By: Katie Lacroix
I’ve always been a numbers girl. I’m talking racing through 3rd-grade multiplication tables and absolutely loving it. 7*7=49, 9*8=72. The pattern, rhythm and overall black & white nature of it all. Numbers have always made sense in my brain. I later found myself drawn to the opposite end of the spectrum, intrigued and interested in creative, less quantifiable ideas.
Looking back on it all now, the more I began to flex and strengthen my creative muscle, the more I started to enjoy the freedom of breakthrough thinking. During my time at the University of Iowa, I realized that by specializing in both business analytics and marketing I could challenge myself and lean into a left & right brain combined mindset. Which leads me to the unique position I am in now: split between the Innovation and Analytics Teams at 4FRONT, consulting on a vast variety of partners and incredibly passionate about the importance of strategically utilizing analytics.
One of the many things I’ve learned during my time so far at 4FRONT is that around the globe, teams and leagues are facing similar problems; one key one being analytics. Today, there is a wealth of data and information available about your fans; demographics, needs, attitudes, brand propensities… the list goes on and on. All this data and yet not a clear path on how and when to integrate these insights into something actionable. Combine this with an ever-increasing pressure to break through the marketplace clutter with creativity and innovation and there’s a disconnect between analytics and many facets of sales and marketing. In true 4FRONT fashion, I’d love to share 4 of our team’s strategies for how to win with analytics.
1. Approach Data through a Storyteller’s Mindset
I think it’s important to start with this first since the data landscape is so complex and ever-changing. Approaching data through the lens of a storyteller can help your team think big picture about not only what is available, but from what’s available, how this could potentially help craft the next innovative fan experience or season ticket campaign.
Key questions to ask:
– What data is readily & easily available to your team? Consider both 1st party data (CRM, season ticket holders, PSL contacts, email distribution lists) and 3rd party data (audiences built on online behavior, fan survey results, any services that pull your potential fans).
– What data is not readily & easily available that could be a gamechanger?
– Is there a better combination of data that will help you in the end with your objectives?
2. Adopt a “What’s Important in Data” Filter
This aspect is critical to maximizing on time and effort as it relates to analytics. For example, with over 60k+ data points about one specific device in Oracle BlueKai, it would be pretty easy to get lost digging through the weeds on the thousands of rows in a specific Excel sheet. The more you can work to help those around you develop a “What’s Important in Data Filter”, the more effectively your team will be at not only finding the best insights about your fanbase but also communicate these where needed.
Consider these guiding questions:
– How is your fanbase distinctively unique? In the market? In the region? In the country? Focus on data points that help you tell that story.
– Which insights have best resonated with partners you’ve pitched – and landed – in the past?
– What jumps off the page? And conversely, what doesn’t at all? Take note of both the strong brand affinities of your fanbase – strengths to these brands – and the weak brand affinities – opportunities to make an impact through partnership.
3. Balance Your Story with Science AND Art
Integrating this idea into how your team operates can be a really successful way to refresh the process for many aspects of your business; from developing team sales materials to creating the next best social media content series. There are several methods to strengthen how art (creative, innovative ideas) and science (quantified, analytical points) can work better together.
Questions for your team:
– Do you have a way to see visualizations of your fanbase data? If yes, are you utilizing this platform and is it effective? If no, this could be the difference in getting your team to use data smartly in their everyday.
– Are you integrating your strongest insights into your team brainstorms? Start with the why.
– Do you have a combination of art and science across your organization? Or do you lean more heavily on one side of the scale?
4. Leave a Lasting Impression in Your Communication
Bring it all together and if you’ve thought through the above, have confidence in communicating your team’s story knowing that your team’s data has been approached through a storyteller’s mindset, filtered for what’s important, crafted into insights based on your objectives and ultimately been balanced into a story that contains both science and art. Combining everything together in this last step shows you’ve thought through it all with a left and right brain mindset.
Prepare with these questions:
– How are you delivering your analytics findings? Is there a way to reimagine and strengthen this delivery?
– What is the most lasting visual you can share that communicates your insights?
– What out-there and creative ways can you connect with your audience? Think through the moments before, during and after your meeting that you can communicate your story with infographics, data visualizations, etc.
At the end of the day, analytics can be the difference-maker in many aspects of your business and investing in analytics has the potential to grow your bottom line. While you can’t control your product on the field/court/ice, you can control how you approach strategic decision-making. Getting smarter with how and when you use your fan data will help you stand out from others in the sports and entertainment industry and that, in itself, is a win.
To dive more into analytics, check out my teammate Ruchir’s podcast on the value of 1st Party Fan data!