Affiliate Grand Slam by SiGMA
Andrei Motoc, General Manager at Mad Casino Bonus, joins the latest series of affiliate interviews on Affiliate Grand Slam
Andrei Motoc and his team at Mad Casino Bonus are constantly striving to understand their customers' needs and to adapt accordingly. Perseverance, research, and proactivity are what they believe in - follow his story below.
When and why did you start considering affiliate business as a career?
My partner and I were introduced to the idea of affiliate marketing in early 2019. The idea stuck to my head, but I only started researching it a few months later. I can say that for me, the biggest advantage I identified was the independence it offered. Affiliate business is complementary to any other activity you are currently undergoing, as it does give you a lot of liberty of operating. And that was exactly what I wanted and needed at that point in my professional life.
From where did you start your affiliate business and how? How much were you willing to commit to it?
I am sure that a lot of the other affiliates see themselves in our story. We started affiliate marketing as an after working-hours business. We slowly invested more and more time in it, and eventually the results started to come in. So, I believe that our focus and investments in this business have developed organically, together with its evolution.
What were your biggest challenges when first starting?
Well, at the beginning I felt it was quite difficult to navigate through the plethora of information surrounding this activity. Later on, I discovered that much of that abundance of information deemed to be only superficial know-how. So, in a gist, acquiring valuable information was our biggest challenge in the beginning.
What helps make your performance successful? What are the main challenges?
I truly believe that the main driving force behind the performance of any business is represented by the people involved in it. Likewise, at Mad Casino Bonus we have been fortunate enough to be able to gather a dedicated and high-performing team. Of course, it wasn’t given. It took us a long time to select the proper people implicated and create the necessary synergy.
What motivates you to promote more, and what helps you boost your motivation?
This industry changes extremely fast; and this is perhaps what keeps me alive. I enjoy the need of always being up to date, and always being informed and ready to make the next proactive action.
How is your company, including the affiliate team structured? What aspect of business development are you currently focused on?
We are now ten very enthusiastic and hard-working people involved in this project. From what we have tested and experienced so far, a hybrid structure with both in-house and outsourced services for copywriting and SEO for example, works best for us. It gives you a certain speed in actions as much as it gives you the opportunity to benefit from specialized-services' companies.
How can affiliates be more unique in their approach?
A lot of the newcomers tend to think that if they replicate the solutions found by the market leaders, their business has to be successful. Well, from practice, we can tell you that this cannot be more wrong. Affiliates should channel their efforts to a proper and insightful research, and to understand their market and that of their niche’s particularities.
Which markets are you targeting and why? Do you see any potential in the emerging markets?
We are now concentrating exclusively on the UK market. It is still in the largest markets and most well-educated, customer-wise, one can approach. What we find quite interesting is that affiliates and operators have started flooding out of the market, in the light of the new regulatory reviews by the UKGC. Nevertheless, we thrive in such challenging environments.
Which niches work best for your affiliate marketing, and which are the most profitable? How did you find your most profitable niche?
For now, Gaming is the only vertical. It is a universe on its own and we still identify multiple opportunities within this particular niche. I believe that diversifying too soon can prove to be pretty unbeneficial to the development of the business.
What makes your traffic proposition/traffic sites unique?
Content is King. We always struggle to bring the best content possible in front of our audience. We are not simply a deal aggregator; we try to give our customers all the opportunities to get informed and educated in the iGaming sector. We constantly strive to understand their needs, and we adapt accordingly. This is the main reason why we just went through a major content revamping process on our platform. Starting the second half of October, we will step up the game even more.
Are you contemplating bringing in investors to scale or grow your business? Or, with such a big M&A market, have you ever contemplated selling the business? Have you considered going down the operator route?
At this moment, the business is self-sustained and the need for an investor is not felt. Of course, we are aware of the increasing consolidation of the big brands, through M&A, in this particular niche. I believe that every investor has to think about his exit strategy. But for us, it is not time yet; The growth is constant and solid, and we still want to be part of the hype.
Which qualities and skills are essential in an affiliate team/business?
Perseverance. Affiliate marketing is long-term, long-vision oriented business. Complimentary to perseverance, is the need of always being in the loop. Constant research and constant proactive attitudes will drive your affiliate business to success.
What sets you apart from other affiliates?
I know that our genuine approach to the iGaming world sets us apart. We always go the extra mile to understand what our visitors want to learn from us, and what they expect from us. We then try to pack all this information as user friendlier as possible. We know our visitors appreciate the extra effort we put into our content.
Do you create all the marketing material you need to promote in-house, or do you out-source it?
Our experience showed us that a hybrid model works best for us. We have an in-house marketing whiz, while at the same time we outsource the bigger or more complex materials.
Have you ever considered looking into emerging technology for that competitive advantage, such as application of AI, Big Data or other?
The iGaming sector moves unbelievably fast. Who does not understand this, is doomed to fail. We are constantly and actively getting informed about any sort of innovation in the sector. Especially when it comes to data processing, management, and analysis. We are planning to automate the vast majority of our data management processes by 2022.
How has the fragmentation of regulated markets affected your business? UKGC, Swedish regulator and now also the German regulator is mulling regulating this space.
Our focus is exclusive on the UK. We are not afraid of this market, or of any other highly regulated GEOs. As a matter of fact, we quite love them. As long as you know the rules, you know what is accepted or not, and where the line is drawn. This leaves no room for interpretation and arbitrary decisions. Besides that, it even eliminates the disloyal competition.
What can operators do to increase support with affiliates? Do communication and support with operators meet your expectations? How do you manage your relationship with them?
The bigger you get, the easier the communication with the operator gets. We are happy to say that we maintain extremely happy and productive relationships with our partners. Still, at the beginning we had to grind through some hundreds of unanswered emails. However, I guess that is part of the hassle you have to go through in any type of business.
What are the benefits of attending large iGaming events, and what can they do better?
In a few words as possible: Networking! There is nothing more important than developing genuine, face to face relationships with your partners.
Have you ever been to SiGMA? If not, would you consider attending SiGMA Manila or SiGMA Malta at some point?
As mentioned before, it took some time before I decided to fully commit to the business. And unfortunately, I haven’t had the opportunity to attend SiGMA in 2019. Then, everybody knows how 2020 went. But one thing is sure, you will see us in Malta in February!
Speaking of that, a big Kudos for the SiGMA team for providing a true example of pivoting in times of crisis, with your decision to host the first digital summit!
Tell us a bit about yourself - after all, business is done with people, not just companies! Your hobbies, favourite book, favourite quote, whether you are into iGaming yourself, etc.
Andrei Motoc, 28 years of age, now based in Bucharest, Romania. I managed to gather quite a diverse work experience till this age. I worked for the public administration in Romania and the US, for state-owned companies, and afterwards I made the move to entrepreneurship. I reckon that this way I learned the importance of versatility. And this probably is one of the key traits to develop in any entrepreneurial activity.
Favourite sport: Squash.
Favourite book: Paul Arden's "It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want to Be".
Favourite movie: Jerome Bixby's "The Man from Earth".
Favourite quote: Idea is nothing. Execution is everything.
Most happy when: Travelling.