We speak to The Unit’s Head of Business Development Mark O’Hare about the company’s strategic alliance with PR and communications specialists Red Knot Communications, which was announced last year…
Can you let us know a little bit about what Red Knot does and why The Unit and Red Knot decided to enter into a strategic alliance?
We’ve worked with Red Knot since the summer of 2023, after a successful spell of Red Knot providing their PR and media services to us, particularly in the B2B domain. We knew they had worked with some of the biggest names in media, and we were instantly impressed with the support they’ve given us and the press coverage they have been able to generate from press releases, interviews, thought leaderships and social media marketing.
Very quickly, though, we established a crossover between the two companies whereby we could exploit some natural synergies. By way of an instructive example, just take my own position role, which began as Head of Business Development for The Unit. More recently, though, I’ve performed a twin-track biz-dev role for both companies. At The Unit, software development is a core part of the business and we have a talented marketing team that does traditional marketing like SEO, PPC, social media etc. However, our clients often also asked us about PR services, which was something we didn’t have the expertise in-house to provide. In the past, we would have simply handed that off to Red Knot. But now The Unit’s Co-Founder Paddy Casey and Red Knot’s Co-Founder Andy Clerkson (who had previously worked well in tandem at Grand Parade) thought I could manage sales for both and oversee how these complementary connections interlink, creating organic efficiencies from which to scale both businesses, rather than oscillating from one to the other in more disjointed fashion.
This is quite an interesting partnership, because the two companies come from very different areas, so what brings Red Knot as a media company in line with a software development company like The Unit and vice versa?
We have talked to clients in the past and interpretations of PR can be quite different, from the more traditional to the increasingly technical. For example, some just want PR to be back-linking and SEO, which was not necessarily Red Knot’s initial expertise. But the scope of its services has now evolved to include this, thanks to The Unit’s input. As in any domain of discourse, you have to embrace the latest tools of innovation and tech if you want to distil clear messaging and engage with your target audience. Nowadays, some people’s perspective of PR speaks to a more technical side which we have the experience in, so we can help each other by combining both.
How does your role differ from what you were doing for The Unit previously?
For The Unit, my day-to-day responsibilities varied from account management to working on sales leads or assisting in marketing projects, whereas Red Knot is more streamlined for me to focus on the sales process. Red Knot had a structure in place for lead management and outreach that we’ve been able to incorporate into The Unit’s structure. The role can develop as I continue to learn about what works well for both companies and I’m learning a lot.
How have you found the challenge of splitting your time between both companies?
That’s something that’s played out differently to how we may have thought. It isn’t as simple as having a set structure of focusing on The Unit in the mornings and on Red Knot in the afternoons, and I just have to be honest with myself and both companies about what I’m able to do. Some days I might work on a proposal for a The Unit client and then work on a different project for Red Knot. You have to work around time zones as well, because Red Knot’s team are spread out across Europe and the US, whereas the team I work closest with at The Unit is based in Dundalk, Ireland. I’d been at The Unit for five years and knew how we operate. From my experience now with Red Knot, I’d say both cultures are very similar, so that certainly helps.
How likely is it this partnership could expand with more staff or services?
I think there is huge potential to expand the partnership. There will certainly be other colleagues representing both sides of the business in due course. That’s not something we’ve put into place yet, but we’ve already entered mature conversations for the next phase, and ICE London (6-8 February) will see us unveil the next building block in this lockstep journey.
I personally feel the sky is the limit, because both companies are growing and can help each other in so many ways, as we seek to optimize our strengths and deliver exceptional services across the dynamic world of igaming and sports betting. I couldn’t put a timeline or a figure on things, but our growth in the last 12 months has been fantastic and we wish to continue that. The opportunity is now as palpable as it is obvious. After all, our respective skill sets, target territories and client lists are totally complementary. This global partnership crystallises a hive mind of two successful companies, comprised of very experienced gaming industry professionals who can supercharge marketing for any B2C or B2B gaming or betting brand, anywhere in the world.