It’s Not You, It’s Your Data:

Leveraging First-Party Data to Work Smarter in 2021: Read the full whitepaper here

This last year was a lot to take in. Events were cancelled, games were played behind closed doors, Zoom became our new meeting hub, and businesses were significantly impacted. I’m sure we all feel it’s in our best interest to say “Let’s just forget about 2020”.

But then we’d overlook the shifts that 2020 has caused to the marketing ecosystem, both long and short term. Things have changed. And with these changes, brands that don’t adapt - and marketers that aren’t able to shift their strategies - will begin falling behind in the race to retain fans.

Early news indicates that 2021 is going to see the return of some semblance of normalcy. Some fans are being welcomed back into stadiums, artists will be back on the round and festivals are gearing up for the year. However, organizations are still reeling from the impacts of the last year.

There is also increased competition for attention.

And so, the theme for 2021 will be to “Work Twice As Hard with Half the Resources”

So, how do we address the upcoming challenges with reduced resources?

  1. Adopt a first-party fan data strategy
  2. Centralize your data ecosystem
  3. Automate your Workflow.

Prioritizing First-Party Data

10 years ago, when social media was starting to take off, the sentiment around the digital world was one of curiosity, innovation, and connection. Today, we are living in a different environment. Information, data privacy, and security concerns are becoming one of the defining social & cultural trends of our era. Fans are starting to more deeply question their lack of data privacy and control - and rightly so, with a number of ethical scandals flooding the news.

The question today is, what’s the way forward?

The giants in the digital marketing industry - Twitter, Facebook, Google, etc - offer immense value in the way they are able to dissect their users to understand what they’re interacting with and interested in. But these giants are also the gatekeepers to your fan data. And in the long run, this not only makes it difficult for you to make strategic decisions, but it can also compromise your relationships with fans around privacy.

Take, for example, the IOS 14 changes introduced by Apple.

The adoption of the “are you okay with being tracked across networks” message is dramatically changing how information can be passed over. For most brands - this is a blindspot. In both the music and sports industries, smartphone use - iPhone use in specific - dominates the user experience. This means that the current advertising model that many of us have adopted (and its reliance on tracking individuals) is at risk.

Your Golden Ticket: Executing a Fan-First Strategy

When you say “consumer data,” the corresponding thought that comes to mind is “personalized advertising”. But this is only part of the bigger picture. At Tradable Bits, we believe in creating the perfect fan moments. For this to be possible, brands need to be aware of the wants, needs, and feelings of every single one of their fans. We want to understand who our fans are beyond simple demographics - and we want to curate their fan experience.

To accomplish this, you need fan ENGAGEMENT.

First-party data is built on the idea of fans opting to share their data. For this to happen, brands need to prioritize building moments of true value exchange. In other words, brands are building opportunities for surprise and delight, so that fans have a reason to share their data and engage.

Great engagement campaign example

The second piece of a first-party data strategy is UNDERSTANDING. Once you have your first-party fan database built out for your fan networks, you have the unique opportunity to understand your fans on a deeper level.


Understanding

The most successful brands we see own their network of fan data & are able to reach the right fans, with the right message at the right time. And it all boils down to true value exchange & a two-way relationship.

Your One Source of Truth: Centralize your Data Ecosystem

Fan data is only useful if it’s digestible and actionable. Even with these moments of “delight”, it’s impossible to read through every nugget of information on every fan, on every network. We need a system. This is where a centralized data-ecosystem comes into play.

Why Centralize Data? It boils down to three themes:

Security,
Efficiency,
Performance,

Security

When your data lives in 5 different ecosystems, it becomes difficult to manage that information effectively.

For example, say you have a fan that reaches out to have their data deleted. Of course, you say “No problem”. But then you realize - you have thousands of data points across multiple channels. Not only does this drain your time & energy, it opens you up to vulnerabilities around GDPR compliance standards.

When everything lives in one system with fans at the center, it becomes easier to manage new privacy regulations, and stay compliant.

Efficiency

Customer data is often siloed across different networks and marketing tools. Not only does this make it more difficult for the marketer to build a complete view of their fans, but it means that different teams in the organization are responding to different data. Imagine the possibilities for your brand when business development teams are fully aligned with the trends and positioning built out by marketing. When teams are able to go beyond relaying information to activating information with alignment.

It’s not easy, but it’s also not a pipe-dream.

Even within your marketing team, siloed data systems are far too prevalent. Most marketing teams use different tools for customer communication. One for sending SMS. Another for marketing on Facebook. A different tool for Google display ads. And on and on. These siloes create barriers to discovering insights & opportunities. They create friction.

When you are able to consolidate all of your data in one centralized ecosystem that allows you to collect, dissect, and action data - you can eliminate this friction.

Performance

A more secure and efficient system for data management will contribute to better performance. But beyond efficiency, the centralization of data allows for:

I. Effective Data-Sharing
II. Dynamic Data collection

In the long run, these will lead to the ability to spot trends in fan behaviour, better segmentation, and a greater return on ad spend. We want your data to work hard for you, and not the other way around.

The Final Touches: Automating Workflows

You have an important meeting with your CMO tomorrow to talk about the performance of your last campaign. You also have to set up next week’s ads. So to manage your day you say, “I’ll execute the ads, then have a quick look at the reports”.

The reports look good - stellar even. The only issue is that you’re spread thin, so you won’t have the time to look into WHY the campaign was such a success. Instead, you’re spending your time going into each social network, creating ad after ad.

We can work smarter.

Once you have your centralized data ecosystem in place, you have a profound opportunity in the form of automation.

If you have 100 shows in a given month - the execution of ads becomes madness. So templatize where you can, to make the process more streamlined and manageable. That way, when an artist or external partner says, “I don’t like that image” or “the copy isn’t ‘SIZZLE’ enough” you won’t throw your hands up in stressed exasperation. You can simply go to your main template for that ad, make the changes, and save hours of manual work.

This automation also works with audience segmentation & alignment. The combination of your first-party data, your centralized database (that accounts for ticketing, website visits, behaviour etc) and machine learning will allow you to build out affinity models, and lookalike audiences.

Automating your workflow allows you to optimize time spent by your team, and redirect their efforts into more strategic positions.

Your marketing teams have immense value in their expertise - so empower them by taking the mundane tasks off their plate. Then watch powerful things happen.

You’ve Made it to the End

2020 was challenging, and 2021 will have its own unique set of challenges. We’re more resilient and adaptable thanks to the year we’ve had. With the lessons learned - however unwelcome - we’re treading 2021 all the wiser.

It is evident that brands that “own their network” will be best positioned for long-term success. And despite having to work twice as hard with half the resources in 2021, marketers can get ahead of the game by collecting first-party fan data and automating workflows. By working smarter.

We know that was a long read, but we thank you for sticking with us through that. More importantly, your future self will thank you for sticking through that as you can identify ways to streamline your workflow and work smarter in 2021.

Ready for your next steps? Get in touch with our team for a free ideation session. We’re here to help you soar through 2021.

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