Data has been a buzzword for the sports industry over the past several years. Having lived through the introduction of CRM platforms, the advent of the sports team specific data warehouses, and the reliance on various business intelligence tools, I know from experience how much more important insights have become to an organization.
However, with this influx of new information there should also come practicality. In order to reduce the potential of "analysis paralysis", fiscally irresponsible spending that leads to buyer’s remorse and for the sake of front office employees, I have laid out just a few bullets (of many) that hopefully can assist those looking to more efficiently turn their data into more dollars.
1. Actionable attributes
Sports and entertainment companies have done a great job in catching up with more advanced industries by emphasizing the accumulation of data and the housing of fan-centric variables in some type of central location. Commonly referred to as a “data warehouse”. However, a challenge that exists today is the ability to capitalize on that data and leverage the insights to drive ROI. This could be due to a lack of bandwidth (staffing) at an organization or the pace of business (moving too quick) interfering with the strategic planning necessary to fully capitalize on the breadth and depth of the data you have. What we see at Fan Interactive Marketing is that our clients tend to be a representation of those successful companies that have put an emphasis on both addressing the execution in the short term and planning strategically in the long term. This method allows for the data to translate into higher sales. Actionable marketing such as segmented communications, hyper-targeted campaigns and nimble analysis are functions of a well-positioned data-first organization.
2. Profitable platforms
Along with data, a larger percentage of budgets are being devoted to the platforms designed to both house and utilize data sets. The onus tends to be on the system owners to justify the expenses associated with the setup, maintenance and usage. A similar approach to data should apply to the corresponding software as well. By proactively demonstrating the benefits of data, the conversations about technical costs become more of a positive versus a point of contention. We have seen clients become better equipped at justifying system expenses via their increased utilization of data, downstream descriptive analysis and effective attribution. For example, are advanced CRM campaigns now demonstrating more dollars per lead? Are open and click rates rising with unsubscribe rates decreasing via the email service provider? Answering yes to these questions puts one in an opportune spot in the short and long term.
3. Saving staff
How does human capital relate to data? Much more than one would initially think. Staffing issues arise quite often these days. Turnover at the entry-level on CRM/data teams seems to be increasing rapidly. In turn, this forces senior management to get more involved in the day-to-day workload rather than focusing on leadership, strategy and overall “big picture”. This creates a vicious cycle of ineffectiveness and hinders the practical application, utilization and ultimate maximization of data! A hybrid approach tends to be a model that we have seen be extremely successful – especially in sports. If a leader can augment staffing with external experts instead of having to be concerned with turnover, overhead, training, product familiarity, etc. AND they can save money at the same time – why wouldn't that be considered? There is always room for internal staff but the ability to be nimble in these ever-changing times is paramount to success. Being able to add hands for execution that also bring best-practices on day one can be a great option.
Best of luck to all of you out there, and let us know if we at Fan Interactive Marketing can ever help with anything!
Mike Shear currently oversees the strategic partnership, development and service initiatives for Fan Interactive Marketing. Fan Interactive Marketing is a platform-agnostic staff augmentation company that focuses on providing both best-practice recommendations and the hands-on bandwidth needed to execute. Their core services are CRM, email marketing and digital advertising. Mike recently joined the organization after being a client for several years when running Business Strategy and Analytics for BSE Global. He is an open book and loves to help others, you can reach out and connect with him on LinkedIN here.