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Gyles Marshall

Digital Strategist

Do you really know your customers?

Rawnet has been working with clients in the leisure sector for a number of years and we've noticed the same challenges impacting their businesses. With the disruption of mobile and how new generations are engaging with connected devices, these challenges are only becoming more an issue. Collating years of conversations with clients and research, we've narrowed down the top 2 challenges the leisure industry is facing.

1. Really knowing your customers

When we ask clients if they know all of the customers, the answer is usually, “we know some of them”. This challenge often stems from the booking or ticket purchase process. In an ideal world, you would screen all of your visitors and capture all of their data to learn their preferences. However, in a competitive industry, ticket sales are more important, so if someone wants to book a group of tickets, you typically wouldn’t want to add an extra hurdle to conversion by way of asking for every visitor’s details. The opportunity cost is that you only know the person buying the tickets.

This was a key challenge for Ascot Racecourse, as they only had visibility of 1 in 6 of their customers. Find out how we helped them overcome this challenge.

Visibility of your customer's data will allow you to empower your marketing, sales and operations teams, as well as enhancing the customer experience. Capturing data is one thing but analysis of the data is the key to success. Having a digital platform allows you to track the behavioural patterns of individual users and personalising their experience to suit their needs will boost customer loyalty. 41% of consumers say they purchase from retailers that personalize their messaging, so there’s a huge opportunity here.

So, where do you start? Every experience is going to be different and encompass different user journeys. The key, however, is to map out the user journeys, digital touch points and the technical architecture that underpins these. Once you have a clear view on infrastructure, you can then begin to strategically gather data from your end users, by channelling their real-time data into a centralized source. Once this has been achieved, we can then begin automating workflows off the back of user’s behaviour. Targeted marketing communication can now be made automatically, enhancing the user experience through personalisation and in turn, enhancing sales conversion.

2. Exposure beyond the main event

The increasing pressure to turn over more revenue for each following year/event/quarter can give businesses tunnel vision and stunt innovation. Selling more tickets to new customers to show ROI can overshadow the importance of customer retention. With customer loyalty practically non-existent amongst Millenials and Generation Z, brands have to work harder to improve the customer experience. 80% of Generation Z consumers are willing to sign-up for loyalty cards or apps in exchange for deals/discounts and these loyal, engaged customers are worth 10 times more than their first purchase, so there’s already huge benefits we can start to see, which some of our clients are capitalising on.

Utilising digital, to broaden the lifespan of your event beyond the venue

Digital allows you to connect with people before, during and after your event, on multiple touch points. What was once a purely physical experience at an event, can now be transformed into a longer experience, broadcasted and shared through social platforms.

In the build-up to the event, the goal is to build anticipation. By offering a digital platform (app or website) for customers to interact with at the point of conversion, you can begin gathering data and preferences to help a visitor plan their own event. Use incentives such as competitions or discounts to encourage users to sign-up to and share the platform with their wider group. The important thing is that we’re incentivising the use of the platform, exposing it to everyone attending and using it to leverage new business on social channels.

Enhancing the actual event itself can be the most difficult part of the strategy because there needs to be a fine balance between the physical experience and digital. Digital should be used to enhance the on-site experience, not overtake it or exist for the sake of it. The most important aspect of this part of the customer journey is tracking user behaviours at the event. This is where we utilize what we’ve learnt before the event, to personalize offerings, recommendations and track more intimate data, now that they are in the heart of the experience. As well as enhancing the physical event, you can also reach a wider audience. In July 2017, we hosted an event where Goodwood shared how they broadcast exclusive footage of The Festival of Speed to people watching their live streams, giving them a unique view of the event and something they wouldn't experience if they were there.

You can watch highlights from 'Consumer Behaviour: The Driving Force Behind Digital in Leisure' here.

After the event is where you can make use of the data you've gathered thus far to make targeted suggestions, which are completely personalized to maximise interest and conversion. The ultimate goal here is to keep your customers in your ecosystem and encourage peers in their network to join.

All of these touch points (before, during and after) are as important as each other and play an integral role in solving the challenge of exposure.

To summarise, implementing a digital solution will enhance the customer experience but will also provide you with multiple touch points to gather intimate data, tap into new customers and capitalize on it.