The numbers are staggering. Whether consumers are watching TV, walking in a store, or sitting in the arena, they have their mobile devices with them and an increasingly higher number are wanting and willing to use them as much as possible. As the baby boomers retire and the next generation starts raising families, the density of fans/consumers fluent in this technology will only increase the opportunity to encourage and engage in mobile e-commerce. Of course, this all sounds good, but where and how to begin is the issue for most.
In the near future, mobile concessions ordering will be a norm, particularly for premium seating. But, as technology improves, so will a team’s ability to encourage, and facilitate, impulse buys. An in-arena announcement to order food or a single merchandise item featured at a discounted price without having to leave your seat could be tempting and even good for data gathering. Instant calls to action from broadcasts to fans back home open up a ton of opportunities as well to the fans accustomed to holding tablets while watching TV at home. This does not mean ‘Use this hash tag’, this means ‘Open this App before the end of the game’ or ‘Text this’ or ‘Go to this site.’ It’s ok to be sales-y during a commercial, it’s expected, and, as we’ve learned through the simplest analyses of Facebook posts and web ads and the like, giving fans instructions (like this, click this, share this) can have a noticeable effect on taking the desired action.
It has been an eye-opening experience to see the size and devotion of communities around the world supporting teams thousands of miles from where they live. They watch games, visit the websites, wear the merchandise, and follow the players with as much avidity as a season ticket holder (and they would love to be one, if geography permitted). While I may not have the expert ideas to get to it, there is untapped value here.
Thousands of web and social media impressions and hundreds of fans that, when given the opportunity, love being able to buy unique items, feel connected to the organization, and be empowered to promote your brand or interact with the existing community in their locale. There is also the opportunity to engage sponsors across the web and mobile space who can find value from your non-local fans through online transactions and engagement. If hundreds of thousands fans/consumers are within your channels of communication, give them value and give them an opportunity to receive, share, and act upon personalized offers for merch, kits and more. European football teams have done this, to some degree.
If you have hundreds of thousands of fans and impressions, there is likely a lot of fans who can’t attend games, but can still bring great value to the organization. A nice transition to my next point of thinking clubs will find a way to show sponsors value in these earned impressions.
Every organization will be a media/content producer in the years to come and, for sports clubs, this already is an inherent part of the business (press releases, transactions, game results, etc.). Add to that a receptive fan base eager to consume even the most mundane content, and to spread and discuss it, and you have the potential for thousands of engaged consumers with article views, clicks, and, potential activations. This is already happening, but will continue to spread and get more creative and weaved into the context of the social community more (i.e. connecting brand’s values with sport and/or team). And, of course, promotional offerings will be better targeted, more personalized, more track-able and, in time, will show to deliver better conversion rates than traditional ads that fill the spam of web pages and snail mail.
I don’t want to presume a bastardizing of all social web interaction with ads, but, instead, smarter ads, interactive ads, activations that give and create content and offer something it’s known fans will value.
Posted by Neil Horowitz