After bringing in several huge partnership deals across three of the biggest leagues in world football, Parimatch’s head of sponsorships Ksenia Morozova explained how the company evaluates potential partners while emphasising that signing a piece of paper is only the first step of many on the road to a successful partnership.
iGaming Times: Over the last couple of months you have signed sponsorships with huge footballing entities Juventus, Leicester City, Everton and La Liga. How important is it that Parimatch puts its name alongside such huge brands in a market as buoyant as football betting?
Ksenia Morozova, Head of Sponsorships at Parimatch: Extremely important. Using our sponsorship strategy, we are aiming to reach two main goals: To build knowledge and raise brand awareness among new audiences and stimulate interest and demand in new regions, where our brand and product could be potentially launched in the closest future, and to raise and support loyalty of the existing audience. Each and every partnership has its stronger and weaker sides. We are on the way to have a very effective split of them to reach all our goals at the same time.
IGT: What was the strategy behind targeting those entities in particular? Is it more about shared values or geographical coverage, or a mix of both?
KM: Definitely it is a mix of a lot of criteria. We do a lot of testing and evaluations before we even start the negotiation process. I have a very strong team of sports marketing and media professionals, altogether we constantly research, gather and analyze huge amounts of information not just to get data, but to use this data as a strong argument and have constructive and effective negotiations. There is no secret that each and every region (whether we already operate there or not) has a very unique situation and business goals. Different political and economic environments, target audience preferences, marketing and media strategies, and many other points we have to take into account before we make the decision and pick the most effective partner to cover every need that we have. It is hard! But not impossible.
IGT: Why are sponsorships valuable and what advantages do they provide over a more traditional advertising campaign?
KM: From my point of view there is no competition between traditional campaigns and those that include partnership collaborations. It has to be a very well-planned balance. There are a lot of examples when celebrity ambassadors were absolutely not effective and partnerships were a waste of time and money. Signing a contract is just a first step, and a piece of paper will never bring you any result. The most important thing is how this asset will be used to bring the effect and multiply its value. I always say, there are no bad partners and ambassadors, you just need to know how to cook them.
IGT: How does Parimatch measure the return on investment for such sponsorships? Is this something that can be accurately predicted before the sponsorships are made?
KM: As I have mentioned, we make a lot of evaluations and forecasts even before we start the negotiation process. Most of them of course are made to give us the clearest possible understanding of what we get and what could be the possible ROI. We are trying to be very constructive and transparent with our potential and existing partners. We do not want to waste anybody’s time. So when we come back with a counter offer we use figures and data as a strong argument, giving our partner a clear understanding of our goals and results that we are expecting from the sponsorship agreement.
IGT: In the UK in particular, does the regulator’s relatively recent interest in banning betting advertisements in football factor into your sponsorship decisions? Is it something that Parimatch worries about?
KM: These kinds of things just push you to search and create all new communication opportunities. This is the best way to handle any obstacle possible; create a new strategy and find new opportunities. So we don’t worry about that.