From NBA Finals to the U.S. Open and Beyond: How Sports Marketers Can Win Big this Summer

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How Sports Marketers Win Big this Summer
Mike Buttigieg

From the basketball playoffs to the U.S. Open to the start of baseball season, spring and summer sports draw enormous crowds and countless spectators across the country. Earlier this year, the NBA All-Star Game drew an average of 7.8 million viewers alone, and last’s year’s U.S. Open set a new daily attendance record at 65 thousand fans. Meanwhile, brands are exceeding these numbers with their marketing dollars.

sports-enthusiasts-infographic-blis-location-data

With so much opportunity—and competition—how can marketers stand out from the crowd and forge meaningful relationships with sports fans?

We’ve put together some best practices that will enable marketers to identify their perfect audiences and build lifelong relationships with super fans this season.

Meet Them at the Game

Marketers wanting to meet—and reach—sports fans may choose to sponsor sports content online or purchase expensive logos on advertising panels at stadiums. But what’s really the best way for brands to deliver their ads to sports-goers?

Even in 2017, the majority of digital advertising continues to be served via contextual targeting. Data from a custom Blis study shows that only 32% of sports fans browse sports-related content while at sporting events. This means that if marketers only focus on context-driven digital strategies, they’ll miss out on the opportunity to reach almost two-thirds of sports fans. Instead, these marketers would be wise to know that over half the fans visiting the Metlife stadium last year favored weather, entertainment, science & gaming content while at the game.

Moreover, ads appearing on stadium billboards might not lead to desired conversions like purchases or website visits. The Metife stadium, for instance, is sponsored by an insurance company, but how many football fans at the half-time show are signing up for insurance plans, let alone paying attention to the ads? And perhaps more importantly, will these fans see ads for that insurance company again after they leave the stadium?

Brands should see sporting events not only as the endgame of their marketing efforts, but also as the place to identify their ideal audiences—and begin forging meaningful relationships with them. Using sophisticated location data, brands can identify fans based on their mobile devices. Whether marketers geo-fence stadiums to collect device IDs, look at Wi-Fi check-ins or harness beacon technology, brands can build accurate pools of consumers who attended the big game.

But just knowing who went to the playoffs—and who came back for the finals—isn’t all location data can tell marketers; it can continue to provide important insights into each individual, including where they live, work, shop and where they like to go before and after the game—information that’s critical for retargeting.

Such data becomes even more useful when paired with other insights. By taking a look at demographic data and purchase histories, for instance, marketers can find out how much disposable income these fans have or how much they tend to spend around game time. Someone may be a diehard Yankees fan, but she can also be a mother-of-two who enjoys taking the kids to the mall after each ballgame. Such rich information will make it a whole lot easier for brands to craft effective, personalized marketing campaigns.

Reach Out at the Right Time

As any successful coach will tell you, timing is critical to success. Sports marketing is no exception. An alcohol brand would do well to target baseball fans in the hours before the first and after the last pitch as fans congregate in nearby bars before heading in and celebrate/drown sorrows before heading home.

Other brands may want to reach out to consumers after they’ve left the stadium. In these cases, marketers should continue to pay attention to location data. Again, it’s tempting for marketers to think it’s best to choose sports-related content to reach these stadium-goers long after the game. But our study reveals that less than half of sports fans (47%) seen at stadiums browse sports-related content after a game. In order to reach the remaining 53% of fans, marketers will need to learn more about them through other data sources, including historical location data, browsing histories and demographic data.

Paying attention to location means more than just targeting consumers at home or at a stadium; it also means paying attention to which devices consumers use and when. For example, the insurance brand can invite the sports fan to sign up for offers while he’s working on his desktop, where it will be easier to fill out a form, or smoothly stream a video via his home wifi.

Adidas recently launched a location-powered ad campaign designed to boost brand awareness and drive foot traffic to Intersport stores. The brand identified its target audience by collecting location data from soccer fields holding weekend league matches and pick-up soccer games. They then served video ads to these devices when they were at home connected to Wi-Fi. The campaign resulted in a 78% view-through rate and 5.5% increase in foot traffic.

Stay in Touch After the Championship’s Over

When brands go to the games, and stay in touch with fans wherever they go, they’ll be well-equipped to reach ideal audiences and build a loyal following. With location-based insights and advertising strategies, brands can make sure they win big on and off the courts this summer.

But the process of forging meaningful relationships with consumers extends well beyond the NBA finals or the U.S. Open championship. Brands must remain dedicated to identifying, understanding and reaching their ideal audiences, whether fans are getting ready to purchase their season tickets or pack up their jerseys till next year.

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Mike Buttigieg Michael Buttigieg is Senior Sales Director at Blis, the global pioneer in location data. Having been at Blis since 2013, Buttigieg moved out to New York in 2016 to help establish Blis’ New York office where he specialises in the sales of Blis’ proprietary technology and platform.
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Partner Spotlight: Q&A with RSi’s Ansa

Question 1: How long have you been at RSi and what is your role?
For the past three years, I have been responsible for creating and scaling Ansa, a web-based solution from RSi – Retail Solutions, Inc., that has enabled over 75 of the world’s largest CPG companies and their agencies to build, measure and maximize the performance of their shopper marketing campaigns running in support of the nation’s leading retailers. I am responsible for all aspects of business development, partner and agency relationships and the overall revenue growth of Ansa.

