SBC Summit Latinoamerica: local markets require a ‘local approach’

SBC Summit Latinoamerica explored how crucial it is for businesses to absorb as much local knowledge as possible before entering LatAm markets in the form of partnerships
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It goes without saying that copy and pasting work is a no-go area. Adopting a lazy approach, whether in business or in any life endeavor, generally ends up with abject results. 

This especially rings true in the Latin American gambling markets, where it seems increasingly crucial to adapt product offerings and interaction for each specific market, rather than copy and paste a successful business model from other global markets. 

SBC Summit Latinoamerica explores the importance of local partnerships

SBC Summit Latinoamerica explored how crucial it is for businesses to absorb as much local knowledge as possible before entering LatAm markets in the form of partnerships. 

As Zeno Ossko, CEO at BetWarrior, explained to an SBC Leaders Panel titled ‘How local partners pave the way for international operators’, businesses must secure partnerships with those companies that have specific knowledge on the target market.

Drawing on BetWarrior’s experience in Argentina, Ossko detailed: “For someone that doesn’t have the local knowledge and the local relations relationships, in Argentina and most other countries in LatAm as well, it’s very difficult to operate in those markets or to be successful in those in those markets.

“It’s not like everyone speaks Spanish and Portuguese. It’s one of its own. And those local markets require a very local approach. And this is what you see very successful local companies being active in those markets.”

‘Think global; act local’

Joining Ossko at SBC Summit Latinoamerica was Xabier Maribona, CEO at Grupo Retabet, Paris Smith, CEO at Pinnacle Sports and JD Duarte, CEO at Betcris.

Duarte doubled down on the notion that local partnerships are a necessity, a prerequisite for success – in Latin America, stressing that businesses must ‘think global; act local’. 

“You always need local partners, either in retail or online,” Duarte explained: “You’re gonna have partners even if you don’t consider them formal partners. I mean your talents, in the end, are a big partner.

“The other thing is, depending on what market you’re in, if you’re trying to come in and just offer everyone the same product, you won’t be able to really differentiate yourself from the competition, and you’re not speaking the same language. 

“So, in order to properly analyze the product and the experience, you need local partners and you need local people. And we’ve probably said this many, many times, but you need to think global; act local.”

B2B partnerships

Coming at the topic from a B2B angle, Smith explained that those sportsbook partnerships are more complex as the partners must fully understand the offerings of specific leagues to offer. 

She also compared the Latin American challenge to when companies first entered Asia, acknowledging that localization is the key to success.

She outlined: “Latin America is much, much more in-depth than that. Every country is different. So from a B2B perspective, to ensure that the local partners that have B2B operations such as Pinnacle Solutions, are working with that they understand before we’re offering a product, that we have all the offerings for the different leagues and specific leagues that are required. So it’s really important to get those relationships early.”

Panel moderator Roberto Regianini, CEO at FBMDS, asked how effective local partnerships were in collecting and analyzing quantitative and qualitative data. 

Bringing her knowledge from Pinnacle experience, Smith replied: “It’s easy enough for somebody to get quantitative but the qualitative, you need that local partner to really supply that. 

“There are so many different components of information; it’s even simple things like getting the right people. In order to get it right, in order to be competitive, you need those partnerships that can really help try and position you. So many local partners currently that are already operating have that jump step ahead.”

It is not just issues surrounding data or other complex issues that can be solved by partnering with local partners, the panel agreed, as cultural differences can be fixed by utilizing that local knowledge. 

Speaking Spanish or Portuguese is not enough to understand the local markets, given the idiosyncrasies associated with each country. 

As Maribona found out, as a Spaniard representing a Spanish brand, entering Peru was not an easy task.

He told the panel: “In our case, in Peru, (the role of the local partner) is to open the retail, sometimes it’s just a matter of finding where to put the shops, how to make them profitable, how to hire the people. And when you get there, as a foreign investor, again, you will know how the country works.”

Underlining the specific differences between different markets, Maribona recalled: “I’m from Spain. Tennis is 50% of life. You go to Peru and nobody watches tennis. But it’s also (in favor of) football, football, football. Some American and North American Sports. 

“You also have one million Venezuelans living in Lima now so, surprisingly, we’re having more and more bets on baseball in Lima.” 

Closing off the session, Rigianini explained that Latin America is a complex region, because, ostensibly, it is more than just one region, with specific differences between each nation. 

He concluded the panel by saying: “Each market is different. It’s a region but it is more than one region as it is not just one market, right?”