Don't be afraid to make mistakes

  • Alina Yakirevich
    Marketing Director, Fonbet
    5 years in the company: rose from trainee to marketing director.
    There are 60 people in the team.

Alina, what do you do at Fonbet?
— I'm the Marketing Director, reporting directly to the CEO and shareholders of our company. I deal with the issues of attracting and retaining customers, I also participate in the formation of the product.

We have the right approach to marketing - the team is involved in the discussion of many processes. We are like strikers in a football team – we take a proactive role in achieving the goals of the company.
How are you budgeting?
– I'm planning for the season. From the middle of July, when the Russian Premier League starts, until the end of July next year. That isn't a calendar year. I know that not all bookmakers do this. This is very convenient and logical, since 90% of our expenses and activities are tied to sports events.

We usually agree on a budget for 12 months, while large contracts with the media and sports are long-term - for 5 years or more. We regularly review the reports of foreign companies.
Why exactly the foreign ones?
— Because ours don't publish detailed reports, while foreign ones have everything. This is a certain benchmark - we look at what percentage of their profits is allocated to marketing. This is necessary to understand whether we are spending adequate money.
How do you divide the budget into online and offline?
– Fonbet is both the largest network of clubs and online betting platforms. More customers are now playing online, however, it's very important that offline and online businesses move in the same direction in terms of service, product quality and creative campaigns.

Two years ago, I only dealt with digital, and other people who reported directly to the CEO were responsible for offline and sponsorship. There was no one positioning integrated into all channels of the advertising campaign. And when there are such high marketing costs, it is simply necessary that everything works in synergy.

It was the first global task in the new position - to build one brand concept, idea, etc.
Do you have inhouse creativity?
— No, we outsource it and hold tenders for creative campaigns.
I'm convinced that a strong creative won't be within the same company. Creative people need new challenges, they cannot work on one brand.
And digital inside?
— Yes. We have a specific industry: it will take a long time for the agency to figure out.
How do you generally feel about expertise in our market?
— Bookmakers have recently been allowed to advertise. And everyone began to come with "Give money" proposals. They came either without any idea or with those that cannot be implemented by law or with those that are irrelevant to the bookmaker. Few people understood how we work, what a lead is for us and, in general, the psychology of a betting shop client. And I can't teach everyone and spend time explaining. Then I wrote an article about what is forbidden to use bookmakers in advertising and what is not. Now I throw it off before meeting with the agencies so that they read it. I hope this benefits both parties.
Персонализация - глобальный бренд
60 people in the team. The average marketing director reports to 6-16 people. How did you come to this?
— All are divided by functionality. For example, we have departments that deal with CRM, offline marketing, telecom, PR, SMM, digital, digital tools, etc.

12 people work on content. They write texts for social networks, sports media, which we develop.

It was difficult after the division into teams already inside marketing. Conventionally, only I learned how to manage people, how it was necessary to teach team leads, how to manage their team. Many of them had no managerial experience and grew up in the company.

How to get into your team? What do you value in employees?
Honesty. I can forgive a lot and give a second chance, but it isn't permissible to deceive and deliberately hide your mistakes in work.
Any problem can be solved as long as we openly talk about it. If you're wrong, just say it, don't make excuses. Everyone is wrong. As my leader said: "Whoever did the most, made the most mistakes." To err is normal.
We encourage criticism. I have seen several examples when the leader reaches a certain level, and the team is afraid and agrees to any nonsense. Therefore, I would rather be argued with than flattered.

We are looking for active people who want to develop, invest energy in a common cause. We work as a team, we do not tolerate toxicity - this is when people constantly complain without offering a solution to the problem.

Fonbet is a great opportunity for those who work here.
How do you hire employees? What should be the expertise?
— When I'm looking for people, I definitely need someone who is smarter than me in some way. This is very important in work - to be able to say that you don't know something and that someone knows better. And trust him.

I don't really understand when they hire specialists, and then they "live off" all the time.
How did you become the marketing director of a company by the age of 26, which, according to open data, has a revenue of 9.7 billion rubles?
— I was lucky that I had no experience before Fonbet. When I was still a strzher, I took on all the tasks. On my own initiative, I communicated and helped many departments on weekends. I wanted to understand all business processes. I always knew that I wanted to work in gambling and betting.
What attracts you personally in the company?
— Here they give a lot of freedom, in the good sense of the word. This is why I love Fonbet very much. There are many possibilities here. It's very important for me to offer ideas, propose a plan for achievement and soon implement my plans.

But by the way, it turned out that some people do not need such freedom. Not everyone is ready to take on a lot of responsibility. A lot of people who come to work want a stable income, perform their fixed duties well, they do not need explosive growth or a lot of room for creativity. I understand and respect this position, by the way, these people are the basis, without which the company cannot hold out.
Какие критерии показателей должны быть у экспериментов?
What do you like about this industry?
— I just make bets myself, I use this product myself. Now, few people in the company install, and we should understand the entire user journey. Therefore, we allocated a budget for this so that employees place bets like ordinary customers. I usually bet with competitors - just to check what's new, how they communicate with me. I give my colleagues a parallel: if we worked at Coca-Cola, and half of the employees had never tried the drink. Could we make an advertising campaign "The holidays are coming"? Yes, never in my life. We wouldn't understand what it is.

Therefore, I probably succeeded because I understand this business, I understand what most clients need.
How did your career path begin?
— I came to Fonbet as an intern. My manager at that time was engaged not only in marketing, but also in issues such as business development. He gave me tasks like "conclude a contract with an international organization to combat falsification in sports." And this is the first time you hear about it. But you take and do, you learn. I have never been embarrassed by what I have never done. And why should it bother you at all?

At some point, I became so interested in getting to know the business that I began to go to other departments, talk with colleagues who work with the product, and fulfill some of their instructions. This helped me dive deeper into all the processes.
Over the 5 years of your career path, you have grown a lot. What were the mistakes?
— Over time, I realized that we should not be afraid to make mistakes. At school, I was an excellent student, I also came to work to get fives and, if something didn't work out, I got upset. The worst thing is not to knock on the door, not even go in and try.

My personal mistake is that I hired friends. I love them, but I will never hire them again. It is difficult to switch from friendships to work relationships.
What are you most proud of?
— My team. We sometimes have someone leave for their own reasons (burn out, want to try something else), and then come back, because they understand that there is nothing better. There were five such people. At some point, I realized that it energizes me, and I live for this - so that my team is happy, so that people develop.

From the last one, I am proud of myself that I figured out eSports in three months. Learning new things helps me not feel burned out because I've been with the company for a long time. Motivate new challenges. This is what energizes me - to do something with my hands, to understand new things myself, to swing my hard skills too.
What is your favorite campaign?
— The one that we did with the World Cup last year as part of the sponsorship of the Russian national team. We weren't sponsors of the World Cup, but the publicity gave the impression that we were. The study showed that we were considered TOP-4 sponsors of the World Cup in Russia.
What would you recommend?
— I would like to tell young specialists not to be afraid to prove themselves, to take on new challenges, responsibility and to come to their leadership with the initiative. If there is no person in the team that you want to be like, then you need to leave this company. A lot depends on the leader.

Don't be afraid to speak your mind, value yourself, do what you love.
Photo: Unsplash.com