EngageRM Chief Product Officer Brett Yorgey offers his thoughts on how entertainment businesses can leverage new technologies and changing behaviours to enhance fan experiences.

The key pillars of fan engagement have evolved significantly for entertainment businesses over recent times, simultaneously opening up unprecedented opportunities, as well as challenges.

When stripped back to the bare basics, true engagement is all about triggering an emotional passionate response from an individual that will spark their interest and hold their attention.

With this in mind, the good news is that, thanks to digital transformation, there are more touchpoints than ever before for entertainment businesses seeking to connect with people on deeper and more meaningful levels than were previously possible.

However, the contextual challenges should not be forgotten – and they are significant.

This proliferation of touchpoints is partly due to the increasingly splintered nature of the entertainment industry across different media platforms, with the lines separating the digital and physical worlds having become blurred. Organisations have to be agile and adaptable to engage individuals who more fluid, expectant and diverse in their behaviours and motivations than ever before.

Put simply, while there are an increasing number of channels via which fans can be reached, they are more difficult to ‘pin down’ and retain. However, in changing times, there are central strategies that can be adopted by entertainment businesses that are aiming to step up to the challenge and boost their fan engagement capabilities.

 

Give the user control

Technological innovations are giving entertainment businesses transformational opportunities to ramp up their fan engagement activities to previously uncharted heights. However, the most significant drivers for change over the coming months and years will be the individuals themselves who will increasingly be empowered to consume the content they crave from a position of control.

We are moving away from the centralized ownership of data by the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, with consumers looking to be paid directly for their interactions – and this is where there is a real opportunity.

With Decentralized Digital Identities, consumers own their identity and the sport, club, federation, venue or entertainment entity becomes an issuer to that identity directly, with no middleman. Not only does the consumer then deal directly with the organization, but the organization leverages verifiable credentials to interact with their partners.

From a technology perspective there are no more messy integrations. However, more importantly, from a customer experience perspective, the individual’s data is secure and not passed on to other vendors.

 

Co-op Live is building UK’s first all-electric arena

Leverage the passions of a like-minded community

The days of entertainment businesses continually broadcasting communications are well and truly behind us.

There are opportunities to leverage the community of fans – and not just in a historical sense via naming rights, signage, talent interactions and hospitality, for example.

In the digital world, there is now enormous value being generated by moving people along a journey with NFTs, the Metaverse, and other engaging touchpoints.

It is also worth remembering that communities of fans – and especially younger people – are likely to be passionate about different areas, such as climate change and social issues, for example. If entertainment businesses can give them the opportunity to contribute towards those causes in some way, then they are becoming influencers, based on their specific actions, and this will strengthen the bond.

In the future, viewers, customers and fans will not only own their identity and control their data, but they will also be incentivized to interact and share content.

 

Sports teams are now including benefits and rewards to encourage fans to use the team app (source: Judo.app)

Utilize data to personalise the experience

First-party data and interactions are now combined with third-party data and technologies, including platforms like Microsoft Dynamics 365, Customer Insights, Recommendation Services and Azure Synapse, to deliver a more personalised consumer experience.

With this approach, the person is continually incentivized and rewarded for access to their data.

Rather than broadcasting emails or investing in paid ads via the likes of Facebook or Google, smart systems, underpinned by artificial intelligence, will increasingly understand the way each individual best responds to an offer.

These communications should not just be presented at renewal time or when onboarding occurs, but through the duration of the customer’s attachment to the entity. In the context of an entertainment business, this is a journey that should be extended to incorporate the build-up to an event and its legacy in the minds of the fans.

The focus should be on how fans can be enabled to benefit from money-can’t-buy experiences, special offers and unforgettable experiences while enjoying a fulfilling journey with their favourite brand.

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