Heads of marketing tell it all

Their most memorable marketing moments

 

The Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege has been an international ambassador of the Postcode Lotteries since 2019. For twenty years, at the risk of his own life, the gynaecologist has been working for victims of wartime rape. Often these women were horrifically mutilated. In 2018, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his good work.

The Postcode Lottery Group operates lotteries in the Netherlands, Sweden, Great Britain, Germany and Norway. In our new ‘five countries, one team’ series we talk to team members working in the same area across the different countries. This edition, our six heads of marketing, reflect on their job, their most memorable moments and challenges.

Picture above: Marie-Claire Linz hands out cheques to players at a winners party.

How did you end up with the lottery?
Marie-Claire
: “As a digital consultant I advised the Dutch Postcode Lottery, as one of my clients. When I decided to move to another agency, the lotteries called me immediately. ‘Could you start tomorrow, to help us with our digital transformation?’ they asked. I gladly accepted their offer and soon after that I helped build an online specialist team, and that’s how it all started nine years ago.”

Julie: “I was contacted by a former colleague who had recently joined People’s Postcode Lottery and when I heard about this new lottery model, I was really excited to find out more and join the team. Coincidentally at that same time, the Postcode Millions prize had landed in the town I lived, I took that as a sign that I was meant to take the opportunity.”

Mikael: “I have extensive experience in digital transformation, with paywalls, e-commerce, subscription sales and business development. During my time at one of Sweden's largest magazine publishers, I developed the concept of Landlotten – a new national lottery designed for the countryside. I think it was the combination of all this that made me an attractive addition to the Postcode Lottery team.”

Geert: “I was a contestant on the Dutch TV show Miljoenenjacht. Behind the scenes, I met Imme Rog, who was Managing Director at the time. Unfortunately, I didn't get further than the audience round, but I did become enthusiastic about the lottery and decided to apply for an interim position within the marketing team at the Nationale Postcode Loterij. So, my interview with Imme started with: ‘hey, I know you!’.”

What does working at the Postcode Lottery Group mean to you?
Marie-Claire: “Having a French and Dutch nationality, I like working in an international environment. I am always curious to learn from other cultures and in particular, about new developments. Throughout the pandemic, we started working more closely together as an international marketing team through online meetings. We regularly share ideas and collaborate as much as possible. It’s invaluable!”

Mikael: “We have an important mission, to run a lottery so that we can generate money for non-profit organisations so that they can make the world a better place. I love that. Being responsible for several teams makes my job very varied and gives me the opportunity to meet and work with a lot of talented and committed team members.”

Jessica: “I really appreciate the collaboration and the exchange with my international marketing colleagues, continuously inspiring each other, discussing challenges and –  importantly – having fun together. I love seeing and feeling the spirit of working internationally towards our vision.”

Edward: “It’s so much fun: it’s a playground for every marketeer. The creativity, the size, the ambition, the impact…and knowing that with every ticket sold we make the world a bit better, it gives me so much energy. Norsk Postkodelotteri is the youngest of all the lotteries. We are working with an international team from Sweden and the Netherlands. We can bring the knowledge and ideas from these countries to Norway, but it also works the other way around. Our experience and insights are valuable for the other countries.”

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Marie-Claire Lintz, head of marketing at Nationale Postcode Loterij, the Netherlands. She has been working for the lotteries since 2013, before that she was a senior online consultant.
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Julie Paterson, head of marketing at People’s Postcode Lottery, Great Britain. Prior to joining the lottery in 2010 she was working as a marketing executive.
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Mikael Bergh, head of marketing at Svenska Postkodlotteriet, Sweden. Before joining the team in 2019 he worked for media companies in senior positions.
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Geert Friebel, head of marketing and partners at VriendenLoterij, the Netherlands. Prior to joining in 2012, he worked as an interim marketing manager for a number of leading brands.
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Jessica Scherf, deputy head of marketing at Deutsche Postcode Lotterie, Germany. Before joining the lottery in 2018 she finished a masters in sustainable marketing and leadership.
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Edward Valks, head of marketing at Norsk Postkodelotteri, Norway. Prior to joining the lottery in 2006, he worked for a marketing-communications agency.

Geert: “The lottery's result focused way of working and the dynamics suit me very well. We focus on sales, marketing and entertainment, but it all starts with our mission for a better world. Our enormous funding distribution can make a real difference to people and charities. I enjoy managing a large team. I like to offer people freedom and trust, set clear frameworks and help grow and develop team members by asking them what they want, facilitating and showing them the way.”

What's your most memorable marketing moment?
Marie-Claire: “January 1st, 2021, 2am. It was the final draw of the PostcodeKanjer, after a year of hard work, and in the middle of the pandemic. We had ended the year as a team, tired, but full of adrenaline and with an incredibly satisfied and proud feeling. The last calls, the opening of a bottle of champagne and knowing that we had managed to achieve a fantastic amount of funding for good causes and that later on that same day, a neighbourhood in the Netherlands was going to share millions of euros. I will never forget it.”