Question 2: How does RSi help solve marketer challenges?
Shopper marketers’ biggest challenge is to connect their online campaigns to in-store results. RSi’s Ansa solution provides the intelligence they need, based on daily, store-level POS-data from the largest US retailers in order to plan, target, and measure the impact of their shopper marketing campaigns. Retail Solutions Inc. has partnered with the leading ad networks in Shopper Marketing, such as Blis, to make Ansa’s automated analytics available for the world’s largest CPG companies and their agencies. To measure and maximize their digital ad campaigns, all they need to do is ask for Ansa inside their next campaign.

Question 3: What benefits does the partnership with Blis bring to buyers as well as the adtech ecosystem?
With RSi’s Ansa solution, building, dynamically optimizing, and reviewing attribution measures for every digital ad campaign has never been so simple. Here is how it works:
1. STORE-LEVEL TARGETING: automatically get from Ansa your store targeting data as store addresses, lat/longs or by Ansa Digital ZIPs to identify stores with the greatest sales potential prior to launching hyper-local media.
2. IN-FLIGHT OPTIMIZATION: see in real-time how sales are trending in your targeted stores vs. a 52-week historical average, and get access to dynamic optimization lists that can guide budget reallocation.
3. MEASUREMENT & INSIGHTS: get access via the online portal to end of campaign analysis just days after the media campaign is over. Visualizations give you a standardized set of analytics, such as sales lift, incremental dollars and units, confidence level, weekly lift, characteristics of high performing stores, etc. Prove and improve your media to help you fine-tune strategies for your future campaigns.

Question 4: What are use cases for the Blis + RSi partnership? (Please provide a few examples from different verticals).
If you are a shopper marketer, maximizing your budgets, understanding performance of your marketing tactics and generating key learnings from those marketing tactics are tasks that are essential to your business.

Running a digital marketing campaign with Blis, and Ansa’s daily, store-level sales intelligence helps make that extremely for the CPG community and shopper marketers specifically.

For existing products, Blis campaigns using Ansa targeting can reach a targeting efficiency of 2:1 vs. campaigns that do not use Ansa store-level targeting thereby ensuring that every dollar is spent driving sales to your most important retailer locations.

Blis campaigns optimized with Ansa typically identify and heavy up investment around 16% of stores that are trending significantly ahead of the average store during a campaign and identify and decrease investment around 14% of stores that are trending significantly behind the average store, therefore ensuring that your budget is being optimized surrounding stores that are over-performing during a given campaign.

After each Blis campaign, Ansa automatically generates measurement of Featured Item Lift and Halo Item Lift at both the total event and week levels. Results are completed 5 business days after the end of each campaign and allow you to learn quickly and improve continuously, all at an amazingly affordable price.

Question 5: What shopper marketing measurement trends do you predict for 2018?
Optimization in-flight based on store sales trends during campaign. Optimizing on engagement, intent and / or clicks may be ok for some campaigns but more and more frequently shopper marketers are tasked with driving sales at their most important retailers. And understanding how their marketing tactics performed 5-6 weeks after a campaign has finished is just not fast enough anymore in today’s fast paced world and puts media providers at a severe disadvantage. By utilizing automated reporting that allows Ansa partners like Blis to understand and optimize their media in-flight based on daily, store-level POS sales data you now empower your media partner to act on supporting the stores that are driving your product sales which can ultimately provide a powerful boost to a shopper marketing campaign.

Question 6: If there was one piece of content you think every marketer should read, what is it?
(Other than this blog post of course!)

Think with Google and Facebook IQ are two fantastic sources of resources. Articles, trends, case studies, POVs, insights, etc… pretty much everything you need to read to keep you up-to-speed in this very fast-paced environment.

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Retailers’ Golden Ticket to Reviving Brick and Mortar Stores

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Retailers’ Golden Ticket to Reviving Brick and Mortar Stores

Interested in understanding how to connect mobile experiences to physical stores? Or how mobile can be the extension of a retailer’s store? Maybe you’ve wondered about the new Cost-Per-Visit metric? Look no further. Blis’ location data experts will be answering these questions on a weekly basis over the next few months in our ‘Retail Series’ which aims to equip retail marketers with the right insights and top tips to stay ahead of the game.

Following its decision to buy e-commerce company Jet.com last year, Walmart recently agreed to acquire Bonobos, a retailer with a strong online presence and generous shipping policies. If these moves weren’t sign enough that the physical and digital retail worlds are merging, Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods is the ultimate wake-up call.

Retailers everywhere are realizing that while brick and mortar stores are still critical, they’ll need a strong digital strategy to keep them filled with happy customers. Mobile devices are retailers’ golden ticket to connecting with consumers and reviving in-store shopping.

