Ladbrokes' marketing boss on being the new boy at work

Kristof Fahy is chief marketing officer at Ladbrokes
Kristof Fahy is chief marketing officer at Ladbrokes

Right, twice in the past month I have been called seasoned - nicely, I should add. Does that make me officially an old (but obviously wise) marketer? Who knows. What I do know is that, since joining Lad­brokes in January, life has been very busy. As any marketer will know, the first few months in a new role are key to understanding how the business works, the people within it and its ambitions.

Ladbrokes is Britain’s oldest and strongest betting brand. It has an amazing history and is simply a national institution. I want to get Ladbrokes back to being the number-one choice for the betting public. Yet, here we are in March 2016, a few weeks into my new job, and the Ladbrokes brand is just not sure what it is; I think we have simply forgotten who we are. We have relied on the pure strength of our name alone. So one of my first tasks is to establish a clear and simple positioning for Ladbrokes that we get behind and drive through the business.

Loving the numbers

I may have got a bit carried away in my first few weeks. I signed up for every single report I could find. I’ve woken up to find my inbox bursting with numbers and stats from across the business, and it has been very easy to get lost in them. From hourly reports to weekly trackers I could spend all day staring at a barrage of numbers and learning nothing. Working out what was actually useful and helpful has been an interesting task – and then, just when you think you have the right set that will provide the guidance you need… you find another.

Spending time with customers and colleagues is one of the best bits of the job. This past month I have been visiting our shops in London, Glasgow, Dublin and Brussels. It’s so important to understand the shop environment, what our customers like and what we could do better for them. I have spent more than five years in the betting and gaming sector, and since I started, there has been a prevailing view among certain analysts, commentators and some of our competitors that the long-term future of retail is bleak. But here, with a retail business that is strong, our focus is putting the customer at the centre and creating the product around them. Our 2100 shops are key to that and will be one of our competitive advantages.

Team spirit

It’s always interesting to join a business and work with an established team. I am really impressed with the team here – smart, bright and tenacious. I have yet to throw a question or idea at them and  not get a good and considered response. They have helped educate me in the ways of Ladbrokes while welcoming new ideas and ways of doing things. So, a big thank you to them.

Undoubtedly, one of the best parts of working in betting and gaming is the pace. We will offer more than 15,000 betting opportunities every day. If you love sport and to be part of what’s going on, then there is no better place to work. And, of course with the Cheltenham Festival, the National, potentially one of the most interesting Premiership run-ins for a few years – oh, and don’t forget Euro 2016 – that’s the first six months done. And a lot to look forward to.

This month I have also been involved with The Marketing Academy. I have been lucky enough to be a mentor since Sherilyn Shackell set it up, and I always look forward to those sessions. It’s a great oppor­tunity to listen, help, suggest and, hopefully, provide a view or insights and share your experience. After each session, I always reflect on the people who have helped me along the way – with a brilliant bit of advice, a pointer, or just hearing me out. It’s also a reminder of the strength of the young talent out there in the wider marketing world.

Kristof Fahy is chief marketing officer at Ladbrokes. @kpf1970

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