Since being founded in 1886 Ladbrokes fortunes have waxed and waned. Nevertheless, today it is one of the strongest players in the betting market with licensed bookies in most British city centres, as well as many towns, as well as a website and app that allow players to place their bets from just about anywhere. The company enjoyed great success until the Second World War, which bought with it an expected decline in the number of punters placing bets, as well as the size of those bets. The post-war economic downturn only compounded the company’s woes.
Photo by Jan Jernmark
Ultimately a series of questionable and arguably outdated management decisions saw the company sold in 1956 for £100,000; a considerable sum at the time that equates to just over £2,290,700 in today’s money. Since then Ladbrokes has built its fortunes once again and the only sign of any hesitation in its growth has been its downgrading from the FTSE 100 to the FTSE 250. The last decade, during which time smartphones have become a mainstay of British life, has seen a dramatic shift in attitudes towards gambling as well as how consumers prefer to approach placing bets. In accordance with these changes, Ladbrokes has developed a marketing strategy to match the times.
The biggest change in Ladbrokes Marketing Strategy has been to emphasise its digital offerings; both its app and its website. In 2013, Ladbrokes issued a warning to shareholders that it was anticipating lower than expected profits, in large part because of disappointing performance from its e-gaming division. Overall, profits from this sector were less than half what was initially forecast. In the interceding years, Ladbrokes have refocused their marketing efforts in the hope of boosting the performance of the e-gaming division. This strategy has so far proved successful and, following a change of CEO and a merger with the Gala Coral group (creating the largest bookmakers in Britain), performance in the e-gaming sector has perked up considerably.
Awareness of the potential for gambling to form a destructive addiction is now understood better than ever before and the last several years have seen the introduction of regulations designed to ensure that gamblers are aware of the risks and that casinos, bookmakers etc. understand that they have certain obligations towards vulnerable customers. Increased awareness of this has altered public perceptions, and consequently ensuring that there is a sense of trust between the public and Ladbrokes has become even more important.
Ladbrokes are currently two years into their three year marketing plan, which, in addition to broadening their online offerings, is intended to drive up footfall in brick and mortar stores both in the UK and Australia, the company’s two main markets. The strategy is thus far proving successful with Ladbrokes reporting increased profits last year, helped in part by its becoming the official betting partner of the FA.
Ladbrokes continues to move from strength to strength and if its current performance is any indication then it would appear that its latest marketing strategy has been a resounding success.