The online market has grown dramatically and online marketing techniques have diversified and evolved. I talked to Ovidiu Joița, specialist in online marketing and SEO, founder of the digital agency iAgency and the first SEO school in Romania, JediSEO School.

Ovidiu, how were the movements in the online market during this period of Pandemic?
Indeed, the Pandemic has brought important “troop movements” to the online environment. Many new “advertisers” appeared, who found themselves locked up overnight and the old advertisers were forced to increase their activity, to increase their investments in marketing and advertising, to become more and more aggressive in order to differentiate themselves.
Unfortunately, there are still many advertisers who have the feeling that if you go online, you have succeeded only through this initiative. It is not enough, you need to find a team of experienced professionals and allocate competitive budgets for the market in which you are.
For us at iAgency, it was and is a time when we work hard and earn less. And that’s because we face more and more customers who want to enter the online market, but do not have primary knowledge about this market, requiring much discussion to understand the online market and business. But we do not complain and try to be with them, with extra benefits that only we do not charge. We have made necessary rebrandings, we have done multi-channel online marketing consultancy, offered bonuses to our clients for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) services.

For the last 4 years you have been Speaker at the “Marketing in Gambling Forum”, an event organized by Casino Life & Business Magazine. What can you tell us applied to the Romanian gambling market? Have you worked in this field?
That’s right, I look forward to participating in this ever-growing marketing event. I love what I do and if I can share my opinions with those who listen, so much the better. I was directly involved in this market, working for more than a year for the Get’s Bet brand, with very good results, I say. I like to do even multi-channel marketing strategy, I like to innovate in all the campaigns I get involved in.
The gambling market, be it Romanian or international, is a very competitive market. In addition, it is not viewed favorably by governments or any part of the population. Like it or not, it is associated with the market for tobacco, alcohol, weapons … and so on. I’m a straight man and I don’t like not telling the truth. I confess that I received negative comments, working in this market as well. It’s just that I appreciate free will and I try to see “above” those sick people, who sell their house to play, to bet. I do not consider that there is a majority of such players and I cannot judge a “forest” by the “droughts” it produces.
Coming back to your question, the big brands in Romania are more and more aggressive in their campaigns and in “stealing” their players from one to the other. Pay per Click campaigns on the brand of others work very well, even with high costs. It is somehow normal and happens in any market. I want to diversify my campaigns, to access new audience segments. It is important that the “pie” grows and everyone has a bigger slice. From what I feel, it is a war to gain a larger market share, using the same traditional campaigns predominantly, campaigns that existed in a similar form ten years ago. If we talk about betting odds, most of the campaigns are designed to sell “better odds” and contests in which we win cars. I think we can communicate more, better and more diversified. We have ideas, traditionalism is also good, but I would like to innovate more.

Is it expensive to test new ideas in online marketing? Have you done such campaigns? Can you tell us about the results?
Expensive or cheap are relative terms, it is more important what is the cost per conversion (as we call it in e-commerce) or the cost per acquisition. How much does it cost to bring a new player through a campaign. If this cost is within the limits we want, to bring profit, then we can not call a cheap or expensive campaign. Companies in the gambling industry are very attentive to all indicators of traffic, cost, profit, leads. And it is normal to be very careful when the investments are hundreds of thousands or millions of euros. The online environment allows us to measure the results of a campaign much better than the offline environment.
Yes, I thought “out of the box” campaigns is what I like to do, but for privacy reasons I can only say that their results were excellent and the costs lower than for traditional campaigns.

However, our readers expect at least a new idea from you. Marketing innovation is too vague an idea. Can you give us some examples?
Of course, this is the difference between a stuffing article and an article worth reading. I don’t like being “stuffed” in general. (n.b. laughs)
I will reiterate here the ideas that I transmitted during the “Marketing in Gambling Forum” event, maybe one “sticks” to someone. Of course, I do not claim to “invent the wheel” now, there are ideas that have been applied in other markets, but I do not notice them too often in the gambling market.

I will mention 3 different marketing directions, the order not being given by their importance:

1. Involvement of the gambling industry in the gaming industry
Although the two industries have similarities and a very different target audience, due to their age component, I would like to see that gambling also aspires more to 3D and VR technologies. I can mention that the gaming industry, for those who don’t know, is the richest in the world, over the tobacco, alcohol, weapons, cars industry … and clearly over the gambling industry. I would like the approach of the young public to be made responsible, the slogan “play responsibly” is still shouted loudly in this industry. This young audience, which can form a new audience for any market, can be educated and prepared for when they turn 18 years old. Of course, it is just a way of approaching this segment, which can also be found on new social networks.

2. Development of own socialization and communication channels on target segment. Affiliate marketing with us in the “garden”.
With this idea I’m sure I’ll get “hate”, but that’s my opinion and I say it. In addition to any online market there are those “speculators”, those who do a good job and bring leads to brands through affiliate marketing. I do not mean “influencers” here, because they are more and more fashionable and must be “exploited” to the fullest. I am referring to those who run affiliate marketing sites, those who do PPC campaigns on cheap semantics and sell leads or traffic to the gambling industry. I believe that any big brand has enough financial resources to do this on its own, cheaper and with a much greater impact than its affiliates do. Over time, I have had discussions with many such “affiliates” and it did not seem like a healthy and long-term business, but only opportunity businesses. As in other industries, many brands give up marketplace or affiliate platforms (eg, eMag, eBay, Amazon, etc.) and with the commissions they paid to these platforms, they try to have more control over their sales. owning, investing those amounts, not negligible, in their own marketing.
Yes, it is not easy to do a job that others have done very well. It is almost impossible to find quality marketers to hire them, but you can find agencies that have a team of professionals and can advise and help you on this path. Speaking of which, we talked to many big brands from us, who wanted to make their own team of specialists on a certain online marketing channel. I always tell them that they will not find people ready to hire them. Because it doesn’t exist, unfortunately. We don’t have schools for that, the only real school is the experience gained in many years of work. Or these experienced people, you can’t hire them because they have their own businesses. I don’t understand why sometimes brands (I mean big brands in e-commerce, not specifically gambling) are “stubborn” to make departments that will perform, at best, mediocre and will probably cost more than collaborating with agencies. specialized in these channels. Although this statement may seem like a timid attempt to make a sale, I tell you that it is not … we at iAgency are a Premium agency, always working close to maximum capacity, we do not market on the conveyor belt, we cannot take a number great customer base and we don’t even want that. We like challenges and we want to implement new ideas in any field that “knocks on our door”.

3. Brand Awareness through Social Projects
I left at the end an idea that I like the most. It is a common idea in other industries that actively support various social projects. Maybe in our country, in gambling, this is done and I haven’t heard. If it is done, it means that it is done at a much too low level… and does not include in this idea, sponsorships for athletes or sporting events. I know that money is allocated here, being the target audience easy to reach.
I consider that huge sums are spent on TV advertising aimed at brand awareness of already known brands. Yes, I know that in marketing and communication there is never too much or enough. But I strongly believe that some of these millions of Euros can be invested more intelligently, with expectations of results in the medium and long term. I would like social assistance foundations or NGOs, founded behind some brands or even their involvement with existing foundations. As I said earlier, gambling is facing an image of the entire population anyway, let’s say, not the best. Why not work in this direction, I would like to see those “good deeds”. Maybe this way, by getting more involved in society and investing money for the whole society and the image of this business / industries, which “hides” very well behind the word “responsible”, will be better. I would like to see how gambling brands build hospitals, schools or put their shoulder where it “hurts” us all. Money exists, brand awareness exists, new segments of the public also exist.

Image … priceless!

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