Data and analytics play a vital role in the world of sports. Gathering, analyzing and understanding statistics and other data related to athletic performance can offer insights not just to coaches, trainers, opposing teams and athletes themselves, but they’re also a treasure trove of information for enhancing consumer-facing/fan experiences, from fantasy league picks to friendly debates. But what if we could flip the script and gather the same information about sports fans themselves to learn what they know, like, and prefer about their favorite teams, players, and venues?
Customer data is a precious commodity across the value chain and has many applications for growing fan bases while creating meaningful and unique experiences. Before we discuss how teams and sites can leverage this data, we need to understand how to obtain it.
Although 90% of marketers agree that achieving a single view of the customer across all touchpoints is essential for marketing success, only 6% feel they’re able to do so.
In recent years, companies have seen a shift in the data landscape, whether due to legislation or, more importantly, customer perceptions of how brands are leveraging their personal data. Only 40% of consumers currently trust brands to use their data responsibly. Savvy marketers realize it’s no longer an easy task to build a unified and connected view of a fan across touchpoints. Today’s brands have to navigate a complex network of walled gardens and operating systems with different permissions, most of which are controlled by the consumer, or in this case, sports fans. In order to begin developing their deeper consumer understanding and ensure a future-proof data strategy, brands will need to take four key steps:
With the impending demise of cookies, brands must start prioritizing their audience data strategy, capitalizing on and leveraging 1P data. This would ensure that they’re future-proofing their business in a privacy-safe and compliant way now as this shift has transversal effects across an organization.
As the fan experience in sports evolves both on- and off-screen into new technologies like NFTs and the Metaverse, teams, athletes and venues must ensure that their communication and marketing strategies evolve accordingly. The sports industry must be able to deliver the right message to the right people for the right promotion, and that’s impossible without understanding what fans want.
The time is now for the sports industry to implement a data-first approach in order to provide seamless and unique experiences for fans. Despite the delay in cookie deprecation, there are a number of technical and regulatory constraints quickly approaching. If sports brand marketers do not act now, they risk falling behind those who are investing in and prioritizing advanced data marketing tactics and tools for fan insights. More importantly, they risk compromising the fan experience, which can decrease brand/team affinity and even loyalty when it comes to digital engagement and event attendance. Brands can begin by taking inventory of their existing 0P and 1P data, evaluating its quality (i.e. recency), and start prioritizing advanced data marketing by following the four key steps above.
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