Synopsis of the Marketing Seminar produced every year by the European Lottery Association (EL) and the World Lottery Association (WLA)


The world has never moved as fast as it is today, and will never again move as slowly as it is today. The first week of February is a time when much of the global community of lottery and gaming executives converge on London for two big events, and countless side-bar meetings. ICE Totally Gaming is the largest trade show in the world focusing on casino, electronic gaming and iGaming products and services.

The conference that has gained incredible traction because the content is so good and the participation so high-level is the EL/ WLA Marketing Seminar. Last year, the Seminar theme was Big Data, Big Communities, Big Jackpots. This year, it’s Think Small, with a focus on connecting with individuals, creating socially networked communities but on a more intimate scale, moving from the mass-marketing one-to-many relationship to a more personalized one-toone approach, and applying more ingenuity to advertising and promotional concepts that connect the brand with smaller groups of people with shared interests. How do you make every consumer feel valued and understood when running a massive company?

The key is to stand for something with “Stories that build the neuro-pathways to empathy.” The over-used cliché is to be “authentic”. Apple was one of the early-adopters of this conviction to “stand for something.” Product-minded marketers tend to want to connect the brand and message to the benefits the products deliver. A video from 1997 showed Steve Jobs exhorting his team to think about who we are, what we believe in, what we stand for. It was awe-inspiring to feel the early-concept unformed vision that was the catalyst for some of the most brilliant brand-defining campaigns ever, including “Think Different” and “The only ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world … are the ones that do.”


Check out video of Steve Jobs’ meeting with handful of marketers in 1997: watch?v=keCwRdbwNQY “Thinking Small” isn’t just about personalized messaging and connecting with community and not just mass-market. It’s also about focus on the details. For all the talk about “BIG” data, it is the business of extracting relevant information from more granular data that can yield the insights that matter most. Marketing is becoming more and more personal. Digital tools and strategies are enabling the connections that resonate with the individual on a more personal basis.

Brand messaging and marketing can be based not just on geographically localized communities, but also online communities based on shared interests and affiliations. The good news is that many people no longer identify with the “me, me, me generation”, but instead belong to the “me too world”. Our principal desire is no longer to become rich, but to leave a better world for our kids, to create a more sustainable future, and to be more responsible, aware and connected. Coke once considered all shelf-space to be theirs, owned by them and not to be shared.

This made them vulnerable not only to a Pepsi-style onslaught, but by small brands taking small chunks out of the market - death by a thousand cuts. Red Bull implemented a variety of “ThinkSmallMighty” campaigns that successfully carved out a multi-hundred million $ share of the market. Not the multi-billions that Coke has, but it reflects the vulnerable under-belly of super-dominant mega-brands (like Lottery).

Small local event marketing and creative and inexpensive online social networking promotions delivered just the kind of outcome that Red Bull wanted. Big brands like Coke are obsessed with massive scale, but why can’t Coke (and similarly, why can’t the Lottery) also apply strategies that work on a ThinkSmallMighty scale? Tell a new story, a different story that appeals to a narrower target market. Doesn’t need to be either/or; doesn’t need to replace traditional strategy. Can instead be a both/ and. And don’t forget that clever does not work anymore. Clarity and transparency is the current backbone to effective messaging.

It’s all about video and short-attention span. 80% of all internet traffic is now video. And you have 6 seconds to get attention, to clearly communicate what you stand for!! And UGC, User-generated-content is the holy grail. The marketing appeal of the triangular “HeartMind-Wallet”: In spite of what we may think, the real motivational driver is emotional - we respond with the heart.

We also need to justify the decisions with our mind, and the decisions need to comport with other aspects of our self-image as being “logical” and “rational”, but the Heart is driving the bus. Lastly, the other advantage of thinking Small and Agile is that it enables speed. By the time you’ve written your marketing plan, conducted the requisite testing to minimize the risk of your big-splash launch (and investment), it’s probably out-of-date. The equivalent of AirBnb, Amazon, Uber, will have re-shaped your market-place before you have time to respond.