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How We Humanize Marketing Analytics

By Rob Laycock, Vice President of Marketing, Atlanta Hawks

Rob Laycock, Vice President of Marketing, Atlanta Hawks

Backed by competent analytics capabilities, businesses can accurately look through their marketing data and offer a superior experience to their target audience. By analyzing marketing data, organizations can learn more about their target audience and prospective ticket buyers. To this extent, data analytics reveals whether display, social or search ads are driving the most ticket sales. An event that we organize intended for our audience of next-generation Atlantans might require a different approach. Marketing data analytics can help in a variety of ways.

"We have implemented a marketing strategy tailored to the behaviors and preferences of our biggest growing audience – the next-generation of Atlantans"

How Do We Leverage Marketing Analytics at Atlanta Hawks?

We are a global brand that has a very strong local marketing focus. In one single NBA season, we have 43home games at State Farm Arena, and we focus on the residents – natives and transplants – of Atlanta. Therefore, when we are evaluating analytics platforms and products, we are focused on communicating directly with our target audience—from a ticketing perspective to the behaviors and preferences of the Hawks fans that are living in the Atlanta area.

From an internal strategy standpoint, we do our best to align with what we are looking for and what we want the analytics platforms to accomplish. Our focus, from a corporate point of view, is to help our business partners and sponsors, and selling a variety of season ticket memberships; each one of those products will have a different type of fan that it would attract. Considering we are the only NBA team from Atlanta, we have a considerably large fan base. Our marketing analytics data helps us to target these customer profiles based on their behavioral pattern. Further, from a merchandising stance, we break out from just the local marketing and tap into our global fan base, and we are looking for ways to add them to our marketing mix and ultimately convert them online. It is necessary for us to have detailed discussions with prospective partners. This approach also highlights not only what we want but also significant information gaps in our organization.

Internally, we use Marketo, a marketing automation software from Adobe, for email distribution, and it is tied to our data warehouse and CRM. Marketo allows us to feature the game that we believe is most relevant to Hawks fans based off past games that they either have attended or have shown interest in. This enables us to send hundreds of different versions of one email depending on the preferences of individual fans. For example, families coming to a Hawks game may prefer a weekend game, while a young professional in the market might prefer a weekday game after work. These preferences and consumer behaviors are what determine the dynamic content that we place in the emails.

My Advice to Marketing Executives

The best thing about live entertainment is it will remain one of the few occasions where the community comes together and has undivided attention on one thing in a very traditional way. If you are planning a career in the media and entertainment industry, you have to keep in mind that the fans are always the ones who make it special. That said, it is essential for us to acknowledge the human aspect of marketing analytics and make decisions based off the preferences of their target audience.

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