Julie: “When I joined in 2010 there were around 100,000 tickets in the draws, we now have over 4.6 million. Back in 2014, it was still early days in the market and we were challenging people’s perception of playing a lottery in this country. I decided to add direct mail into our marketing mix. This hadn’t been a successful marketing channel previously, but with our brand awareness rising, it felt as the right time to re-introduce it. I had a lot of convincing to do to secure the additional budget. The morning the campaign landed, I walked into our customer experience office, and was completely unprepared for the noise as I opened the door. All of the agents were on calls and there were more people waiting in the queues. The agents were buzzing, I got emotional, it had worked! I’ve never forgotten the day direct mail earned its place on the budget line.”

Mikael: “In Sweden we had a very strong Christmas campaign in 2020 which exceeded our sales targets. We got off to an incredibly good start with the entire campaign, all channels delivered very well, and our online sales reached an all-time high.”

Jessica: “In January 2022 our team created a great campaign that was integrated in the TV show Murmel Mania (Marble Mania). With a lot of team spirit we successfully handled the giant workload. We were able to hit lots of new records – ending up with more than 150,000 new subscriptions.”

Geert: “Before I started at the VriendenLoterij, I worked at the Nationale Postcode Loterij and at the Deutsche Postkodloterie. My most memorable marketing moment is the day that I saw the success meter exploding in Germany, after we made our first successful TV commercial.”

Edward: “There are many, but one of my first, was a campaign in 2007 to raise funds for building the cancer centre in Amsterdam. Together with the entire team, we created one of the biggest campaigns in a few months. It was a great success and I think a leading example of what the lottery stands for. Besides this one, the moment that we saw our handout to the charities on national television in Norway last year. A great result of a great team effort.”

 

We have recently celebrated our annual charity events, where we invite the charities to come together. The Postcode Lottery Group raised more funds than ever. How important is marketing in achieving this result and crucially, building on it?

Marie-Claire: “This can't be expressed in words. How to explain to people what €331.9 million means for charities, and that we were able to achieve all of this thanks to three million players in one year in the Netherlands alone? It’s a 24/7 marketing business, to keep our three million players excited, to surprise them and to make them feel special as winners. Our prize plan strategy is extremely important. To sell more tickets and raise more funds for good causes we are always testing and finding different ways to attract new players. Without tickets, we cannot raise funds for charities. So, you could say that without marketing, we could not raise funds for charities.

Julie: “The role of marketing is to acquire as many players as possible, at the lowest cost and to ensure our players remain loyal in order to consistently raise funds for charities.  Brand and product innovation impact all areas of the business. I have first-hand examples of how every single department plays a crucial part in making sure we are consistently successful in achieving our goals.”

Mikael: “Marketing is extremely important. It builds brand awareness, generates sales, and builds a long-term relationship with our players. In Sweden, we also do marketing campaigns which talk about charities and their fantastic work. We can see in our brand tracking that these campaigns generate high engagement among the Swedish. All of which leads to selling tickets.”

Jessica: “It’s great to see that the Postcode Lottery Group raises so many funds for good causes. Therefore, marketing is crucial, as it is our aim to constantly increase our number of new players, keep our existing players, establish our brand in Germany, continuously innovate, always make our players happy – and all of this to scale up our contribution for charities.”

Geert: “It is obvious that marketing activities matter to the amount of funding raised. However, it’s important to mention that at VriendenLoterij our success is due to the solid relationships with our charities, which we call partners. This partnership approach provides us with three success factors: 1) we sell tens of thousands of lottery tickets each year at the entrance of our partners’ attractions, 2) with our partners we develop amazing prizes and experiences and 3) the VIP CARD, which gives our players free entrance at cultural attractions, helps ensure player retention.”

Edward: “The combination of having a chance of winning great prizes and supporting charities at the same time, is unique. I think marketing is key to the fact that our supported charities have received more funds than ever.”

How did your profession change over the course of years?
Marie-Claire: “Much has changed, but the most important one hasn’t, and that’s: to keep your eyes open. You must stay curious and motivated to learn, share knowledge and to explore new developments. We work to attract new talent and people that bring new energy and a fresh vision and who will encourage our teams to try new things with other companies and learn about other ways of working. In my view, that’s the only way to innovate.”

Julie: “I think the principles are still the same but the tools have evolved. I innovate by asking myself: What else? What next? How could that be better? And then usually, it’s when I’m driving, that ideas seem to come to me. I also listen to a few podcasts which help me keep a bigger picture perspective.”

Jessica: “I grew with the different phases of the lottery, which gave me the chance to take over responsibility at a young age. I drive innovation in Germany by giving everyone the chance to present their ideas, to learn from the successes of others, to continuously test new ideas, and think outside of the box to live our core value of being courageous.”

Mikael: “Marketing has become much more data-driven, which I appreciate. Customers use many more platforms nowadays, so it is important to keep track of customer behaviour and adapt on it. We exchange experiences with each other in the international marketing teams, for example, we saw in Sweden that door-to-door worked well in Norway, so we started it again and it has done very well so far. When it comes to digital, we also look at the best case from other successful companies. We hire young digital natives who come in with new perspectives. We dare to try new things and evaluate quickly whether it works or not.”