Apr 14, 2020 3:54:40 PM

An interview with Marketing Director and Strategic Mastermind, Mike Rich

Insider, My Entertainer Story, Merchant Tips, meet the team

MarTech Vibe Middle East sat down (virtually) with our Marketing Director to discuss how the ENTERTAINER has transitioned from regional market leader to a global market leader in just six years. Read the full interview here and below:

Entertainment and lifestyle purchases are extremely sentiments linked, how has the ENTERTAINER adapted in the current situation?

It’s about successfully managing change, and our culture begins with one fundamental belief; experience is everything. Through this foundation, we’ve developed a set of robust updates to make lives more affordable during times of crisis, both to end-users and businesses.

Over the past week, we’ve opened our 25% off delivery offers to non-member across the UAE, and waived delivery commissions for our valued merchant partners. Our brilliant teams are working hard to ensure all strategies meet the needs of our current climate.

Also Read: Leveraging Your Loyalty Program for COVID-19


What role does data play in decision making at the ENTERTAINER?

As I look back on my experience managing brands of all shapes and sizes, my most significant learning is that the predictor of a company’s success is its ability to innovate its company culture.

Our executive team consistently models a data-based decision-making culture. When employees see high-level data-based decisions, they naturally mirror it in their role. We also put our users at the forefront of strategies, which gives us a knowledge base of behavioural spending, personalisation and relevancy.

As data-based decisions are at the forefront of our culture, we’ve built an important data and insights team in South Africa that serves the entire business – making it one of our most significant people investments to date!


Where is the fine line between privacy and deep customer understanding?

Consumers are savvier about the intrusiveness of technology than ever before, and, they’ve never been more vocal about it (myself included)!

To crack this nut, I focus on best practice guidelines, including GDPR and ISO 27000 compliance and ensure data is categorically never shared with any 3rd parties.

It’s important to emphasise on building a personalised experience and incrementally collect data, then use analytics to enhance it. This strategy creates a digital footprint that you can use to understand behaviours and correlate that with an ability to recommend future wants and needs.

For example, in the past, we noted a large number of prospects opening the app and closing it in certain areas where offers were sparse. Based on this data, we then placed a substantial sales focus on that area to sign up more merchants!


Social, Influencer or Content Marketing, what has worked for you & why?

For me, each pillar should work together to be insight-driven, with a clear brand promise and executed seamlessly across all touch-points. My advice would be to make sure you have the expertise and ability to do all three. However, the approach may differ in different markets; some markets are more traditionally-driven, while others are digital-driven.

The most frequent challenge is knowing your audience. Social, influencer and content marketing can easily fall flat when the message isn’t relevant to your target audience. The more real and authentic the content, the better.

In the context of the ENTERTAINER, social media is usually a fundamental pillar of our marketing strategies. It’s aligned with our brand and is our voice to the world – we can target the right people at the right time with the right content.

Also Read: One Size Does NOT Fit All


What has been the best technology investment that you made?

On a professional level, it’s about targeted interactions across multichannel environments, and CRM plays a considerable part in the success of this. In terms of CRM, I work closely with our CIO to drive growth and improve accountability. It is all about that precious ‘micro-moment’ – delivering the right message at the right time in the right place; the moment of truth.

On a more personal level, I love technology and upgrading to the latest gadgets! Besides my google home setup, tablets, android watch, touchscreen laptops, Xbox and countless tech toys, my best personal investment is without a doubt, my phone. As simple as it sounds, my phone is such a big part of my work and my own life, so I like to ensure its the best.


What was the biggest mistake, and what did you learn from it?

Let’s face it; we all fail sometimes, and I’ve made some pretty unusual mistakes (with no regrets)! I’m a big fan taking risks and learning from the mistakes that come with it.

When I started a business many years ago, I started it in an industry that wasn’t ready for it. I found out that the key is quickly finding a way to turn downturns into practical learning experiences – ‘failing fast’.

‘Failing fast’ is an essential attribute of culture I like to feed into the ENTERTAINER. My fail-fast approach encourages people to try something new, knowing they will receive fast feedback to inspect and adapt it for success.

So, as paradoxical as it may seem, failing fast has enabled me to succeed sooner.


Three shifts that will disrupt your business, and what are you doing about it?

  • The first would be delivery, at the moment it is king.

Over the past 12 months, our data has shown significant upwards trends in delivery, with the current situation only solidifying it. In response to this data, we’ve launched a delivery platform that features both 25% and 2-for-1 discounts.

  • The second shift would be Personalisation and AI automation

By 2025, 80% of marketers who have invested in personalisation will abandon their efforts due to lack of ROI and customer data management. Even now, in 2020, cluttered inboxes and phone notifications lead us to ignore even the most carefully personalised communications.

Third-party data isn’t enough anymore. Creating experiences that power loyalty and retention means understanding and responding to the wants and needs of our customers. For us, there’s no better data than first-party data which we use to leverage each interaction with our product.

Our strategy is rooted in the intelligence found within our first-party data which we use to invest in technology upgrades that create unique experiences. We aim to build customer segments of just one where we can predict and create a profile based entirely on individual behaviours.

  • The third shift is integrated bookings and payments

A huge focus for us in 2020 is integrating all merchants for bookings and payments through the app.

We know customers want to be able to book, reserve and pay whenever it’s convenient for them. So we’re focusing on creating an experience where they can quickly see appointment/table/attraction availability in real-time, book and pay directly through the app with the discounts automatically applied.

Like I said – this is an economy of experience and we want our members to have the best experience ever!




As Marketing Director at the ENTERTAINER, Mike Rich is the strategic mastermind behind its innovative marketing campaigns. Under his leadership, the organisation has seen exponential growth, transitioning from regional market leader to a global market leader in just six years.

After spending over two decades of marketing multimillion-dollar brands and successfully launching his own startups, Mike knows what truly drives conversions; exceeding customers’ expectations.

Mike’s greatest strengths are his creativity and leadership. He thrives on challenges, particularly those that expand the ENTERTAINER’S global reach.

Mike is a fan of great food and travelling with equal enthusiasm, and when he’s not at his laptop, you’ll find him supporting South Africa – in every sport

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