Here’s what brands need to do to evolve their analytics.
When it comes to marketing analytics, it can be tricky for companies in any industry to find an approach that suits their unique needs.
But sports brands — whether you’re talking about teams, leagues or conferences — face three especially big challenges.
1. So Much Social Media Data, So Little Time
Sports brands don’t simply have customers. They have fans, and those fans are actively, passionately engaged with the content their favorite brands produce across all channels and platforms, especially social media.
That fan engagement is valuable because it creates a mountain range of audience data that can be mined for actionable insights.
Assuming, of course, that marketers can wrap their arms around it all. The world’s most popular sports brands can generate billions of data points every month from social media — and that volume of data is only growing exponentially.
When you accumulate data at that scale, it’s a challenge just to figure out how your messages performed over the past month.
There’s no time left to truly practice marketing analytics — to study your data for trends, attribute results to spending, and make intelligent recommendations for what your brand should do next.
2. The Never-Ending Battle to Put Cheeks in Seats
Driving ticket sales is one of the most important jobs for a sports brand’s marketing team. That’s because every seat sold is worth much more than the face value of the ticket.
According to Deloitte, season ticket holders spend 5 times as much money as other fans do. That’s not even counting the actual cost of the season tickets.
And if those season ticket holders attend off-season events, such as player meet-and-greets and practices? They spend twice as much as other season ticket holders do.
Simply put: The more tickets someone buys, the more money they’ll spend on other products and services with your sports brand.
Because ticket sales are so critical to the health of the organization, and because they need to reach as many customers as possible, sports brands will deploy their marketing messages across a wide selection of channels.
They’re going to receive a wealth of data from those campaigns. But now they have the extra challenge of figuring out which messages and channels are actually driving sales. Attributing results to spending can be next to impossible given the amount of data involved.
3. They’re Selling Eyeballs, Too
Sponsorships have become a paramount source of revenue for sports brands. The worldwide market for this industry was worth nearly $63 billion last year, according to Statista.
While businesses are willing to spend real money for sports sponsorship deals, they still want to know what they’re buying. They demand insight into the size, content and fan engagement level of the audience in question.
A few decades ago, that was simpler. Nielsen and Arbitron ratings delivered an easy (if imperfect) measure of audience size. And today? There is a vast ecosystem of channels, especially in the digital space, and each one can generate huge amounts of data. Moreover, all these channels usually have their own distinct way of measuring audience engagement.
It’s the same problem as before: Sports marketers are running up against too much data and not enough time to make it make sense for their sponsoring partners.
So, sports brands possess a wealth of data that could be used to optimize their own marketing strategies. It can also provide proof to sponsors of those brands’ impact and reach, justifying premium pricing — if those brands can manage the sheer volume of their marketing data.
What we’ve discovered serving brands of all stripes, including several in the sports and entertainment vertical, is that marketing analytics is best understood as a two-step problem.
Get the data right first.
That means identifying all your sources and building a strategy for tracking the metrics that tell the true story of your performance — not the vanity numbers that look good but don’t really influence results.
Once you’re clear on what you’re really trying to measure, leverage a solution that specializes in data aggregation. Ideally, you want a platform that can automatically pull all your data into a central location from any source, clean it for errors and output it all as an analysis-ready dataset.
One note of caution: A lot of solutions brag about having hundreds of “connectors” that are supposed to make it simple to connect to a data source. In reality, connecting to the data isn’t the biggest challenge. The real challenge is ensuring it is managed the right way and made analysis-ready each and every day. Our Sports Marketing Analytics Solution aggregates marketing data from any source, and support for ANY type of data connections is included in the pricing.
Leverage that perfected data for analytics and reporting.
Now that you have an analysis-ready dataset, it can be used with the BI or visualization tool of your choice. For example, several of our clients will send their marketing data to dashboards built with Tableau, Looker or Yellowfin. These constantly updated vizzes deliver rich, current insight into your marketing performance, and they can be quickly shared with sponsors and internal stakeholders.
By approaching your marketing analytics as a two-step process, you can tap into specialized solutions that typically provide a more sophisticated experience and are capable of being customized to your organization’s needs.
It’s a strategy that turns sports brands’ biggest data headache — all that data! — into a massive competitive advantage.
Sports Marketing Analytics Solution
Is your sports brand seeking a more evolved approach to marketing analytics? One that saves time while creating enhanced value for your organization and clients?
Then you might be a good fit for Alight’s Sports Marketing Analytics Solution. Learn more about the solution here!