Make data your MVP for delivering next-gen fan experiences
Without fans — their attention, their reactions, and their support — the stories we tell, the games we play, and the events we enjoy don’t fully come to life. Media and entertainment brands know the power of personal stories and human connection, but not all have nailed down the art of creating dynamic, hyper-personalized fan and audience experiences.
Powering personalized experiences in real time at the scale of millions takes a special MVP on your team — data. If you can capture zero and first-party data, you can use it to attract and hold the attention of your fans with next-gen experiences that turn every engagement into entertainment.
“Personal” means different things to different people
Experiences mean more to people than products do, which is why fans are always looking to capitalize on the best experience possible. Experience expectations are different for everyone. Someone viewing the big game from home is likely to have different priorities than someone sitting in the scout seats behind home plate. When creating head-turning experiences for fans, it helps to prepare for these expectations in advance.
Meeting fan expectations typically falls into one of four categories:
- Keep them close to the action. Make fans feel like they’re part of the action from wherever they’re participating — in person or at home.
- Give them a frictionless experience. Whether it’s parking and entering the venue with ease or streaming an upcoming game, it’s important to connect with fans in hassle-free and engaging ways.
- Extend the Excitement. Get the community conversation going early to build anticipation and help fans relive the memories.
- Make every fan feel like a VIP. Drive loyalty by delivering exceptional and tailored end-to-end experiences from pre-event through post-event communications.
Fan-worthy experiences are driven by meaningful data
The more you know about your fans, the more you can cater the experience to their unique preferences using data as your guide. As we move toward a cookieless future, the hold companies have on some data is in jeopardy. It will no longer be possible to gather insights into fan behavior and preferences by collecting passive, third-party data. To keep your finger on the pulse of your fandom, you’ll need to make the switch to a first- and zero-party data strategy.
The good news is fans will willingly give you their information if it means they get a more valuable, personalized experience.
Your go-to data sources
First-party data is collected directly from customers and includes demographic information, purchase history, website activity, transaction history, email engagement, feedback, interests, and behavior. It can be captured passively on your owned channels.
SkyUK, a leading UK-based telecommunications and digital entertainment brand, is taking full advantage of first-party data. With Adobe’s help, SkyUK uses data and AI to collect information about customers’ habits, such as their favorite television programming and who in the household is watching certain genres, to provide conversation starters for customer service representatives. Marketers have a better understanding of the customer at the outset and can spend more time on customer concerns and offering relevant services.
Zero-party data is a component of first-party data that accounts for the information a customer proactively shares — such as preferences and specific interests like a favorite team, player, who they like to watch the game with, and more.
Your data strategy should strengthen your relationship with customers. For example, you might gather valuable data points and ask fans directly about their preferences with a survey or quiz in exchange for early access to an upcoming event, ticket discounts, exclusive content, or a VIP experience.
You can use this data to drive fan engagement. The PGA TOUR is a great example of data-driven personalization at scale. Personalization across the TOUR’s digital platforms allows fans to identify their favorite players, pin their heroes to a leaderboard, and explore a feed-based, customized experience centered around those players — all in the app.
Dig deeper into the data
Data serves multiple purposes. It elevates the fan experience and moves the needle on your business goals — but only if it’s meaningful.
Here’s how to decide what data you need:
- Begin with the end in mind. Get super clear on your priorities and KPIs, making sure they benefit the fan experience.
- Identify a specific fan segment to test. Match your desired business objective to the fans who will value it the most and create an ideal journey with data collection points along the way.
- Flag the data you have and the data you need. Once you have a handle on the data, ask questions that fans will want to answer while collecting the data you need.
- List specific tactics and channels for collecting new audience data. Focus on the channels and tactics your fans are most likely to engage with, including desktop, mobile, and social applications.
- Centralize all the data you gather from your chosen audience. Use this data to create customer profiles that update in real time, ideally via a customer data platform (CDP).
- Pace your data collection cadence. Let artificial intelligence and machine learning optimize data collection for you so you don’t ask for too much information too quickly.
- Activate the valuable data you’ve collected. Once you’ve gathered all the data you need, it’s time to put it to work. Even more important, make sure it adds value to the fan experience.
- Measure, test, and adjust. Keep the digital dialogue going — every new piece of data can help you further personalize the next interaction.
Keep it simple
All that data is only valuable if you have the right tools to access and act on it. Simplifying data collection and streamlining activation have huge benefits for your fans and your bottom line. Tying data to individual customers with a CDP is key to uncovering even more valuable insights about each fan. With that centralized foundation in place, you then have the power to create personalized experiences at scale in real time, across all your channels.
Every experience is a chance to entertain
It takes a strong data foundation to power personalization at scale and deliver the type of experience that gets your fans closer to the action, to their passions, to the excitement. In return, they’ll give you a lifetime of loyalty.
Learn more about how to create unforgettable fan experiences by reading the full guide.
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