This is a very tough one. I do not know how to tell people to take time and learn something from the online sports betting sector in Nigeria. I do not gamble and certainly betting on sports is not something I would recommend to anyone. Yet, there is something working in that sector which you can use in your business: they have found a way to grow by spending ad efforts right where the paying customers are. Note that I wrote “paying customers”; they are not going for clicking customers. So, instead of focusing on campuses, they focus on markets. As I travel around the country, I have noticed the following:
- Offline Marketing: The online betting sector has an extremely huge offline marketing and promotion component. Yes, you do see those ubiquitous display boards in many market areas with nairabet.com, bet9ja.com, etc. That is a strategy: the paying customers are offline, and you have to reach them where they are.
- Most marketing happens near market areas: I do think this has to do with demographics and market segmentation of potential people who could be believers. Also, it could be a very cheaper way to reach customers. Why pay for billboards when a huge sign in front of your store can do? With this simple strategy, they have kept cost very low despite enjoying high client conversion rate.
- Simplicity of the adverts: In nearly all the ads, you see only the domain name or in some cases, the site slogan. Nothing more. That is unusual. They do not add anything else. If you look at their adverts alongside other ads in an area, you would go home remembering the betting ads. The tailors, boutiques, etc would pad their displays with everything including phone number, email, address, etc. For the betting believers, they do only one thing: the website name.
So, the sports betting ecosystems do all necessary to move you from the physical space to online where they use internet to massively enjoy a huge scalable advantage through near-zero marginal cost. Yes, the distribution cost of their product is very low since it costs them largely nothing to onboard an extra user in a portal. Unlike the old-age pool, they do most things online, enjoying the scalability Internet provides.
What drives DSB [Distributed Sports Betting] is the same thing that is driving digital business: near-zero marginal cost which anchors huge scalable advantage. With that low marginal cost made possible by Internet, this sector would continue to grow. In short, the unbounded and unconstrained distribution nature of the web is the very reason why government should invest resources now to track the sector
Contrast that with what many of us do: we build for the web, and we just focus on advertising within the web, even when those with money are not online yet. Learning from the sports betting sector, we could still keep our products online but then invest offline to get the real paying customers to come online.