Fan engagement is a term that has become commonplace in the sports industry in 2017, with high-profile activations taking place at nearly every major sporting event. While fan engagement has become a buzzworthy topic in sporting venues, it is still just beginning to pick up steam in the rest of the entertainment industry. Many popular concerts, festivals, and tours have not fully capitalized on the promising field of fan engagement – but we think that is due to change in the very near future.
In years past, when you attended a major sporting event, fan engagement was limited to simple souvenir stands, a little audience participation in between periods, and the ever-popular t-shirt cannon. That’s about the same level of fan engagement you will still find at many major concerts and festivals today. But as the word gets out about the huge potential for increased revenue and ROI from focusing on interactive engagement opportunities, the entertainment industry is starting to pay attention.
Festivals like Coachella, Bonnaroo, Pitchfork, SXSW, and Lollapalooza draw huge crowds ranging from 50,000 to more than 100,000 people per day. Each of these festivals goes on for several days in a row, with some lasting a week or more. The environment at these festivals and other major concerts is primed for interactive brand activations, and we think there will be a sharp uptick over the next few years.
New Opportunities for Onsite Fan Engagement
Sporting venues have been very creative in finding new and interactive ways to engage their fan bases, developing a wide spectrum of interactive tools that incorporate mobile apps and various social platforms. When each piece of the new fan engagement puzzle fits together, the combined data begins to reveal insights that marketers have never had access to before now.
With a new realm of data regarding fans’ preferences, behaviors, and associations – new possibilities emerge to strategically segment the fan base and deliver more effective offers, notifications, and content.
By mining social data, marketers can find online platforms and real-world events where their target audience is likely to be, and then strike while the iron is hot with a timely offer or invitation. By monitoring data related to music, movies, and entertainment – marketers can identify trends within their audience and then find opportunities to capitalize on the buzz surrounding other attractions.
There is seemingly no limit to the opportunities that can be uncovered by a creative marketing team with access to a large set of social data. So why hasn’t the entertainment industry been quicker to roll out interactive fan engagement programs? For many organizations, the biggest hurdle is just getting started. Organizations must identify opportunities to begin harvesting and integrating the data that is available to them. This can be a costly proposition, but there are several tools that can help the entertainment industry to jump right in and get started today.
Why Tailgating is the Prime Time for Fan Engagement
Ask any event producer, and they’ll tell you that the actual show is a relatively small part of their job. The same idea holds true for fans as well. The actual show, whether it’s a game or a concert, is only part of the experience. The rest of the experience is spread across preparation, the social event, and parties before and after the show itself.
While the show is in progress, the attention of the fans is dedicated to the performers. But during the rest of the experience, fans are readily available for communication, offers, and other types of engagement from brands and sponsors. Here at TGSM, we’ve found that parties before an event – specifically tailgating parties – are a prime time to engage fans in interactive games and activities. At tailgating parties, fans are excited and open to new experiences – and many of them are sharing their experiences live on social media.
By engaging fans at this unique time, you have a much-improved chance of capturing and holding the attention of new prospects and loyal customers alike.
How Mobile Apps Open the Door to Data Acquisition
One lesson we’ve learned through watching the development of fan engagement strategies in sports is that the mobile app is irreplaceable as the cornerstone of a solid data acquisition program. Almost every major sports franchise now has its own signature mobile app, with add-ons and integrations from venues, sponsors, leagues and more.
The mobile app now serves as the primary point of contact for many sports teams to interact and communicate with their fan bases. And when social data like preferences and behaviors is added into the mix, communication and content can be personalized to deliver a streamlined experience for each individual fan.
The importance of the mobile app as the bedrock for a data-centric fan engagement strategy is the reason why Tailgating Sports Marketing has developed a custom mobile app that can be rebranded and used by any of our clients. It saves you the cost of building your own app, but guarantees that you will be able to harvest as much data as possible each time you deploy one of our mobile activation assets.
Of course, if a venue or event already has its own app, all the features on a TGSM unit can be easily integrated to deliver information directly to your existing data sets.
Attracting the Most Desirable Demographics on the Lot
When you think about your typical football fans, you probably don’t envision a big group of women and millennials. But that’s exactly who our engagement assets attract on NFL tailgating lots every weekend. We’ve designed a unique experience that’s equipped with features specifically tailored to engage fans from these valuable demographics.
Free high-speed Wi-Fi attracts millennials, and anyone else who is likely to be sharing their experience on social media. State-of-the-art luxury restrooms with full-size privacy stalls and working plumbing attract women and families who are thrilled to find a sanitary and safe place to take care of their necessities.
When individuals enter our asset’s large 40’ x 40’ footprint, they become immersed in a fully interactive experience which includes more than fifty digital screens, a stereo broadcast sound system, and an assortment of interactive games and activities – many of which are socially integrated.
The entire experience, including the imagery on the trailer, the branding on the mobile app, and every one of the digital screens – can easily be custom-branded to match the event, the performing artist, or any sponsoring brand.
The Impact of Modern Fan Engagement at Major Concerts and Festivals
When you take into consideration the size and duration of the big music festivals, you can get a feel for the potential impact that fan engagement strategies will soon make in the entertainment industry.
In 2017, attendance at Coachella was capped at 125,000 per day – for a total of six days over two weeks. Approximately 100,000 people showed up for each of Lollapalooza’s four days. And about 65,000 people made the trek to rural Tennessee for this year’s four-day Bonnaroo festival.
If you’re involved in producing concerts, festivals, or other entertainment events – or if you work for a brand that wants to ramp up your fan engagement – get in touch with TGSM today at (888) 995-2285. One of our trained representatives will give you a virtual walk-through of our mobile activation assets, and answer all your questions about how these assets can be easily deployed to harvest valuable anonymous data at your event.