Dmitry Belianin, CMO at Parimatch International, explains how the brand will transfer its market leading success in the CIS region to Latin America.
Could you tell us about Parimatch’s history in the Latin American market?
Despite launching one month ago in the Latin American market, we began researching the market over a year ago by interviewing local companies and speaking to iGaming companies in Brazil, Colombia, and Argentina. We have tailored our approach from the CIS market by customising our campaigns and branding.
We may not have a lot of operational experience in the market, but we have extensive knowledge of payment providers and customers through research. Personally, I really like the Conor McGregor quote ‘We’re not here to take part, we’re here to take over’ – and that is ultimately what Parimatch is looking to do in this market.
How important have local partners been to help establish yourself in the region?
We have been fortunate enough to sign partnerships with a prominent marketing agency, affiliate companies and local experts. These organisations have not only helped us on matters such as payments and marketing activities, but on potential sponsorships and partnerships with football clubs and leagues. Our current goal is to run a test for three or more months and continually adjust our products prior to a proper launch.
Once we announce a full launch alongside major partnerships and see huge volumes of players coming to our site, we cannot have payments or support services not working properly as this would be a huge hit to our personal reputation and brand. We need to be careful and take things step by step. Partnerships are very important, whilst for sponsorships we have candidates, but we will wait until we understand player behaviour more on our website first before making decisions.
What market research did Parimatch undertake prior to entering Brazil?
We have put a lot of effort into our research and it can be split into three parts. The first is understanding our audience preferences – what kind of activities do they like in sports betting and online casino? It is hugely important to understand local games.
The second part is brand attributes and equity. What kind of brands are on the market? How do audiences perceive them? What are the key performance metrics in brand awareness? We have conducted surveys on the market to understand the best way to establish ourselves in the market – what message should we put into the market to stand out from the competition and how should we adjust our messaging and brand values?
This does not mean Parimatch is going to deviate from its core brand, but tailor our message to our new audience. The third part is research of the tactical environment. We have examined social media and supply channels to understand the advertising landscape. Tactical research allows us to understand what advertisements competitors are using and the audience they are targeting. When entering new markets, these are the three main areas of market research we undertake.
Bet365, Betway – how do you challenge these types of operators? How do you find your own audience?
Once we have conducted our market research, it is then crucial to understand what segments of the market are not currently being recognised. We can then specify certain targets in user segments, creating unique products for them and advertise through the optimal channels. For example, with the Brazilian market we have one very important advantage – esports.
In CIS the brand is very strong with the esports offering and Brazilians are mad about esports. Finding a way to target these fans is about locating the right segment, positioning ourselves, and using the right channels to let them understand Parimatch is here for a reason.
Parimatch is a betting partner of UFC and has a strong line-up of combat organisation partners. How popular are combat sports in LatAm? What potential is there for combat betting markets?
LatAm is very famous for its boxers and mixed martial arts fighters. Mexico is all about boxing – football, baseball and boxing are amongst the most popular sports. Fighting is in their blood. In UFC, there are several famous Brazilian combatants, including two incredible recent champions in José Aldo and Anderson Silva. Parimatch has a history in utilising fighting sponsorships and brand ambassadors such as Mike Tyson and Conor McGregor for promotion.
Brazil and Mexico will respond to our position as an entertainment brand as Tyson and McGregor are the greatest combat entertainers of the past twenty years. The audience will understand our brand and why we are in the market. LatAm loves its fighting as much as it does football and esports. These brand sponsorships can only help spread the message of what we are all about.
How have you adjusted your marketing approach compared to the CIS region where you already have an established presence?
In CIS markets the brand have been present for over 25 years. Our brand is established, and people understand Parimatch. Entering new markets needs to combine two approaches. The first, brand building, facilitates sustainable brand equity over many years, whilst the second, pure performance marketing, has an immediate effect from day one.
Putting your brand presence on the right football TV shirts and advertisements are just some of the ways to make this impact. Having had such an amazing experience in the CIS region and become the number one, we have this experience to leverage in other markets. I have no doubt we will crack other markets too.
How educated have you found LatAm players to be with your product offering?
Our products are not super different from what competitors have on the market. You can hire a team of developers and buy the best products and have the same offering as the number one operator in a region. The key is putting proper onboarding mechanisms in place and having a seamless user journey which offers services such as product tours and live chat to accommodate your audience. You need to somewhat babysit them and predict their behaviour. One of the key differentiators in the Brazilian market is how much effort you put into educating players.
How tricky is the payments landscape in LatAm? Is the complexity of payments and technology in LatAm underestimated by outsiders looking in?
Payments are one of the key trust factors in the sports betting industry. In so-called ‘grey markets’ where there is no proper licensing, users often face difficulties in payments, and it is therefore important to establish the correct communication channels and messaging systems.
Difficulties such as the lack of immediate withdrawal require us to adapt our approach to the product offering and let players know that there will be difficulties due to the market situation. Although trying not to scare the customer, it is important to be honest. This is a tough thing to handle and manage but eventually the company who communicates best in this regard will win the market.
What are your expectations and plans for Brazil?
Last year when we first started discussing LatAm and Brazil, we assumed Brazil would be fully legalised by the end of 2020. Eventually, whether it be this year or not, the market will be regulated. A key motivator for us when entering this market was that it becomes bigger every year. Aiming to be one of the top 10 competitors is a good start.
Having the passion and experience of conquering a market is in our blood so that will always be the long term goal, but in the first three years we will target top 10. This is our brand style. We are fired up to win and refuse to chase smaller goals. Brazil is a key market for us and with continuous adaptation we will succeed.