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Petra Blixt, CMO Svenska Spel Sport & Casinos
Emil Björnius2023-12-11 13:445 min read

You should always beware of overly confident CMOs

Raised in a "hardcore sales culture", Petra Blixt currently leads the marketing department of Svenska Spel Sport & Casino as CMO. In CMO Insights, she shares her views on how the perception of data-driven marketing will change, the responsibility of betting companies, and her considerations for building a marketing department.

Petra's first job after graduation was at a classic sales company, Vendator. After a few years, she sat as Business Area Manager, leading a team with over 150 salespeople and several large telecom giants as clients.

– At first, I was just happy about having a job in a real office, with a computer and important folders. And meetings! In retrospect, those years were probably a bit of a crash course in leadership. Very fun, of course, but with many moderately motivated employees to deal with in combination with heavy delivery requirements from our customers.

For the past ten years, Petra has worked in digital B2C companies. After Vendator, she went to CMore, part of the TV4 group. Before Svenska Spel she lived with her family for a few years in Malta and worked as marketing director and CMO at the global iGaming company LeoVegas:

– Since we moved back home to Sweden almost four years ago, I’ve been at Svenska Spel, responsible for our sales and marketing organisation at Svenska Spel Sports & Casino. We work with everything from MarTech and site to brand platforms and media buying for brands such as Stryktipset, Oddset and the newly launched casino brand Momang.

The gambling market was regulated in 2019. At that time, Petra was based in Malta, celebrating the fact that LeoVegas had landed a license in the Swedish market. For LeoVegas, the difference mainly was that they had to start paying taxes in Sweden, that new marketing channels opened, and that new requirements were placed on gambling responsibility. Petra elaborates:

– The market has changed enormously since then. Gambling responsibility is handled very differently today at virtually all licensed companies. You cannot work with bonuses (apart from a first welcome bonus), meaning you must deliver better service and a unique gaming experience to keep the customer with your brand longer.


"We always prioritise protecting customers with risky behaviour over our business goals."


An increasingly important issue – which has been raised above all since the reregulation in 2019 is how gambling companies balance the need to be profitable with ensuring responsible gambling. For Petra and Svenska Spel, the issue is something they take very seriously.

– For us, the priority on an overall level is extremely simple. We always prioritise protecting customers with risky behaviour before our business goals. However, in practice, it is difficult to determine what constitutes risk behaviour because it is a very personal and individual experience. For example, a person who spends three hours on a Saturday on our site could be a risk player – or maybe he spends extra time on today's Stryktipset coupon. We need to handle this and make sharp analyses of it. We receive much support in research and have frequent dialogue with our customers, both via the service and in classic telephone conversations with our care communicators.

She continues:

– I respect the fact that some people ask why we should continue with this double standard; why offer gambling at all if we hold gambling responsibility so highly? But you must remember that games are a problem-free pleasure for almost everyone. It is also the case that the Swedish Gambling Authority has a critical mission to protect players from gambling at unlicensed companies that do not comply with Swedish legislation and that instead systematically exploit players with risky behaviour. Among other reasons, that is why it is necessary that we can offer games on a legal, safe and reliable license market.

The role of the CMO

We talk about the role of the CMO, how it has changed in recent years, and how Petra thinks the role will change. Petra points out that it is difficult to generalise but gives her best guesses:

– I guess you will work even closer to CX and product development than today. In addition, the expectations of what our enormous amounts of data can provide in actual business value will increase. At the same time, I hope you will better assess your industry and your unique business and adapt your expectations and strategies accordingly.

She continues:

– I think that CMOs who unquestioningly trust their models will find it difficult. For example, everyone understands that it is only possible to know the exact Marketing ROI if you are a brand new player in a new market operating in a few digital channels, regardless of what the dedicated supplier of attribution – or econometric models promises. So, in other words, I think CMOs will be cooler about answering "I don't know, but my best guess is..." a little more often. You should always beware of overly confident CMOs.

Svenska Spel has made significant moves when it comes to media purchases, from linear TV to, among other things, audio and OLV, as consumers' media habits have changed. Petra also says that other trends that have affected them in recent years have involved investing in technology:

– We have invested heavily in our MarTech platform and built a new organisation. We have a competitive advantage in that we already have a substantial share of our prioritised target group in our customer base thanks to our large established brands such as Oddset and Stryktipset. Therefore, we must be extremely good at using our customer data to exploit that fully.
When asked what is essential to consider when building a marketing department, Petra answers:

– I believe your most important job as a leader in any team is to ensure that you only have sharp team members with great self-leadership and self-distance. If you have it in place, which I am enormously proud and happy that we have, you come a long way with just pointing out a clear direction, being transparent, and actively contributing to a culture where it is okay to make many mistakes. The right employees know the right decision to make in any given situation as long as they are sufficiently informed and have a clear view of the goal.

Petra concludes:

– Regarding working methods, we work closely in cross-functional teams with tech, product, design, etc. We work according to agile principles, such as failing fast and constant iterating. Still, we have chosen to apply only a partially agile organisational structure to sales and marketing. No way is perfect, but we get more out of a more pragmatic approach where we organise as needed to efficiently deliver business objectives. The downside is that it's a very difficult organisational chart to draw on paper.


Emil Björnius

Emil works as a senior content marketing manager at Aimfor. Get in touch with him if you want help with moving your brand with storytelling.