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Locker Room Labs Sports Technology Spotlight: Ben Cleminson

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Welcome to the fourteenth edition of the Locker Room Labs Sports Technology Spotlight. In this series, we sit down with industry partners and experts to discuss the evolving world of sports tech including the incredible innovations being developed in the space. The next professional featured in this series is sports tech marketing professional, Ben Cleminson. We sat down with Ben to discuss his perspective on topics that are trending in the sports betting and technology industry.

You are a Director at PR and Marketing agency Square in the Air. Could you share a bit with us about how the agency got started?

Square in the Air was born in 2006, as our Managing Director Bill Esdaile felt there was a gap in the market for a specialist comms and marketing agency focused specifically on betting and gaming. Bill had been running the marketing department of Sporting Index, a sports spread betting company in the UK who were one of the pioneers of in-play betting. 

I worked for an agency that had Sporting Index as a client and joined Bill at Square in the Air in 2007, working from a small office in the North of England, only a few miles from Bet365’s headquarters. We haven’t quite had the growth trajectory of those guys, but it’s been a fun journey over these past 17 years!

We now have around 55 people working for us and in 2023 launched Square in the Air US, the first time we’ve had boots on the ground in the US. Industry veteran and PR specialist Dan Zucker is heading that up for us with support from our team in the UK.

How do you go about differentiating your PR efforts from the standard investment or partnership announcements that are commonly seen?

PR has evolved massively since we started back in 2006 and it forms just one part of a creative marketing strategy, whether that be for B2C or B2B companies. Ultimately, we live or die by our creativity. Anyone can draft and send out a new funding round or partnership press release, but we always try to focus on creating engaging content that is different from what is out there in the market. 

Over the past few years we have launched in-house design, video production and performance marketing departments to complement our PR and social media services and this has really elevated our offering. Increasingly, clients are looking for a variety of content to push out to the media or on their social media channels, so having a deep range of products and services is vital for agencies like us. 

How has the rise of social media platforms impacted the marketing and user acquisition strategies for sportsbook, fantasy, and iGaming platforms?

The rise of social media platforms has revolutionized the marketing and user/client acquisition strategies for operators and B2B providers. It offers unprecedented opportunities for reaching, engaging, and retaining users in an increasingly competitive landscape and in a cost-effective manner. 

With social media and mobile usage expected to increase exponentially in the future, more and more brands will be diverting energy and budgets towards these channels, both from an organic and paid perspective. 

Can you share your perspective on the current trends and innovations in sports technology that you find most exciting?

The sports betting industry is one that moves so quickly, and new interesting developments seemingly spring up daily. A company that is trying out some really interesting concepts is Skill Money Games, which has a completely new approach to the ‘gamblification’ of casual skill based experiences, such as golf. 

What makes it unique is the use of the company’s patented AI technology, which integrates into any pre-existing automated scoring device, and creates skill-based challenges determined by a continuous evaluation of the players’ skill. This then adjusts the challenges and gameplay to ensure fair and fun competitions, that allow players to be paid out real money based on their performance – and corresponding skill level.

Ben Cleminson | Director at Square in the Air

In your opinion, what are the key success factors for sportsbook, fantasy, and iGaming platforms to stand out in a saturated market?

For me it’s all about the product. Bet365 became the market leader because they focused on their product and technology. You can do all the marketing you want, but customers simply won’t stay on your app or website if the product isn’t up to scratch. It’s about quality of product but also innovation. 

We are also seeing the ever-expansive growth of in-play wagering, with micro-betting uniquely suiting the cadence of American sports and being an explosive growth area for a number of first movers in the space like Simplebet who we work with. 

Customers demand choice and variety, backed up by solid technology that works without fail. It is those operators and suppliers that will ultimately win the battle. 

About Ben Cleminson

Ben Cleminson is the Director of Square in the Air, a leading PR and creative marketing agency focused on the sport, betting and gaming industries. Ben is responsible for creating, developing and implementing PR and marketing strategies for companies working within the betting, gaming, sport and finance sectors. Ben is based at Square in the Air’s headquarters in London. You can contact Ben here.

About Locker Room Labs

Locker Room Labs is a US-based and software engineer-owned development team specializing in sports, betting, fantasy, and iGaming. From UX Design and MVP Development to Custom App Development and Staff Augmentation, Locker Room Labs is tailored to bring sports software to life. A testament to their innovation is “The Playbook,” a proprietary sports platform-as-a-service that accelerates development time to market and curtails custom software build costs for clients. To reach Locker Room Labs, you can visit our website here.

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