Annemarie Browne of Lotto NZ

After winning Marketer of the Year at the 2020 TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards a year ago, Annemarie Browne reflects on marketing in a pandemic, embracing the needs of customers and tapping into emotion with ‘Imagine’.

On being named 2020’s Marketer of the Year 

It was very special to win this award last year. I have the privilege of leading the Marketing team at Lotto NZ, but I’m very lucky to have an amazing group of people around me who are instrumental in bringing the marketing strategy to life. I believe there’s never been a better time to be a marketer. The breadth of skill and curiosity required to manage your way through the constant change in our industry means you need to keep learning and trying new things to keep up. Understanding the motivations that affect human behaviour is fascinating and having a role where you can impact those behaviours is incredibly interesting and a lot of fun. 

On marketing during a pandemic

The surprising thing about last year was that although the where and when of how consumers purchased changed, what they wanted to buy did not. When lockdown happened, we presumed that with retail stores closed, New Zealanders would stop buying their Lotto tickets; however, much to our surprise, they instead transitioned straight online in huge numbers – no one was going to miss out on their chance to win Powerball because of a lockdown. Then when we were allowed back out and about, while some players stayed online, many moved straight back to their previous in-store buying habits. Humans are by nature creatures of habit, which means behavioural change can take a very long time. Jeff Bezos recently challenged businesses to build their strategy around what won’t be changing in the next 10 years. Interesting! 

On new partnerships

In the past few years, we’ve been building a core team of partners to support our marketing journey. With increased complexity in our sales and media channels, we now require a much higher level of alignment from all partners to bring everything together from a customer point of view. These areas include product and feature development, customer journey mapping, data strategy, creative and media. Our partners working together in a very open and collaborative way has helped us optimise all our channels and prioritise the most important things. 

On data usage & privacy concerns

You only need to jump on social media for a minute to see that people are increasingly fed up with being over-targeted and barraged with messaging they have no interest in seeing. We have to start listening to our customers and embrace the changes ahead. If we don’t respect people’s right to privacy, regulation will do it for us, or consumers who are becoming increasingly savvy will simply remove themselves. 

On the implications of a cookie-less world

Right now, I’m not sure anyone can honestly say they know what the impact will be. Over the next 12 months, while we’re all clamouring to find a new customer identifier that’ll enable us to continue with our traditional targeting, new ideas on how we do this more effectively will no doubt emerge. Understanding all the data that’s important to meet your business needs is the first step. We’re developing a new data strategy to ensure we have a clear picture of what data we actually require and how we can effectively use it to drive the right behaviours, be it selling tickets or preventing potential harm. 

On paper vs digital tickets

There’s just something special and a little bit lucky about having that printed yellow ticket safely tucked into your wallet. From the excitement of choosing your numbers, to the moment when the retailer wishes you good luck as they hand over your ticket, to the anticipation of watching them check your numbers to see if you’ve won, there’s no doubt that printed over digital is the winner when it comes to experience. Our challenge is to make the digital ticket experience equally exciting; you’ll note the ticket is yellow on MyLotto as well. Who knows, one day Lotto might hologram our live-draw presenter into your lounge to announce the winning numbers to you in person! 

On ‘Imagine’…

It’s the power of dreaming that drives Lotto’s brand salience with players. For the past decade, the ‘Imagine’ brand positioning has enabled us to embed Lotto/Powerball as a loved part of Kiwi culture, tapping into emotional over rational thinking, successfully driving the growth of our core product. Supported by wonderfully creative storytelling by our agency DDB, it has New Zealanders looking forward to the next instalment, forming a deep connection with the characters who feel like everyday Kiwis. And if they can win, maybe you can too. 

On the latest instalment

In a world where we could potentially go into lockdown at any time, what could be better than four good friends locked down in Antarctica for six months? For many New Zealanders, it’s the anticipation and dreaming before you check your numbers that provides the biggest payoff from buying a Lotto ticket. Until that moment, who knows? You might be the winner. The new campaign is full of great characters demonstrating a range of emotions and ambitions that we hope will connect with what’s important to New Zealanders: family, friends and our beautiful environment. Maybe because we’re so close to Antarctica, New Zealanders feel a special connection to it. When the agency pitched the idea, it just felt right. 

On personalisation and tapping into emotion

Mass personalisation is an oxymoron. We have to be careful about what we call personalisation because targeting an individual can start to verge on creepy. At Lotto NZ, we sell gambling products, so we have to be particularly careful about which emotions we’re dialling up – dreaming is fine, over-hyping winning is not. Playing our games should always be fun, so this is the emotion we want to tap into, and there’s no end to the number of contextual and creative ways we can do this, positive ways that are relevant to people’s behaviour, without going too far. 

On long-term thinking

Depending on your business model, long-term thinking today feels more like three years than the five to 10 we would previously have planned. Looking back at what’s happened recently, it would have been almost impossible to predict the changes that have occurred, and there’s so much more to come in the next few years. In addition to potential digital measurement and regulatory changes, we’re facing the possibility of significant changes to the local linear TV market. For brands like Lotto NZ, these changes can have huge implications. To help us prepare for the impact of these changes, we’re working with our partners to plan out future scenarios of where audiences will be available and how we can most effectively reach them. Then we can make adjustments over time, in line with consumer movements. 

On winning numbers

Mine are 4, 29, 10, 14, 6, 33. I’ll let you know when they come in!

This article was originally published in the September/October 2021 issue of NZ MarketingClick here to subscribe.

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