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Prior to joining bet365, you spent two years as the marketing officer for The Dove Service, a charity that helps people suffering from loss and life-changing illness. It sounds like a fantastic charity Ė can you tell us a little bit about your work there?
It is a fantastic charity which does some vital work in Staffordshire where the charity is based. My role as marketing officer had a variety of marketing-based tasks. Prior to my appointment, no marketing officer had been in place so I was starting with a blank canvas and the first thing I did was to create a concise marketing strategy to give the charity a clear direction of where it wanted to be. Included within this strategy was developing the charityís presence on social media, being proactive and attending networking events in order raise awareness of the charity, develop the website into an effective marketing tool and develop the sales training courses.

What have you learned about bet365 and the industry in general since becoming a part of it?
I already knew quite a bit about bet365 as it is a company in the same city where I grew up. Itís amazing to see how far the company has come in such a short time and I feel privileged to now be a part of it. Although in my opinion you can never have enough knowledge about your profession, I do feel my role at bet365 means that I am extremely well placed to be able to remain at the forefront of the online poker industry. I feel as though I am best placed to serve poker affiliates in our industry as a result of areas I am associated with in the bet365 business.

The affiliate marketing industry is very fast paced and no day in the office is the same, which is great as I thrive of the diversity of the role. Itís certainly an exciting industry to be in and one in which you have to ensure you are performing to the best of your ability in order to enhance your working relationships with affiliates and colleagues.

How different is marketing for a charity from marketing for an Internet gaming company? Any ways in which it is the same?
The two are very different but there are all also some similarities. Charity marketing is all about ensuring that people in your target market know who you are and the cause you are supporting by using a range of different mediums. In the Internet gaming marketing industry you are representing an international brand and you need to ensure that your marketing efforts are carried out to the best of your ability.

The similarities come in the form of looking at and seeing how websites can be developed to become more effective marketing tools. One of my roles in charity marketing was to look at the website and see where it needed improving while working within a restricted budget. This allowed me to take this experience into my affiliate marketing role and develop it further.

When you were studying at the University of Chester did you ever picture yourself working in the gaming industry?
I have always had an interest in the online gaming industry due to my keen interest in poker and sports, so this industry is the perfect fit for my passions. I feel as though having a career in an industry that you are passionate about brings out peak performance because you are doing something that you enjoy. I also actively bet on football, and placing accumulators on Saturday afternoons definitely makes an already enthralling sport all the more interesting. Donít ask for me any tips, though; a win doesnít come around too often.

Your focus is on bet365's poker product, correct? Are you a poker player yourself? If so, when did you start playing?
Yes, my main focus is on the bet365 poker product. I do play poker but not as much as I used to due to work and other commitments. I first got into poker playing with friends at each otherís houses every Thursday when I was in sixth form. Once I started university I began playing online poker once a week. I found it quite exciting to do so and although I didnít spend or win big I certainly managed to pay for a few student nights out with my winnings, which is always useful at university.

bet365 was recently named the Best Affiliate Program for Poker at the iGB Affiliate Awards. What does that recognition mean to bet365? And how will it help you recruit new affiliates to promote your product?
First itís a great award for bet365 to receive as we have never won this award before. It shows how far the bet365 poker product has come in terms of development and attracting affiliates to promote the product to their users. Itís a massive marketing tool for bet365 to use as affiliates will now want to promote the poker product even more due to winning this award. This award is testament to the hard work put in by the affiliate team; myself; Alexander Carr, who was the poker affiliate manager before I started; and the poker product team, who all strive to ensure the bet365 Poker Affiliate Program is the best it can be.

bet365 is part of the iPoker Network, which ranks anywhere from second to fourth in PokerScout's online traffic report in any given week. But even so, the iPoker Network's poker traffic amounts to just 10 percent of what PokerStars draws. How difficult is it to compete in online poker when there is one dominant market leader?
The online poker market is a very competitive market to be in, but in order to be the best you have got to compete with the best. I feel winning the Best Poker Affiliate Program will give bet365 a bigger foothold in the market as affiliates will recognize this and it could therefore help to attract new players to bet365 through additional promotion. With winning this award bet365 now has to keep up the hard work that has been done over the past 12 months and continue to improve the poker product. Weíre confident that we can emulate the past year and surpass the success which we have already achieved.

What were your first impressions of the GPWA as an Affiliates Manager? And how does the GPWA fit into bet365's marketing efforts?
My first impression of the GPWA is that it provides a valuable and crucial platform for affiliates and operators to communicate with each other. Forums are a very important tool for affiliates and many affiliates use a forum on their sites. The social aspect of forums acts as a genuinely unique selling point for affiliate websites and this is the same for the GPWA. Having a place where both affiliates and operators can have discussions about related topics is crucial for the success of the industry. A good example is very recently I responded to a query from an affiliate on the GPWA website in order to assist them with an issue they were having. Communicating with the affiliate was quick and easy, allowing us to resolve the issue in a timely manner, which the affiliate appreciated, especially due to all of the information I was able to provide to them.

