Cola Group explains expansion strategy
Following the recent investment announcement, Cola.bet chief marketing officer Dana Varnitskaya told GIO about what lies ahead for the company in Africa and beyond...
Information obtained from bet365 Nigeria, reports that After receiving its fourth gaming license in Africa in Nigeria, Cola Group has announced its intention to invest $14.5 million to expand its iGaming division. The company also holds licenses in Ethiopia, Kenya and Zambia.
A sports betting license was issued by the Lagos State Lottery Board to Cola.bet's locally incorporated subsidiary, Cola Games Limited. The Nigerian market is similar to the Ethiopian market in that both are retail-oriented rather than Internet-oriented. It was a strategic move for Cola.bet to use its expertise and success in Ethiopia to expand into Nigeria.
Chief Marketing Officer Dana Warnicka explains what lies ahead for the company next, after announcing its exciting news...
Gaming International Online: After getting a license in Nigeria, what are Cola.bet's next steps and where will the investment go?
Dana Varnitskaya: Nigeria is an important market in Africa, given the country's leading economic position and passion for betting. The country is second to South Africa as the largest sports betting market on the continent and is more populous.
A license issued by the Lagos State Lottery Board allows Cola.bet, run by a locally incorporated subsidiary, Cola.bet, to expand in the region with its modern, mobile and intuitive technology services. Plans are underway to open an office, hire a number of employees and establish a foothold in the country. These foundations will be an ideal launching pad for the company's marketing division, which will interact with players through deep analysis of local nuances, behavioral traits and a deep understanding of audience needs.
A significant portion of the investment will be used to reinvigorate marketing strategies and expand the retail network in key target regions. Funding has also been set aside for ongoing software development and additional African licenses in regulated markets.
GIO: Why did Cola.bet choose the regulated African iGaming market for its initial launch?
DV: Africa is a dynamic market that offers rich rewards to those who implement a localized strategy that can capitalize on a deep passion for sports, with soccer leading the way. To succeed in this region, it is important not to make the mistake of lumping African countries together. Each country has its own traits and individual characteristics, but the common language is soccer.
Soccer has been the catalyst for our marketing strategy to provide a high-quality user experience for customers and give Nigerians the opportunity to make money from what they love.
Internet access and speed are steadily improving, making Africa a region with tremendous potential. This shift forms a fertile space for the introduction of a mobile and intuitive platform that provides an exceptional player experience.
Many African markets are nascent, which offers great opportunities for growth. Combined with the fact that barriers to entry in such a fast-growing region are comparatively lower than in other markets. In-depth knowledge of local processes also means Cola.bet can go through the labor-intensive licensing process quickly, which speeds up entry into the market. Recruiting costs are also lower than in many regulated European markets.
GIO: What importance do you attach to a localized marketing approach for your growth ambitions?
DV: A localized approach is the only way to succeed in the African market. Our mantra is "Think globally, act locally. Cola.bet works tirelessly to keep its finger on the pulse of the market to ensure that businesses are best prepared to meet demand. Developing the platform in-house means we can easily modify it to meet the needs of each region.
A localized marketing approach pushes the boundaries of user attraction and retention strategies. It provides many opportunities to implement various new ideas and bring them to life. Studies have shown that the cost of user engagement is increasing every year due to growing competition, which means that only the best companies that have done their due diligence will be able to stand out from the crowd.
Cola.bet complements its innovative technology with a local presence in the major countries where it operates. This means that Cola.bet has offices in
every market, hires provincial staff and implements visible branding.
GIO: What are the key features that make the Cola.bet platform stand out from the competition?
DV: Cola.bet's groundbreaking platform is a highly customizable solution that can be tailored to each market and player demographic. Our customer-centric approach means that the user experience is exceptional, which contributes to impressive customer retention rates.
Our goal is to make Cola.bet a brand known for its respect for sports fans and provide them with an authentic betting experience designed specifically for them. To clarify this brand position, several advertising campaigns will be carried out to build trust in the product. Cola.bet enters the market with the highest odds and specially designed regional promotions and bonuses. This will be facilitated by a streamlined marketing approach aimed at attracting and acquiring long-term customers.
The platform gives B2B partners seamless access to a catalog of content that is suitable for a wide range of markets. Retail in countries where a physical presence is accepted is also available. All local payment practices are also integrated into the platform, where partners can find a huge selection of sports events, esports and casino games.
GIO: What is your timeline and approach for expansion into the regulated iGaming markets in the U.S. and Europe?
DV: At the current pace, we expect to get our first European gaming license by the end of 2022, and our first license in North America a year later.
GIO: How did you develop your consulting service and what does it do best?
DV: The consulting service provides our partners with a full range of iGaming services. The experience we gained from going through the complicated process of licensing and creating the Cola.bet platform has given us an unparalleled understanding of the African region. Advisory services provide partners with insights into best practices and the most effective launch strategy.
Third-party partners will soon have access to the partner program and whitelabel platform as part of a one-stop solution for new companies launching in new markets.
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