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Research is key for new brands, even if data goes against initial thoughts

| By iGB Editorial Team | Reading Time: 4 minutes
Edward Ihre, chief executive of Codeta.com, explains why thorough, data-led research is key when launching a new brand in the fiercely competitive online casino sector.

Edward Ihre, chief executive of table games specialist operator Codeta.com, explains why thorough, data-led market research is key when launching a new brand in the fiercely competitive online casino sector, even when the data goes against initial thoughts.  

It takes strength of character and unwavering self-belief to knowingly swim against the tide; to take an idea and turn it into a product with a completely different USP to those already dominating the market that you plan to enter. 

I know this because I have just done it with Codeta.com, a live dealer site that has the sole aim of disrupting the online casino sector by focusing on table games and, through an intuitive and sleek user experience coupled with intelligent marketing, to bring them back into the mainstream.

On paper, it seems like a big risk to take. For most of our competitors, the bulk of their casino revenues are fuelled by slots games, with blackjack, roulette and poker topping up the tank.

To build a brand around table games, to shout from the rooftops that they are more engaging and entertaining than slots; seems brave therefore – a little reckless, even.

But we are passionate about table games, live dealer games in particular, and the fully-immersive experience they provide players.

The human interaction with dealers, the sound of the roulette ball rattling round the wheel, the real-world casino environment doing its thing in the background. Online slots games simply can’t compete with this.

Sure, operators and game developers are looking at ways of bringing the slots experience to life, but nothing thus far comes close to matching the thrill and excitement of live dealer.

But passion alone is not enough to bring a new brand to market in this industry, not if you want to build a sustainable business in the long-term.

The numbers don’t lie  
When the idea for Codeta.com first came about, we had a very clear vision of who we were and what we wanted to achieve. We had an identity, a product focus, and a strategy for how to grow the business in regulated markets across Europe and the rest of the world.

But before investing in the business we had to make sure that our passion for table games and live dealer was shared by our target market. What was the point of investing huge sums of money in creating a beautiful product if no one actually wanted to buy it?

We decided to take a data-led approach. We figured the numbers wouldn’t lie, so if our research said the market wasn’t interested in what we were going to offer, then we would have to go back to the drawing board and think things over.

If it did, then we would set the wheels in motion and move full-steam ahead towards launch. To do this, we teamed up with LynxEye brand consultants, who devised a strategy for setting up focus groups and wider market research and interpret the data we gathered in a meaningful way.

They have worked with some of the largest companies in the world, including Microsoft, Samsung and Spotify, so we were confident in what they proposed.

The results were interesting to say the least.

The important thing we learnt was that a table games-focused live dealer site was something consumers were looking for. But we were also able to garner vital information about the games they wanted, what design appealed to them, as well as their appetite for risk taking. 

This, actually, was something that surprised us; our research suggested table game players had a higher proclivity for risk than slots players, so long as they felt in control and were making an informed decision.

Fully transparent
Armed with this information, we decided to make our brand and product offering as transparent as possible.

We have done all we can to give players the information they need, including the inner workings of the games so they are always aware of the rewards and the risks.

We have also included photographs of our customer service team on our site, rather than staged shots from a rent-a-model catalogue, so players know exactly who they are dealing with. They may seem like small things, but they make a big difference.

By doing all this research prior to launch, we think we have taken steps above and beyond that of any other new brand or site to have launched in the past decade.

It has not been without its challenges; on several occasions the data has pointed in a different direction to what we thought it would, so we’ve had to nip and tuck our proposition to make sure it’s what the player wants, and not what we think they need.

They know themselves better than we do, after all. I firmly believe it is the approach all operators should take before launching new brands and products to market.

We know we are going against the grain by being a champion of the table game, but with the research and data we have, we are in no doubt that our product and brand will gain traction in the market.

But for us, this is just the beginning. We continue to hold focus groups in order to gain feedback from our players and to guide our ongoing product and site development as we know customer insights and preferences are ever-changing. 

We know table games offer a more immersive and rewarding experience than slots, but we need the help of our players to really be able to showcase them for what they are.


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