February 15, 2024

How to Maximize Fan Engagement with Fan 360

By Sam Hall

Customers drive every business, and the sports entertainment industry is no different. With the advent of cloud data warehouses and the ability to (seemingly) infinitely scale analytics on an organization’s data, centralizing and using that data to discover what drives customer engagement has become a top priority for executives across all industries and verticals.

This is generally labeled as Customer 360 for most organizations, but in the sports and entertainment world, it’s called Fan 360. Aside from having different names, these concepts are nearly identical and deploy the same strategies. 

In this blog, we’ll unpack those strategies and help your organization better leverage its fanbase to make more informed decisions.

What Are the Challenges With Fan 360?

The passion that fans have for their teams is second to none. That powerful emotional connection is part of what makes sports so unique and so unifying for all people across social and geographic boundaries. However, how people interact with their teams is changing rapidly. 

From the expanded availability of sports media and game coverage to the expectations of new and appealing team apparel and branding to the action-seeking attention span of the fan today, there are both opportunities and challenges in how sports teams can continue to fuel that emotional connection to drive high engagement with their brand. Here are a few worth calling out: 

  • Opportunities to Engage Fans are Expanding: Fans’ expectations continue to expand as they are engaged with other brands using social media, personalization campaigns, and targeted advertising. 

  • More Competition in What Fans Choose to Watch: The democratization of sports broadcasting could cause fandom to deteriorate for some people as they are exposed to and engaged by other sports and entertainment brands.

  • Becoming a 365 Brand: For sports like the NFL, who sell out 99 percent of their season tickets, leveraging fan data to understand how to engage their fans all year is key.

Why Centralizing Your Data is Key

How do you retain, attract, and enhance your fan engagement to level the playing field in today’s competitive market? Data is the answer. Without data, you are blind to who your fans are and what motivates them. 

Data is everywhere in today’s primarily digital experiences. By collecting and centralizing this data, you can create an accurate, holistic view of the fans in your fanbase. This allows you to intelligently test and learn about your engagement initiatives to find ways to maximize the value you get from the time you put into building them. 

Measure your way to success instead of guessing your way to success!

Building this comprehensive view of your fanbase will allow your organization to capitalize on the new opportunities available in today’s market and tomorrow’s. This will be done by building stronger relationships with fans to increase revenue and secure a long-lasting competitive advantage in the evolving world of sports entertainment.

Where Does This Data Come From?

In the past, building a holistic view of the fan was less plausible. A couple of big reasons for that were:

  • Data collection was limited to things like surveys, ticket sales, direct interactions, and experiential decisions.

  • It was hard to centralize data for performance and infrastructural reasons, which meant that data was siloed and ineffective on its own to build a holistic view of the fan.

However, with the emergence of CRMs, social media campaigns, influencers, and online/offline purchasing systems, the ability for teams to collect data to build a more comprehensive view of their fans has become possible. However, that vision is still hard to achieve because of the challenges like:

  • Difficulty integrating with the different systems

  • Fragmented, incomplete data

  • Inability to centralize all of a customer’s data to unlock combined insights

  • Small teams with large backlogs

How to Centralize Your Data

Leveraging a cloud data strategy is key. Using cloud data warehouses like the Snowflake Data Cloud to centralize your customer data is crucial for building the foundation of a Fan 360 platform. Snowflake shines here for its ability to store and process customer data at cloud scale, eliminating silos and the performance issues of traditional data warehouses. 

Snowflake’s scalability and flexibility future-proof your data stack as your fan base grows and business needs evolve. Native integrations with ML/AI capabilities ensure that it is the foundation for turning your fan data into actionable insights, driving fan loyalty, and fueling business growth.

To take advantage of a data cloud like Snowflake, you need a way to move your data into it. This is where a data integration platform like Fivetran comes into play. 

Fivetran allows teams to smash data silos by relieving your small team from tedious data collection and integration with all of an organization’s data sources and centralizing the data in a cloud-based destination (like Snowflake). For some sources, pre-built normalized models can even be used so that the data is ready to be used by your team for insight generation once it lands. 

Creating the 360 Platform

Once the data is centralized, it can be combined to create a comprehensive view of your fanbase – your new Fan 360 platform. Using this to drive decisions around your interactions with your fanbase will help produce better interactions that drive more revenue for your business. For example:

  • Empower analysts to discover patterns and correlations previously hidden due to silos and fragmented data to predict purchasing trends and optimize campaign strategies.

  • Leverage granular fan data to segment your audience and offer highly targeted sponsorships to maximize sponsorship revenue while delivering authentic value to fans and partners.

  • Track the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, social media initiatives, and fan outreach programs in real time. Quantify the impact of each fan interaction to optimize your communication strategies and maximize return on investment.

To walk through more specifics on how to build your Fan 360 platform – including an example case study from our friends at Fivetran – see our related blog post here

Conclusion

Using analytics to drive a more engaged fan experience is still a relatively new concept in sports entertainment. Organizations that adopt it now could have a leg up in the competition for a more loyal and engaged fan base — a win/win for both the fan and the sports organization!

Take the first step today in your Fan 360 journey by reaching out to our experts for advice, best practices, and actionable strategies.

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