Before the ICE melts in 2023
6-9 February 2023 saw the international iGaming world converge upon London’s ExCel for ICE 2023. With several clients in the industry, we were there to support but couldn’t help our consultancy hats sneaking on. Here are some of our Head of Marketing, Melissa Wiggins’ thoughts from a Proposition, Product, Process and People perspective.
It’s not hard to spot the key industry players at an event like ICE. They’re the ones with the most extensive (and expensive) real estate in the ExCel. But whilst their brand identities were clearly present, not all of them capitalised on the opportunity to put their proposition front and centre.
Those that got their marketing right, were the ones whose proposition was clear (even though ‘everybody knows who they are’). From the simple ‘We create games’ to the sophisticated, to the playful ’99 problems but a payment solution ain’t one’ messaging needs to be on point and prominently placed. Headline stats made smart appearances, providing punchy metrics around games, partners, regulated markets etc. which all helped these brand propositions to validate their product or service offering. Perhaps next year they’ll have on-site masseuse to attend to the masses suffering from neck cricks from the constant need to look up to take in the towering messages!?!
If my energy bill’s anything to go by, then the exhibitor fees for the ExCel were largely going towards what must be a gargantuan energy bill! The range of screen sizes was immense from phones to some of the largest screens outside of an IMAX cinema. Suppliers had also shipped in their machines, equipment and furniture for visitors to try and buy. Everywhere you looked, the industry was displaying the latest product. Some had accompanying explainer collateral, others relied on on-screen messaging, some missed the opportunity altogether when there was no company representative to educate the interested party, or the representative was under-informed themselves.
Events like ICE present a significant opportunity for sales teams so it’s well worth ensuring that they know your product well and can confidently deliver concise coherent and consistent messaging! Time spent training sales team on product and message delivery should see a real upturn in conversion from events like this. Making sure that they’re connected with subject matter experts in your business (who know what they don’t), will make them more confident when they need to respond with ‘that’s a really great question, let me get an answer from the expert and come back to you’. On that note, it may be worth carefully considering who would add most value (not only to your business but also your prospective audience) by being on the stand. For example, if a prospect in a technical role comes to your stand wanting to understand your product from that perspective, would you have somebody capable of having that kind of conversation there?
There was clearly some evidence of the ‘If you build it they will come’ mentality with impressive stands featuring wood, glass, plants and neon signage. Some had groovy mezzanine structures and meeting rooms with an air of exclusivity. Others boasted coffee, cocktail or ice cream bars. Some showcased new AI technology with live table tennis outcome mapping, some even had holographic presenters or programmed mechanical light displays. But when it boils down to it, the success of an event like this isn’t measured by how many beers or coffees were drunk, or how impressed people were with the stand. The ultimate metric is ROI, how many leads were generated and ultimately converted into deals won.
The process for an event like ICE, with significant marketing spend, always needs to be clearly articulated to attending teams. Marketing have spent (in some cases millions) on these flashy stands and promotions, but without sales people engaging prospects, it counts for little other than an overpriced awareness campaign.
Some businesses had thought about audience engagement and employed a hook with interactive games or promotions. ‘Win a trip to X’, ‘Win a Ferrari/Rolls Royce’, but engagement campaigns like this rely on getting the process right:
- Have your researched your target market audience to understand what they might be interested in engaging with?
- Are your sales people motivated to engage with these people on the day (or are they sitting around on their phones or chatting to colleagues)?
- Do they have a mechanic for capturing data that enables them to follow up post-event?
- Can success be tracked and measured by a funnel that takes the number of delegates engaged, who were potentially interested in the product, who ultimately bought
At the end of the day, we would argue that being able to optimise return on your investment from events like this is always going to boil down to a singular factor, people. Whether that’s understanding the audience you’re pitching your product to, or ensuring that you have the right people, with the right energy and focus, equipped with the best information and tools to make that all important connection. People are central to success.
Speaking of people and representation, we were proud to be associated with ICE VOX’s Beyond DEI stream this year. You can read more about The Rokker Network’s contribution to the session ‘Beyond the image: Building an inclusive industry attractive for the workforce of the future’ here.