If you own a sports team, a TV show or any entertainment IP, you’ll be familiar with the complex relationship you have with social platforms and tech giants. On the one hand, they offer massive reach, convenience and functionality you don’t need to build or maintain. In some cases they give a back a little revenue. But in all cases, they’re serving their commercial agenda not yours. And like all business strategies, an over-concentration or reliance on a small number of channels or revenue streams is a risky business.
Most major sports teams in the top tiers will claim billions of fans globally. But of those, we all know that they can only monetise a small fraction. Why? Because they can’t communicate with those people on their own terms. Algorithms, filters, walled gardens and other techniques are designed to ensure the tech company owns and controls the primary means of monetisation - the data.
In the world of TV, the format owners will hope to make money from their TV show brand when it’s not even on air, but of course the broadcaster will have an opinion on that! After all, it’s their audience, right? And in fact, if you’re distributing your content via any sort of channel, you’re going have a fight with whoever is between you and the end user.
If you do decide to make a play for your own audience, inevitably it’s because you want to take back a greater portion of control and commercial potential. You’ll want to sell better sponsorship packages that deliver measurable for brands. You’ll want to drive subscriptions to your OTT play or your VIP fan club. You’ll want to sell as much of your own merchandise as possible, at full price and take out the middleman. And you may simply want to engage with a positive dialogue with your fans on your own terms - their sentiment is at the core of your business, and let’s be honest, your fans on Instagram aren’t opening that app just because of you. Accept, it, you are probably a fleeting moment within their many hours of screen time a day.
So you’ll organise a workshop and draw out a diagram of tech components needed, or upgrades to make; someone paid large sums of money on a day rate will design a new customer journey and you’ll run complex RFP processes for companies to “build” your digital products. You might even consider in-house development and wonder if your CTO is up to it. Someone will send round a report on Customer Data Platforms and you’ll wonder whether you need one. Then someone will surface scalability and you’ll worry about embarrassing failures on launch day.
It will feel like great progress is being made, and the board will be proud of their investment. But in the words of Seth Godin, “Maybe you’re in love with the effort you’re putting into the tactics”.
What everyone forgets is that most fans - fans of anything - come back to you for a small number of reasons. Your challenge is not building product, it’s not launching a new website, it’s continuously attracting sufficient quality attention and continuously converting that to meaningful business value.
Fans of Love Island open the app for three primary reasons:
Once they’re in, the product’s job is to create a positive feeling of authenticity, direct access, convenience and ultimately to keep them coming back for more.
In sport, fans of the Liverpool Football Club Match Centre go there because:
This is where so many digital transformation efforts fall down - they fail to ask “Why would they come?”. Schedules - sure. News? Yes probably. But those things are competing head-on with Google. Guess who wins that battle in the end?
And so, as the thought process goes, you ask yourself whether to invest in a special fantasy game, some form of rewards programme, regular fan voting and challenges. You think about how to use competitions or sweepstakes to drive attention. And you realise that these are just the ideas you’re already aware of, if you build them all you’ll still be here in two years’ time delivering product which is “non-core”. And while you’re building those products, interactive video becomes a thing; you rush to find a solution to build your own virtual shopping channel. And then you realise you’re over-budget on the other builds and you revert to YouTube because it’s quick and easy. And so it goes on.
What if you could adopt a SaaS platform that provided an ever-changing selection of interactive experiences, inter-connected into your tech stack? One that was easy to use, but massively scalable. That’s exactly what the new Monterosa / Interaction Cloud provides:
We believe that “Audience Interaction Platforms” (AIPs) will become a major part of the consumer experience tech stack in future. Will they be featured by Gardner or Forrester reports? We don’t know yet. What we can say for sure is that we’ve listened to the industry and we know there’s a problem to solve. With the commercial impact of COVID bringing into sharp focus the need to maintain profitable customer relationships, we created the Monterosa / Interaction Cloud with the goal of helping every media, sport and consumer-facing business build better, more valuable relationships that last a lifetime.
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