Launching a new product in any industry can be tough but with the online betting sector growing exponentially in recent years, it takes more than ever to stand out. As one of the leading gaming companies in the CIS region, Parimatch has built its reputation over the last 15 years for delivering exciting and reliable products to market. As the betting brand continues to improve its product, the company’s Chief Product Officer, Sergey Berezhnoy, explains the timeline of a successful product journey.
When instigating a new product launch, what’s more important the USPs or the value proposition?
To break it down to this ‘artificial’ choice of one of two options doesn’t really allow for the complete space of possible solutions. In this context, I consider Value proposition to be more important. The emphasis on USP is a great opportunity for marketing, which is important at the start, but in the end, users come to you for the appeal that comes from value proposition. Emotions, impressions and excitement will always be more important than any specific feature in the product.
With such an international presence, how much thought goes into R&D across varying markets?
Entering a new market is always R&D. First of all, this is an understanding of how your product will be perceived by local players. If technology manufacturers adapt to the markets, then we, a product company operating in the entertainment market, have to adapt ten times more. The culture of betting and the culture of excitement are different even in the neighbouring countries, but what about the differences between the regions? This is an abyss! The mechanics seem to be the same, but the context in which the product is used is very different.
Therefore, we focus on understanding the context of product use. After that, refinements of the product or marketing messaging become a matter of technology.
Your company is renowned for its open internal communication between management and employees, how do you keep this open during the product to market journey?
Yes, despite the rapid growth – which my recent appearance in Parimatch is a consequence of – we remain very close in relations and in the information exchange. A very clear message about openness, transparency and the information exchange comes from our CEO. After all, this is the key to focusing on the goals and results, as well as avoiding rumours and distortion of facts.
At Parimatch, do you pilot before widely marketing the product and how does this impact the end product?
Of course, a lot of tests take place in the company: starting from corridor polls, ending with massive quantitative and qualitative researches. At the same time, we believe that we have room to develop in this direction: experiments, testing bold ideas and hypothesis will be one of the main focuses for the product team in 2020. We do not set ourselves the goal of fanatically checking every element, we are building a complete idea validation system.
When does the question of pricing models come into play?
In fact, this is not the biggest problem for us. The sports betting service itself is an intellectual battle between players and bookmakers. Therefore, everyone decides how they work with their own account and how much to bet: someone plays ‘according to the bankroll’, sharing bets on shares and evaluating material expectations, someone supports his/her team, someone adds emotions to watching matches. And we consciously do not want to raise rates or manipulate upwards. Each player chooses his own comfortable level. That is why our minimum rate is very low.
Can you explain the brand’s marketing approach and how your ambassadors, sponsorship, etc. factor into product marketing content?
Marketing is one of the strongest teams in Parimatch. Some projects are daring and risky, some are clear and simple, but there are never boring decisions. Partnering with leagues and federations helps us not only to increase brand awareness, but also to develop specific sports. Ambassadors, like Conor McGregor and Mike Tyson, have raised the brand awareness and taught our fans about the UFC. A wonderful symbiosis for sports and Parimatch.
Our brand ambassadors and sponsorships convey the spirit of our company – the spirit of a fighter and a winner. In addition, we do a lot of online promotion mechanics around our sponsorship activities. This allows us to inform customers about our cooperation in a playful way.
In terms of each of your product launches, how do these fit in with your wider company goals over the next 1 to 5 to 10 years?
We live in an opportunistic world where ambitions and goals are formed not by a 10-year plan, but by markets and opportunities. We form a long-term vision of what the entertainment industry will look like and what place betting on sports and other gambling entertainment will occupy in it. But this is the ‘vector’ of movement, and not the end point of the route.
As for the short-term goals, we have very clear plans until mid-2020. Euro 2020 poses a big challenge for us, as teams from our regions will participate, which means we have to make the game even more saturated with emotions. We’re excited to kick off these Parimatch plans in the coming months and we always shoot to score!