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Posted on Wed 25th Jun, 2014 in: Industry Comment, Influence, Public Relations, Social Media by Emma Lister

I am an occasional online better. I have two betting accounts with two different operators. One I tend to use on an almost weekly basis, the other was just something I set up at the start of the World Cup when one of the bookmakers was offering good odds on Brazil to wear yellow in the opening game. The bet was available exclusively to new customers, so I saw no reason why I shouldn't set up an account, use the bet and then forget about it afterwards. Giving new customers exclusive bets isn't unusual for bookmakers. For many of them, the focus is on recruitment over retention. Most offer the best odds to new customers in the hope they will sign up, as they're more concerned with attracting new customers, than keeping the ones they already have. And this is reflected in their marketing strategies. They advertise attractive promotions aimed solely at new customers.

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Paddy Power uses some of its marketing spend on cheeky PR stunts that will get people talking!and complaining! This strategy helps build brand awareness by getting them in front of new and large audiences at football matches, race meets and golf tournaments.

William Hill, on the other hand, appears to believe retention is just as important as recruitment. Earlier this year, the operator created a sportsbook app to improve the user experience and give customers access to live streaming and online radio content. They added to the launch with a free £5 bet available to all new and existing customers. Similarly, Betfred has recently invested in a major marketing campaign to improve the user experience and encourage them to focus on the enjoyment of interacting with the brand. So whilst some brands seem to be working to improve customer loyalty, it isn't a priority for others. But according to a recent report by Deloitte, whilst customers are gravitating towards using fewer betting operators, they still tend to use more than one. So if you're not offering them a unique experience, they'll either delete their account or forget about it and stick with their favourite companies. So it's worth focusing on retention as well. Big data can certainly help with this and enhance the user journey. Big data provides bookmakers with tracking data from millions of internet gamblers, allowing them to gain a clear picture of consumer behaviour. It tells them how punters spend time online in any transaction e.g. which games they bet on, what time of day, how much they are spending. So why don't they put it to good use? They could collate the data and develop more individualised, personal customer experiences. And that is something I would welcome as a regular user. I still don't feel like the bookmaker knows me and the types of things I'm interested in, despite using their app on a regular basis. They present me with deals that aren't relevant to me, and the only emails I ever receive from them are about poker and games I haven't played before. Big data is certainly a key way to deliver a more personal customer experience and ultimately increase retention, but few seem to be taking it on board.

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