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The Importance of Building ‘the right’ Digital Experience

Fri 22nd Apr 2016 | IT & Technology

In the digital era where immediacy and instant gratification are commonplace, Football Clubs are facing higher expectations and shorter deadlines to communicate with the outside world. Whether it’s the fans in a ground or halfway around the world they want to interact with their club in a way that makes them feel part of the action.

The increased focus on what your digital strategy means for you as a club without being in the context of your fellow teams is something that is a fairly new. The deadline on who to choose as your digital partner is fast approaching and they need to be someone who understands the game, not just the game of football but the tactics needed for digital too.

With single customer views, customer experience and monetization also at the forefront of clubs agenda it raises some great questions when heading into the market. How do you get the right recipe?

Every team will create a website; there are so many providers out there in the market quite honestly it’s hard to differentiate what each provider can do and how well they measure against each other.

Many businesses approach their website at a tactical level, making decisions on the fly in response to the latest new technology or business demand. A web site though should not be just a tactic but an integral part of the overall digital strategy.

First and foremost your digital partner needs to be able to assist you with either defining or verifying your digital strategy. Creating a digital strategy is the chance to bring some order to the chaos that is most organisations approach to digital. The digital strategy needs to take a broader view on the business ecosystem for capturing value, offer actionable plan for launching digital services (website and app) and align them with existing portfolio and organisational design. At Ixonos we help all sorts of businesses to plan and deliver clear strategies which create value for them and shape customer loyalty. We have created a strategy toolkit to streamline the process and it can be applied across industries including sports and entertainment.

Today’s websites take into account much more than the colours you want to use and how you pull in the fixtures information. It’s about how it interacts with the other core components of your business to make sure it’s as easy to complete a transaction, as it is to capture the data and view it in a way that allows you to make supported commercial decisions.

Integrated services have elevated the field in the sports arena; this was a game changer when clubs moved from paper season ticket books to smart access. The challenge you now face on a digital front isn’t just how you create your website but its how the website works to feed the ever growing appetite of the fan and your bottom line.

Here at Ixonos, our team has realised that to really resonate with your fans it takes service design thinking. Service Design is defined as the ‘activity of planning and organising people, infrastructure, communication and material components of a service in order to improve its quality and the interaction between service provider and customers’. In this context you’re the service provider, you’re providing them with the team in a way that fulfils their needs on some level.

By engaging with your stakeholders in a way that feels personal to them, leads them to feel appreciated, important, valued and acknowledged. Creating personalised and intuitive interactions, content and communication allows you differentiate your club from the competition. Competition is not another football team as football fans are fans for life, but could easily be other leisure pursuits, video subscriptions or retail stores essentially they’re all looking to monetise and engage the football fan.

Creating a single customer view can help you elevate your customer experience by putting together the pieces of the puzzle so you see in reality what a fan’s interaction with the club is. How it looks and how it can be improved, this is driven by data which is analysed to understand the customer’s needs. This way, insightful suggestions on other products, services and interactions can be welcomed by the fan in a way that satisfies their needs, and allows the club to generate additional revenue.

The way fans access the website needs to be taken into account. These days fans access their team’s websites off multiple different devices at different times of the day. Therefore a Website that’s optimised across different devices is vital. According to data from IBM, 2015’s Black Friday had more than 57% of visits via mobile. Not many of your fans in China, Asia as a whole, Africa and South America will be doing it any other way. With this reflecting consumer behaviour trends from web to mobile and tablet it shows how important it is to be able to interact on all levels especially on the go. Providing a truly omni-channel experience makes sure your supporters can engage and buy from you anytime, anywhere in the instant demand way they are used in their everyday lives.

Your digital partner of choice should also be able to help you successfully navigate through digital trends and buzzwords that keep cropping up and ensure that you embrace innovation with a clear view in ROI.

For example, common trends in the industry indicates video and online clips has become such a large part of the way fans consume football content in the home and on the move, from amusing bloopers to highlight reels this is valuable content. For the first time in upcoming 2016/17 season, Sky purchased the rights to stream clips and in-match content across digital platforms; showing this is no longer just a value add, it’s a viable asset in commercial inventory.

The opportunities to increase fan engagement and even monetise the experience through exclusive content or advertising are only just starting to be realised. In the Nielsen 2013 survey on top benefits of retail loyalty programmes 33% of people surveyed identified exclusive opportunities to interact with products or events was one of the elements that made a good loyalty program with a further 44% saying that customer service was also a top benefit.

The value of digital clips has been demonstrated with a clear indicator that video content is a growing area for engagement with tangible value other areas experiencing similar growth are Customer Experience and Monetisation. Providing a meaningful experience that resonates with the fan are where will differentiating themselves not only from their competition but from external forces such as retailers or health and leisure to building a deeper brand loyalty with the customer and securing their spend for the longer term.

At Ixonos we use our expertise in design and technology to create everything from websites, mobile applications right through to full service interactive venue experiences. Having developed some award winning cases throughout 2015, your digital future is safe with us. We are ISO accredited for our practices and quality solutions.

If you would like to get in touch with us to find out more on how we might be able to help you please email victoria.waddicar@ixonos.com or call +44 (0) 207 436 0477.

Posted by: Kev Howland 

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