Meet Caroline | Sponsorship Manager
We went behind the bet with Caroline Davis, Sponsorship Manager working mainly on horse racing sponsorship and also on racecourse activation:
Tell us about your role and what it involves:
My role in a nut shell is to manage the assets of our horse racing sponsorships but to also extract as much value as possible from our association with the events we sponsor. They key is to work with racecourses to build mutually beneficial plans to promote our brand and messages. But more importantly brand the racecourse well and provide additional sponsorship assets like race titles, adverts, trophies, winners rugs/saddle cloths etc.
In July 2018 William Hill took over the betting at an additional 34 racecourses, meaning that we now operate the racecourse betting shops at 41/60 UK racecourses. It was an exciting time for me as it was another way to build relationships with racecourses and therefore a great opportunity to reach even more potential customers through marketing collaboration with the racecourses.
It also makes our racing sponsorship even more relevant and effective because we can now position ourselves as the ‘Leading Racecourse Bookmaker’ through the access we get as sponsors. This is an important message for us …. William Hill himself started at the racecourse and now we are back!
Racing is so important to us and through our horse racing sponsorship and now operating the shops at the majority of UK racecourses, we can reposition ourselves again as one of the big supporters of racing… a sport which so many of us are so passionate about.
As important as it is to work closely with the racecourses, it is just as important for my team and I to work with as many of our own channel owners as possible making sure we are using our sponsorship across as much as the company as possible. For example, ahead of the William Hill St Leger Festival at Doncaster last month, the team and I spent months working with marketing, brand, internal comms, design, social media, sportsbook, press, PR, trading, broadcast and retail teams making sure we were all working together to make the most of our sponsorship of such a prestigious racing event.
I was involved in the local engagement activities we conducted during the Cheltenham and Aintree Festival around our shops local to the racecourses. Painting the towns blue and yellow and creating hype was our objective this year and through a massive team effort we smashed it – our wrap up video and my summary of it at the time can be viewed here … and it won't be long till we start planning this year’s activities. This year, as we have shops at both Cheltenham and Aintree racecourse the opportunities are greater and more exciting.
There’s so much talent and horse racing expertise in William Hill and I really enjoy getting to know more and more people and learning from them and bringing teams together to guarantee the success of our sponsorships.
How do you go one better every day?
By trying to think outside of the box to come up with ways to bring our brand via sponsorship to as many people as possible. For example, I'm always thinking of the non-racing/potential customers as I'm passionate about horse racing and strongly feel that betting is a fun way to introduce people to such an amazing sport. Therefore I worked with trading, marketing and design to produce a ‘simple guide to betting with William Hill at the racecourse’ which has recently been rolled out to racecourse shops. I felt this was an important tool to introduce because at the racecourse we have a fantastic opportunity to engage with a captive audience new to betting. We'll soon be sending this out to all racecourses for them to use as a helpful guide for their customers and therefore introducing them to us!
Can you tell us a bit about your career story?
I joined William hill a year ago now and it came as a result of my desire to continue to work in racing… I used to work for a competitor, Betfred,(before that I worked at Leopardstown Racecourse in Dublin, Ireland) but I knew Betfred’s racing sponsorship and on-course presence was coming to an end so when I got the call from William Hill I jumped at it.
My career highlight was actually at Kelso racecourse but for reasons you may not expect… it was actually getting to ride in a charity race (May 2017) where I rode against 11 lady jockeys over 1m5f … it was also my greatest challenge as it took a year to train for and on the day realised I was the least experienced rider by far … but I got my horse home safe and raised £10,000 for the Injured Jockeys Fund!