It's one thing to bring in a new person to a site. It's another thing entirely to get them to stick around. What does bet365 do to retain players sent by affiliates, particularly in regards to poker?
At bet365 we have a great CRM model which allows us to retain players on all platforms. One of the key aspects to the success of bet365 is not only our ability to attract players but also retain them once they have first played at bet365. Each product has its own unique ways of retaining customers with different promotions and processes. We also have a fantastic customer retention team in place within the business.

In regards to poker we have numerous ongoing promotions which appeal to our customers. One of the main retention promotions bet365 offers is the VIP Scheme. This is where players can build up merit points whenever they play poker for real money, on both cash tables and tournaments. The more merit points which are built up the greater the loyalty award. We get really good feedback from players using this promotion and it certainly assists bet365 in retaining players by rewarding them through this promotion.

bet365 Affiliates offers partners a 30 percent flat commission on all referred players. Some affiliate programs offer larger commissions to affiliates that bring in a high volume of players or higher revenue. Why did bet365 decide to go with a flat commission rate?
This was a decision that was made when the bet365 Affiliate Program was first set up and we feel it was the right decision to make. For the past five years bet365 has won the Best Overall Affiliate Program and this award mirrors the fact that affiliates are happy with the bet365 product and want to continue to work on this commission rate. Affiliates enjoy great success while being on a 30 percent commission revenue deal and these successes are in a great position to continue for many years.

How much crossover do your poker players have in other gaming verticals offered by bet365? Do poker players also play casino games and bet on sports? Or do your poker players tend to only play poker?
At bet365 we are keen to promote cross-product development as much as possible. We want to ensure that bet365 appeals to all online players and that they can find everything they want at bet365. In terms of poker players we see that a lot of them also like to bet on sports. This is the most popular cross-product for poker players, which is great for the overall success of the business. Although sports is the most popular cross-product for poker players to use, bet365 also sees poker players using the casino product. Within the poker product there is a wealth of casino games giving poker players a taste of what the casino product has to offer. These casino games are a great way of getting poker players to also transition to the casino product, which in turn provides them with a whole host of other promotions and opportunities.

Describe the office culture at bet365. If there were a fly on the wall, what are some of the topics of conversation it would hear about at the water cooler?
The bet365 affiliate department is very much a team. We are all in close quarters with each other and we all help each other with different queries, which really produces a great atmosphere in the department. General conversations include the football results from the past weekend or the upcoming matches. We have a wide range of different football fans in the office so there is some good banter. The team is also a very sociable one, so upcoming nights out are also a topic that regularly get discussed.

With so much going on in the department there are always work-related discussions occurring. As I am sure you are aware the sporting calendar is packed each year with massive events which can certainly help drive traffic to affiliatesí websites, not to mention all of the other customer promotions for all products. These events and promotions enable the affiliate team to discuss and try new things with affiliates in order to keep things fresh on their websites. The office atmosphere is most definitely a hub of excitement and eagerness to perform the best we can.

What do you know about the industry now that you wish youíd known when you first started?
Before joining, my knowledge of the iGaming Industry was limited in comparison to where it is now. Since I started working as an affiliate manager I have learned a great deal more about our industry.

The landscape of our industry is constantly changing. Due to the rate of this growth and development we always must ensure that we are constantly acquiring knowledge, adapting as a result of this, and applying this adaptation to our work with affiliates, in order to ensure that performance and results continue to remain at optimum levels.

In terms of what I wish I would have known, the answer would be everything! Understanding each of the different products and their markets, how to maximize the results for affiliates, the technology that underpins all of this, and so on and so forth. Knowing all of this (and more!) would have been welcomed, but thankfully I have been given an opportunity that has enabled me to now know all of this in order to apply this to my profession every single day.

How do you ensure that payments are sent out on time? And when do your payments go out?
All affiliates are given the Affiliate Accounts Departmentís e-mail address when they sign up. At the end of the month affiliates can send their invoices to this e-mail address for them to be processed and paid. Alternatively affiliates can send their invoices to their affiliate manager, who will then ensure that the invoice is sent and received by the Accounts Department. Payments are sent out as soon as possible and our Accounts Department works incredibly hard to ensure that affiliates are paid in good time.

Where do you think the industry will be in five years?
I think the industry will continue to grow and be even bigger in five yearsí time. At bet365 we constantly see an influx of new applications from people wanting to be affiliates. A lot of people realize that it is a successful industry and they want to be a part of it.

Itís certainly an exciting time to work in the industry and especially at bet365. We are always looking at ways we can improve our affiliate program and keep up with the ever-changing affiliate industry.

Where did you grow up? And how would you describe life in Stoke-on-Trent?
I grew up in Newcastle-Under-Lyme which is just outside of Stoke-on-Trent. Life up North in Stoke is much like life in any city; there are good aspects and the not so good. All of my friends live around here and itís quite central to a few big cities; Manchester and Liverpool are only 45 minutes away on the train, along with Birmingham. Itís certainly in a great location for people to live in. Speaking of people there is a friendly atmosphere around the city and if you stopped and asked for directions, you would get the right ones! Stoke itself is undergoing some big regeneration projects which are very exciting for the future of the city. In the next few years itís being significantly redeveloped and modernized. The city has also been likened to the pride of the Midlands.

