As part two of our chat with Stoiximan and Betano, we caught up with Affiliate Marketing Manager for Betano in Romania, Vadim Cusnarencu. With the company being the winners of the Mobile Operator of the Year at the recent EGR awards 2019, Cusnarencu went into his job role in 2016 as a Content Manager, and has since been involved in other areas such as marketing or sponsorships, helping departments such as customer support, CRM or compliance for inbound and outbound content.
Since 2019 Vadim has been involved in the affiliate part of the business and all the marketing aspects, while at the same time he coordinates the local content department alongside.
Affiliate Industry Review: So, would you like to explain how important you believe streaming and virtual sports are as we move into a more technology-centred age?
Vadim Cusnarencu: “It is about the millennials, but we also must make a closer step to the Gen Z, both being the “empty chairs” reserved for our clients to our table when we are talking about the main customers for Virtuals.
Virtual sports are developing and retain a huge potential. This service was normally perceived as an alternative for betting and having fun during the breaks of the main sport competitions. The lack of real sports pushed the clients to pursue the Virtuals as an entertainment activity.
However, lately the Virtuals are winning ground transforming itself into a main stop for the players throughout the whole year. The reason of this shift is simple: GenZ wants fast challenges and fast reinforcements of behavior. A real 90-minute football match is very long, whereas a Virtual football has 2 minutes offering the possibility of a short, but entertaining experience.
A game-tech company should put its stake on the Virtuals, because the possibilities of developing a high-end product here are limitless. From my point of view, the Virtuals retain a potential that is still untapped and a lot of product enhancements are possible, as long as the providers are willing to think more broadly and creatively.
Virtuals can also provide opportunities for companies that carry out sponsorship activities in sports. For example, a differential factor may include the copyright usage of the name, color, logo of the sponsored club in the Virtual product. This is how Betano combines the sponsorship with the Virtuals and, moreover, we are the pioneers in Romania in the localisation the commentary of the Virtual Sports by using Romanian professional football and basketball commentators.”
Affiliate Industry Review: With the Romanian market being one which you specialise in, how would you say you have targeted it effectively?
Vadim Cusnarencu: “Romania is a mixed market. I think if you succeed in Romania, you can succeed everywhere, because the public is so fragmented that you have to know how to approach it and get mixed clients from all social, professional and cultural segments.
The key to success was the localisation, this was the “touch of King Midas” in Romania. More than just a word ,localization must be strategically thought out and well implemented in a closely created marketing strategy. The stakes were not only high in terms of financial investment, but also in establishing a good cooperation between the headquarters and the local people, a strenuous effort that required training, time investment and surely some entrepreneurial skills.
Well applied, the local strategy and the business marketing strategy produced success. And this success formula is being applied by Betano on other markets as well, of course each one with its own particularities and adjustments. What works in Romania does not work necessarily in Germany, but the principles of business marketing correctly applied to the particularities of other markets have significantly higher chances of success. Of course, everything must be backed by a valuable product, otherwise it cannot be grown sustainably.
Furthermore, the Romanian market offers a permanent place of development in the online environment. If we consider that 75% of the gambling segment is offline in retail shops, there is a lot of room for growth. In Romania, a mentality shift from “betting is a bad activity” to “betting is fun” has still a way to go.
From the ranks there arises a modern digital audience who will consider online as the first option. The market is growing year by year and our goal is to grow faster than the market, which is still feasible at the current stage. We have legal authorities that supervise a well-regulated market segment and, even if there are some limitations, we have room for interesting marketing initiatives to drive acquisition.
If in 2019 there were no major market entries, in 2020 at least one notable move is announced, which will unavoidably intensify competition and make things much more interesting.”
Affiliate Industry Review: How has your relationship with Income Access blossomed, and do you think the affiliate sector is one of main importance?
Vadim Cusnarencu: “The Income Access affiliate program offers much more data and information than the previous platform we have used, so it can be considered a step forward, although it is always room for improvement. Income Access really helps in the easier implementation of campaigns, in tracking important key data and in solid reporting for affiliates.
Betano sees the affiliates as true partners and the mutual relationship is based on communication, transparency, fairness – all of which have to build trust. We are here to serve our affiliates and to generate profit together on the long term. Income Access is a part of this mechanism.
The involvement of the affiliates in such a business is crucial because they generate revenue and also because, lately, they have become influencers. Besides a real time communication with the affiliates and the benefits we may offer to them in order to have our top partners motivated, at the end of the day, a happy affiliate is the one who receives a solid commission. We offer the whole package and receive back the same level of engagement.”
Affiliate Industry Review: Finally, what is to come from yourself and Betano Romania in the near future?
Vadim Cusnarencu: “The 2020 plan is undoubtedly based on further development and tracking of key initiatives within the company. EURO 2020 will be a major event that we want to make the most of. Even if we currently sponsor important teams like FCSB (former Steaua Bucharest) or Universitatea Craiova, we will further develop this segment of supporting the sport which,truth be told, brings home the highest returns
The Betano platform will become even more up-to-date while the inbound and outbound content will develop accordingly. However, we stick to our master plan upon which everything rests: that is, to create and develop everything for our clients.”