Using High-Quality Data to Produce High-Quality Content

In the modern age of advertising, marketers shouldn’t see consumers of content as numbers in data reports. The key is understanding that the people consuming our content are more than statistics to be frequently presented and analysed in an almost binary manner.

It is important to understand the exponential growth online video consumption has experienced and how that growth forecasts to continue. Bearing this in mind, we must all approach each and every campaign with an understanding of who constitutes our target audience, what they want, and how they interact with their content.

Using Content to Comprehend Consumer Habits

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Sports fans have an unrivalled and insatiable appetite to access not only the product produced on the pitch, but the teams and individual athletes who inspire them. The ever-evolving digital landscape brings fans closer to “the action” than ever before.

For brands, teams and athletes to capitalise on the opportunity this level of intrigue and demand brings with it, an extensive and thorough knowledge of what fans want from them is imperative. When constructing a marketing strategy, therefore, marketers need to see content playing an integral role in both the comprehension and delivery of what sports fans want - the stories that bring them closer to their passions.

The increased volume of sports reporting and blogging has seen the output become somewhat formulaic - mundane and repetitive match reports or speculative nonsense seeking the “holy grail” clicks that so many companies value. Unfortunately, this by-the-numbers, lowest common denominator clickbait content is saturating the market at a depressing rate.

However, with this never-ending reportage comes opportunity. High-end content production for sports marketing has strengthened its position in new, engaging ways for fans. Working closely with brands enables marketers to look at how users currently, and have previously, interacted with productive output to develop innovative content.

The proliferation of, and access to, high-quality information allows digital strategists to approach subject matter they are passionate about in a manner that accentuates and embraces creative storytelling to reward its audience, so its audience will reward its producers.

Operating in the sports marketing industry provides ample opportunity for engagement and turnover. Speaking during the keynote kickoff to Stanford GSB’s first Sports Innovation Conference in 2014, Vivek Ranadivé - co-owner and chairman of the Sacramento Kings - touched on the premise that leagues and franchises recognise fan passion and loyalty as opportunities to grow and develop alternative revenue streams.

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“What’s the difference between a customer and a fan?”, he asked. “Fans will paint their face purple, fans will evangelise. … Every other CEO in every business is dying to be in our position - they’re dying to have fans.”

Sports fans connect with franchises and associations on levels that go far beyond typical marketing parameters. There is a level of passion and drive unrivalled in other walks of life. With so much information available, the opportunities to directly interact with fans is greater than ever before.

The need for brands to interpret their data beyond mere numbers has never been greater. The incremental access to information regarding their audiences requires brands to interpret their data in a manner that provides them with a single, “360-degree view” of the customer. This offers better potential for custom, personalised marketing.

The cyclical relationship between data and engagement means that the better brands know their customers, the more data they can ascribe to them, and vice/versa. This makes it easier to link behaviours; to understand customers journeys, purchasing cycles; all ultimately aiding the delivery of better performing content. Data only has the power to be actionable, it’s imperative to understand what your data is telling you.

A single, all-encompassing view of the customer has never been more in reach thanks to the plethora of analytical and statistical tools available to marketers. The concept of interpreting this data to give companies the aforementioned 360-degree view of customers is imperative to provide the best content to encourage engagement.

Campaigns that run in concurrence with an event lend themselves to the most formulaic dividends. Striking the numerous balances can be an artform in itself. Balancing the natural feelings and passions associated with sports fans, with the emotional elements of a campaign, requires an understanding and relatability between the target audience and the advertiser.

Going the extra mile to comprehend this balance, while simultaneously maintaining brand authenticity, has become the absolute bare minimum in digital advertising. Marketing in the sports industry now requires producing work that manages the intersections between the real and virtual worlds - what fans want from digital campaigns and what our data analysis informs us.

Where previously fans consumed sports content in a passive manner, from afar, they can now quench their interactive thirsts, as it were, in a myriad of manners. Sporting bodies and organisations now have to work harder to ensure that not only is their content reaching its target audience, but across multiple platforms. While this presents a significant challenge, it’s one we all must enjoy undertaking.

To summarise, the modern digital advertising landscape requires marketers to understand how potentially rich the returns are, when strategically planning a well-thought out and executed digital marketing campaign. Therefore, the recent and ongoing growth in online video consumption presents an untapped potential for deeper engagement, greater reach and significant returns commercially.

Philip Weafer specialises in content marketing and you can follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn. 

Tom Fox