If someone from out of town were to visit you, where is the one place you would have to take them?
I would have to say Trentham Monkey Forest; yes, I did say monkey forest. This is a fantastic day out where monkeys are literally walking around, uncaged in a beautiful setting. The monkeys are free to roam around the park and although you are not allowed to touch or feed them you can certainly take some amazing photos of these extraordinary creatures. There are also facilities to do an assault course known as ďAerial ExtremeĒ which allows you to test your nerve on an adventure ropes course. Obviously after this Iím sure an appetite would have been worked up so we would head to get a taste of the local delicacy Ė Staffordshire oatcakes!

What is the last book you read? Did you enjoy it? And did you read it on an e-reader? Or do you need to have a copy of the physical book in your hand?
The last book I read was Steven Gerrardís autobiography. It was a great read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Steven Gerrard is one of my childhood heroes so I was very keen to read this. Itís amazing how he is a Liverpool lad and he is still playing for his boyhood team. I admire his commitment and I feel as though I have the same commitment drive, although not playing for a Premier League team but working for a premier company, I am fully committed to bet365 and performing to the best of my ability.

What is your favorite movie?
This is a tricky one as I have quite a range of favorite films. The best film I have seen recently is The Wolf of Wall Street, so I would say that is my favorite film at the moment. I went to the cinema to watch it and it was incredible. I have always liked Leonardo DiCaprio, and most of the films he has starred in I could watch over and over again Ė okay, maybe not Titanic but certainly his more recent films.

If you had a theme song, what would it be?
Again this is another tough question, but Iím going to choose a song which I grew up on and that is Oasis Ė ďStay Young.Ē I grew up listening to Oasis and this is one of my favorite songs which they did so I think itís fitting that this is my theme song. Back in high school I even had the Oasis-style hair which, when my colleagues found photos of my Oasis self on Facebook, there were a few shocked faces. My dad was the first person who got me into Oasis and since that day I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to them. I have been to see them live on numerous occasions, including in their home town of Manchester, which was something special! I could have picked quite a few Oasis songs but this song is on what in my opinion is their best album, The Masterplan, and it makes you feel good about yourself.

What do you use for most of your web surfing: A desktop computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone?
When Iím at home, I mostly use my iPad; itís a great piece of equipment. It allows you to browse the web anywhere in your house. If not iPad then it would be my iPhone. Iím a big Apple fan, can you tell? I really like the user experience of Apple products; itís so incredibly easy to log on and browse the Internet. Make a product that includes usability, efficiency and durability and youíre onto a winner. I think it is also useful to familiarize yourself with these products as it can help you in your role. Many affiliates are looking at how they can target the mobile and tablet market, so if youíre able to discuss your ideas this will only enhance your relationships.

If we picked up your iPod (or more likely, your iPhone) and pressed play, what song would be playing?
I mainly listen to house music but I do like a bit of indie as well, so out of fairness, I have just gone onto my iPhone, pressed shuffle and the song that came on was Le Youth Ė ďDance with Me.Ē This is quite a popular song at the moment so Iím pleased with my iPhoneís selection. I enjoy house music as I feel it mirrors my personality of being an upbeat person. Listening to house music can certainly lift your mood and when a song comes on that you enjoy this puts a big smile on your face. Being in an upbeat mood helps you perform to the best of your ability and I feel house music certainly helps with this.

If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would you go?
There would be two places but they would be on the same vacation Ė is that allowed? I would go to Las Vegas for a week as this has always been a place I have wanted to visit and then fly over to the Maldives for a relaxation holiday after a hectic week in Vegas. Las Vegas has always fascinated me as it is the gambling capital of the world. I have watched television documentaries on the destination and it just looks amazing and a place that is constantly thriving. The Maldives, however, is the polar opposite. After a week in Las Vegas I would imagine a week on a beach in a secluded location to wind down would be essential. With a few cocktails and a potential fishing trip this would be ideal after a week in Vegas. Where do I sign?!

If you could have dinner with three other people, living or dead, who would they be?
I am a big Liverpool fan so I would have to choose three legends of the game, Kenny Dalglish, Steven Gerrard and the late, great Bill Shankly. As I mentioned previously I am big Liverpool fan so I thought it would be fitting to have a dinner with three of my heroes. It would be great to talk to Bill Shankly about the good old days at Liverpool when we were the dominant force in European football as well as pick Kenny Dalglishís brains on what it was like to be a massive success as a player and as a manager. With Steven Gerrard I would probably be so starstruck I wouldnít know what to say. But Iím sure though that after a few glasses of red wine the conversation would be flowing and numerous photos would have been taken.

What are three things that no one knows about you?
Another tough question. I feel as though I donít really have any incredibly hidden secrets that not many people know about me, I guess I am a very honest and open person. I feel these qualities are the best way to be. I know this is probably not the answer you were hoping for when asking this question! No secrets here, Iím afraid!