Understanding Consumers though Mobile

Whether they are going to work or going shopping, consumers carry their phones with them wherever they go. As a result, mobile devices provide retailers with a constant stream of valuable consumer insights. GPS and Wi-Fi data can tell retailers, for instance, whether a consumer is at a desktop at work, connected to Wi-Fi at home, or walking past a retailer’s store.

Beyond real-time location data, retailers can use historical location data to understand a consumer’s habits. For example, some consumers might visit a luxury jewelry brand on Fifth Avenue just to browse, even if they have no intention (or monetary means!) of buying. Thus, for that specific retailer, in-store visits may not indicate ideal customers. Instead, that luxury retailer can look at historical location data to identify their ideal consumers: perhaps individuals who frequently stay at the Four Seasons Hotel or regularly check in to exclusive country clubs.

But retailers shouldn’t rely on mobile data alone. By layering mobile insights with other valuable sources of data, advertisers can gain a holistic picture of their perfect audiences. Data collected from laptops, for instance, can reveal browsing histories and online shopping patterns; however, consumers won’t be opening up their laptops while shopping in stores. The trick is for retailers to match the data across devices to unique mobile device IDs. Only then will they gain a more holistic understanding of consumers and will be able to target or retarget them with products they are likely to go buy.

Driving Foot Traffic Creatively

Once they’ve gotten a clear and thorough understanding of their ideal audiences, how can retailers use mobile devices to drive foot traffic? Proximity targeting—delivering ads to consumers when they come within a certain distance of a store location—is a common approach. Retailers can maximize the power of proximity targeting by crafting unique and imaginative creatives.

For instance, advertisers can deliver ads to shoppers already in the area to tell them about an in-store sale, or offer them a coupon they can only redeem in person. Retailers can also deliver ads that feature a handy map telling consumers how to find their store.

Sometimes, targeting consumers when they are walking by a store may be a little too late. A QSR wanting to boost its 10 am breakfast crowd, for instance, may want to target consumers when they wake up around 7a and begin planning their day. Otherwise, the consumer has most likely already made their breakfast choice.

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for retailers looking to connect with consumers and drive in-store sales, a strong mobile strategy is key. As the digital and physical worlds continue to blend, retailers must harness the insights and capabilities of mobile to reach their unique brand objectives.

Tune in next week to read all about how mobile is fast becoming the extension of a retailer’s store.

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3 Ways Retailers Can Use Mobile for Effective One-to-one...

Today, mobile devices are like mini retail stores we carry around in our pockets: places where consumers can browse merchandise or place orders almost instantly.

But mobile devices also give consumers something they can’t get in stores: personalized marketing. Collecting data like shopping histories and browsing patterns, mmobile devices provide retailers with detailed insight into individual consumers and a means of communicating with them directly.

How can retailers use mobile insights and capabilities to craft effective, one-to-one messaging?

1. Get personal.

Today, consumers want—and expect—ads to speak directly to them. In fact, 74% of customers feel frustrated when their online experiences aren’t personalized.

The easiest way for retailers to personalize content is by harnessing their first-party data. If a customer purchases a dress online, the brand can use what they know about her (her fashion interests, browsing history and email address) to customize subsequent content. For example, the brand can serve an ad via email that suggests a pair of shoes to go along with the new dress.

With CRM data, the retailer can see what the woman bought online, but do they know what she’s purchased elsewhere? Or what she does when she’s not shopping? This is where location data comes in. Retailers that layer location-based insights on to other sources of data can get to know where and when consumers shop at brick and mortar stores. They can also identify other behavioral patterns, including which day of the week and time of day they like to go shopping—data can enables greater levels of personalization.

Let’s say a CPG brand wants to reach out to a previous customer who hasn’t been seen in store lately. The marketers can use their knowledge of the consumer’s daily commute to deliver the ad just before he leaves work, suggesting he stop by on his way home. They may even offer him a discount on the product he previously purchased.

2. Market to individuals, not devices.

Once retailer marketers have identified their ideal audiences on mobile, they shouldn’t see phones as the only means of communication. Consumers own an average of 3.6 connected devices, so retailers should communicate with consumers across the devices they use, including tablets, laptops, desktops and addressable TV.

However, if a retailer sees a user reading political news on the tablet all day but watching cartoons in the evening, it might not be the same same person. With families and partners sharing devices at home, marketers need to make sure they are constructing nuanced consumer profiles across devices in order to reach out to individuals, not just devices.

3. Don’t be creepy.

Personalized, cross-device marketing is on the rise in part because consumers are increasingly willing to disclose their data to retailers. After all, purchase histories and location data are essential for useful or interesting ads.

But how retailers use that data is key. Consumers want to feel understood, but they don’t want to feel like ads are invasive or drawing on data that’s simply too personal and private. Marketers need to make sure they aren’t crossing any personal boundaries or making consumers feel uncomfortable.

If marketers want to turn heads or, more importantly, turn consumers into buyers, they’ll need to do more than blast out generic ads to the masses. When retailers personalize ads with these three tips, they’ll see huge improvements in campaign performance.

But how, exactly, do they measure these improvements? Find out next week when we assess the best metrics for retailers.

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