Today, sports and entertainment properties are challenged to improve business performance by increasing engagement opportunities with fans. Marketers want to connect with them through personalized outreach programs, targeted media buys, word-of-mouth campaigns and engaging digital experiences across multiple platforms.
If you are saying to yourself that this strategy is not much different than that of, for example, a retail or consumer products company, you are right on. By understanding the fan behavior using simple and integrated technology solutions, marketers have the ability to manage segmented fan experiences on all types of channels and devices in order to create a competitive advantage.
In this installment of my series on Data Innovators in Sports and Entertainment, I spoke with Ben Davis, CEO of Phizzle, an engagement automation software company.
Phizzle provides campaign and data management solution modules to address the needs of sports team, entertainment venues or brands to be successful in driving fan and consumer acquisition, activation, and loyalty over the lifetime value of a fan (LVF).
Can you tell me a little about Phizzle and how the idea was born?
Ben Davis: Phizzle has been a provider of engagement and data visualization solutions for sports and entertainment properties since 2008. Phizzle works with clients like the NBA, the NHL, as well as media companies such as Fox and HBO. We speak to our customers daily. We listen to what they are saying. We were being asked repeatedly: How do we connect with fans on a deeper level? How do we engage with the fan beyond SMS? How can we retain our fans? How do we know which fans are loyal and which aren’t so we can customize offers and promotions? How can we make the most of the data we have on our fans to drive profitability, both on and off the court?
In 2012, we saw an opportunity to develop a flexible solution that not only assists in connecting these ordinarily siloed data repositories into one single touch point, but also to provide a way to analyze and engage fans with relevant messaging on relevant channels. We help marketers understand their fans’ digital experience, buying behavior, and purchasing patterns so they can influence the customer journey across single and multiple buying cycles. Phizzle’s technology uses data to shorten digital purchase cycles by solving conversion struggles. Our platform tracks fan profile data and behaviors across offline, digital, social, and mobile channels in a single, centralized marketing data warehouse.
Our goal? We want to support marketers to deliver personalized and dynamic marketing campaigns by creating connected cross-channel experiences that engage their audience throughout the entire customer lifecycle.
The phrase “data-driven” is, admittedly, in my opinion, already a bit passé… but the implication is important: Your decisions must keep pace with your data. For that, you need an intuitive, powerful platform to access, analyze, and act upon your metrics. And as the speed of marketing gets ever faster, your decision making needs to keep up. Data is your ally in making quality marketing decisions at speed and scale.
How does Phizzle leverage data and real-time actionable insights?
On and off the field of play in sports, data is king. Data is used to make decisions that impact the speed and efficiency of every aspect of business operations. For us, we leverage fan data and the channels they use to help in not only determining fan behaviors in engaging with the properties, but determining the LVF. LVF is a metric that helps teams understand more than just spending habits; it helps uncover fan interests and how they want to ingest information, and extend retail offers when they are ready to act on it. Just as teams use data to analyze the players on the field, teams are now getting smarter in how they approach their most valuable players – their fans.
Sports teams, now more than ever, need a true 360-degree view of their fan base to increase the lifetime value of the fans. Phizzle’s fan engagement platform consolidates, analyzes, and enable teams to take actions on multiple data streams, to capture, aggregate visualize analyzing value of digital, social, and real-world fan engagements.
With actionable insights from these data troves, Phizzle enable data-driven business decisions based on the real-time behavior of the fan base and create opportunities for personalized engagements with fans.
Listening to or collecting the millions of conversations that occur daily, on Twitter, on Facebook, on Instagram, SMS, and various other channels, is a critical function to marketers. Yet, in itself, that is not sufficient to gain true insights about a fan. In order to gain actionable insights and real knowledge, marketers need to analyze the data. They need to comprehend the sentiment of the fan. They need to be able to decipher the data in such a way that it reveals who is a loyal fan and who is a fickle fan. In the end, the dollars spent on marketing campaigns are only as good as the message received by a receptive customer.
The optimal engagement solution, such as Phizzle’s Fan Engagement Platform, has both the base functions of data refinement and the more advanced analytical functions of data associations. The solution was built with the ability to satisfy an enterprise or modular-based environment, emphasizing simplicity, engagement, and affordability, catering to achieving maximum results as budget and/or business goals dictate in environments unique to sports. Phizzle’s holistic approach to engagement automation is inclusive of business intelligence (BI) and analytics.
What are some of the projects that you are working on?
Earlier this year, we partnered with SAP to help simplify the conversation around the Super Bowl XLIX. The NFL.com Stats Zone presented by SAP was a high-tech, interactive experience that transported fans into a world of numbers, images and insights about the NFL.
Currently we are working with the Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets organization is a leader in adopting and applying new technologies to solve real-world problems. The Hornets’ management had a keen interest in eliminating data silos and implementing an end-to-end digital marketing solution that included integrated engagement channel and campaign management features.
In partnership with SAP, we pursued a radical approach to helping them accomplish these goals. The integration of Phizzle’s Single Ecosystem solution (a pioneering product) and the SAP HANA platform supports unlimited scalability and a true enterprise engagement automation solution.
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