feature: sky bet careers – chloe williamsBack
The Sky Bet website lists an A-Z of sports markets, from football to volleyball, from horse racing to curling. The opportunities for a flutter can be overwhelming, so it helps to know where to start. That’s where Chloe Williams can help.
Chloe’s job is marketing Sky Bet’s products, to make sure that punters know what’s available and when. If you’ve got an account and are wondering where to place your bets this weekend, Chloe will be emailing you to let you know what the big games or races are, and where offers are available to boost your chances.
“We don’t get too targeted with our communications,” said Chloe. “We stay quite broad – there won’t be a lot of people betting on volleyball! But we do offer a wide range of sports, and even have markets on the winner of I’m a Celebrity or X Factor, which go down well with our customers.”
Friday afternoons are among the busiest times, making sure customers know what’s coming up in the weekend’s sport. “A lot of our business revolves around football, and the big horse racing is on the weekend as well, so there are at least twelve different emails I have to sign off on a Friday – approving the content, making sure there are no spelling mistakes and checking the links.”
Chloe also has to make sure Sky Bet are finding the right offers to pull in customers, and combining with content teams to make sure the website is interesting and relevant.
“We give different customers different offers and try to tailor it to them.” said Chloe. It’s a more engaging process when it’s a conversation. “We always want to speak to customers about their favourite sports, so for example The Ashes that are on at the moment. England aren’t doing very well so far, but we want to speak to the fans about how the cricket’s going and show them what markets we’ve got.”
Then there is the follow up side – making sure that customers get the right rewards from the offers they take part in. “Our main offer at the moment is the Free Bet Club, where if people place a £5 accumulator at odds of 5/1 or more, they get a free £5 bet. It’s a kind of loyalty scheme that people stay in every week, that’s been going since the start of the season and has gone down really well with our customers.
“Unfortunately it’s quite a long process for us to make sure everything is alright and credit those free bets on a Monday morning. A lot of our offers credit automatically, but with this one we have to check we’re crediting the right customers and it can take a bit longer than we’d like.” Anything free is always popular, so Chloe has to get the free £5 bets credited as soon as possible for customers who want it for the match that night.
Chloe came to Sky Bet on a part time placement in her final year of university. “I did sports marketing and public relations, so it’s a perfect fit. Another girl on my course was working here and said they were looking for people, so I applied. I think the placement was only meant to be a couple of weeks, but I ended up working here for a year and then was offered the job full time when I graduated.
“A lot of my friends who did placements at other places ended up being the dogsbodies who were making cups of tea and photocopying and stuff, but here I was given quite a lot of responsibility early on. It was good to be encouraged to get more involved, and that meant the transition to a full time job wasn’t too hard. Although going from three days to Monday to Friday was quite strange – getting up on a morning was pretty difficult at first!”
The responsibilities Chloe was given on her placement included working on the popular Fantasy Football game, and the then new concept of the Super 6 game. “I could really see the potential in Super 6, and that there was a lot to get out of it – and obviously it’s absolutely huge now, all over Sky Sports will Jeff Stelling and proving really popular. It’s good to have been involved in that from the early days and to help it grow.
“It was great when Super 6 was in no. 1 in the App Store at the start of the season, beating Plants vs Zombies, to think – I’ve worked on that. It’s sort of weird seeing something that you’ve worked on and put a lot of effort into is actually paying off like that, but it’s also really nice.”
A success story like that doesn’t pass by without being celebrated at Sky Bet. “A lot of people are involved in a project like that, from marketing to product to customer care,” said Chloe. “Everyone has an interest and so there were a lot of emails going around congratulating people. And every Thursday we do what’s called a Roulette Wheel, where everybody gathers in a presentation area and somebody does a presentation to either celebrate something we’ve done or say what’s coming up. That’s quite a nice thing for everybody.”
Unless you’re the one presenting, that is. “I’ve done one, and I really, really hated it! It was me and Joe who worked on Super 6, and while I’m quite confident in giving presentations to small groups, to 300 of my colleagues – it was weird. We had to wear those microphones that Britney Spears wears, I felt like I was going to break into some dance moves any second. I was very relieved afterwards, although it did go a lot better than I had expected.”
Communication and team building are important in a company that is taking off like Sky Bet, which has expanded from floor to floor of its Wellington Street offices in the last eighteen months. “We’ve grown quite quickly as a business,” said Chloe, “and it does get difficult sometimes when you’ve got to speak to someone and you’ve never met them before.” Both team specific and company wide events are organised as often as possible, like a game of It’s A Knockout on the grassed areas behind the offices. “Things like that really help. And they do the Sky Fair, with our colleagues at Sky Sports over the road and at the Sky call centre, where every summer there’s free food and drink and we get to play on the waltzers. There are a lot of benefits to working here!
“It sounds really cheesy, but we’ve got a great mix of people – it’s quite a young office and it’s quite casual and welcoming, people aren’t just sat there in a stuffy office. You work across quite lot of different things. Obviously I’ve got my own role but it’s always interlinking; we often all help out on Grand National day when the call centre is inundated.”
That work atmosphere keeps Chloe happy with life at Sky Bet, although she has her eye on a different role in the future. “I’ve developed a lot in the last couple of years and want to carry that on at Sky Bet. But I might like one day to work for an organisation or governing body like England Hockey; I’m interested in the development side of sport, grass roots sport and seeing hockey played in communities.
“I really like the sponsorship side of things as well, so the sponsorships Sky Bet have started doing have really helped me. There’s the Football League and Leeds United, and we’re sponsoring a race at the Cheltenham Festival as well, and a lot of that has been tied into my job and I’ve been able to help out. I helped a lot with organising ticket giveaways with the Football League, there was a lot of demand for those – the first email offer had my telephone number at the bottom, and the phone was ringing all day!”
The ambition to one day help promote England Hockey combines with a love of playing it. “I’ve been playing for Leeds Adel for a couple of years now,” said Chloe. “I played hockey at university and it was good to get into another hockey team – a girl from work introduced me to it. I captain the threes team; I think there are four ladies and six guys teams up there, so it’s quite a big, social club. I prefer the playing part though; I plan every Saturday around playing hockey. I like getting involved; I don’t shy away from any roughing about.”
There’s no rush to start marketing Leeds Adel hockey club, with enough to do at Sky Bet to keep Chloe occupied. “There is a lot of organisation involved; working with the traders to make sure we’ve got the best odds out there for the customers, and making sure everybody is aware of what we’re going so the platforms will be stable enough when all these people come on the website to take part in an offer.” Then comes one of the satisfying parts of the job for Chloe – watching the analytics software to see just how successful an offer has been.
That can also lead to some tense moments: as with all bets, there’s a strong element of risk involved. For a customer that could mean a big win, but for a betting company it can mean a big payout. “There’s not a lot we can do about that,” said Chloe. “For instance a couple of football results didn’t go our way on Saturday, but we made that back with Manchester United drawing against Cardiff on Sunday, and with the Manchester City win against Spurs.”
While it might give the accounts people a headache, from a marketing point of view a big winner means good publicity. “We have had a £250,000 Super 6 winner this year, and we give away £5,000 every week,” said Chloe. Even so, everyone gets wrapped up in it when the big money is at stake. “There are a few times when we all sit with our fingers crossed, hoping these big bets don’t come in!”
That could, after all, affect the budget for the Sky Bet Christmas panto. “I’m not auditioning!” said Chloe. “I don’t know if it’s Cinderella or Little Red Riding Hood, but no, I’m not getting on stage. I might hold the cards up telling people when to laugh, but that’s it!”