Football clubs are using data to deliver a smarter, more personalised fan experience, driving greater engagement and increased omnichannel supporter revenue.
A football fan and their chosen club have to be the ultimate customer relationship
Every single day, the average fan interacts with their club. They might be consulting the club news, reading the gossip, chatting with their WhatsApp football group, buying kits for the kids, or reliving YouTube goals. And one day soon, they will be watching live matches once again.
It’s a passion and loyalty that other brands could only dream of. All of those interactions are part of the intense and long-lasting relationship your fans are building with your club. The question is, are you capturing this passion and using it to take their supporter experience to the next level on digital channels?
A smarter, digitally-driven fan experience was underway before Covid, with clubs looking carefully at where they could offer more to their customers in the value chain. With fewer live events, this pressure to find alternative ways of keeping supporters engaged has increased, and with it, the need for data-driven solutions for the next generation of smarter audience engagement.
Being data-driven means having access to up to date, real-time data, and there lies the problem: many clubs are still recording their supporter touchpoints in many separate legacy platforms, installed over time by different teams. The same fan could have multiple records, siloed in other databases, with no single overview. As a result, there is no way to deliver a meaningful and genuinely personalised fan experience.
Harness the many complex audience touchpoints into one, accurate supporter view.
A single supporter view for a premiership football club: A case study
Clekt is currently working with a Premiership football club with precisely this challenge. Their fans engage with their club over multiple channels, e.g., watching match replays, reading club newsletters, buying products from the shop, attending matches etc. All these interactions are captured in separate, well-established operational systems and now the club must bring them together to form the complete 360 view of the fan.
Rather than attempting point to point integration between these different databases, Clekt brings all of the club’s data sources into one platform. Using techniques to rationalise the fan data format, they are in the process of creating one real-time, accurate single view of every fan.
The benefits the club can harness from this single customer view are huge.
- Personalised content will be driven by data, using sophisticated AI to ensure that the right offers go to the right people at precisely the right time. The same applies to all channels – in App notification, email, messenger, social content, etc.
- The club can also make use of location and real-time data to truly amplify a matchday experience.
- Fans can purchase from the club in the format that suits them via an omnichannel retail approach.
- Beyond lockdown, this single customer view will also serve to get customers back into the stadium safely. With sophisticated crowd modelling and geolocation techniques to check in to the stadium and maintain correct crowd distancing measures, the club can make sure they are ready to comply with regulations and bring their fans back to cheer on their team.
Laying the foundation for digital transformation
Digital transformation is clearly a goal for all future looking organisations and begins with clearly defined business objectives. It is typically at this point that football clubs would bring in external expertise to plan exactly how their fan data needs to be put into play to support the club’s overall strategy.
The next phase will involve consolidating data into one platform in a format that presents a single view of the fan. Finally, the club will be able to analyse and subsequently operationalise this data, with a real understanding of how supporters interact and want to interact with the club.
2020 was a year that changed so many sectors, and Covid hit live sports events particularly hard. The future looks brighter, and there is every chance that we will see fans returning to stadiums around the world in 2021. However, clubs have proved themselves able to transform through challenging times, and more than ever, they are ready to begin the next, digitalised chapter of their story. Supporters already access the benefits of data-driven engagement in so many areas of their lives; now is the time for football clubs to leverage data to build even stronger relationships with fans.