Owning the experience means knowing your fans

Owning the experience means knowing your fans

As consumers divide their attention between screens, tasks, and types of media, the opportunity to connect with audiences has never been greater. Consumers aren’t just watching the Super Bowl on their flatscreens, they’re also live streaming NBC’s coverage from their tablets, sharing their thoughts on Twitter, checking their fantasy scores from their phones, and even chatting with their friends through running Skype conversations. It’s harder than ever for brands to have one continuous “discussion” with each customer — they’re all over the place.

Super Bowl XLIX will likely reach more viewers than last year’s record-breaking 111.5 million. After the big game airs on Sunday, consumers will likely forget all but one or two ads (like Budweiser’s ‘Lost Dog‘); they won’t, however, forget the brands that continue to engage with them personally.

How can you reach audiences on different platforms and break past the competition? Build your strategy around the customer experience. Here are four experience marketing lessons to take away from the Super Bowl:

1. Know Yourself and Your Customers

The perfect game plan leverages unique strengths to win; this begins with an honest assessment of how you’re uniquely poised to put points on the board. Your most successful plays may or may not coincide with your focus of one-upping the competition. Success is simply what wins the customer, so focus on them and learn what they like most about you.

Analytics can help you understand how your customers interact with your brand. Ideally, use a single system to collect all customer-related data, spanning all touch points: websites, CRM systems, social media networks, mobile sites, email, and so on. A connected, lifetime view of your customer will position you to deliver the best service possible.

2. Remember: The Game Is for the Fans

Identify your brand fans and focus on them first. As large as the addressable market may be — and as exciting as it is to acquire new customers — when we’re talking about securing tickets for this game, or this campaign. The first place to start is last year’s season ticket holders.

Focus on creating lifelong customers by thinking creatively about reconnecting with your most loyal fans. Think about how you can appeal to these customers at every stage of their buying cycle, fulfilling their needs as they evolve. Start with the channels your customers visit most often and reach them with context-appropriate content.

3. Practice, Practice, Practice

Practice is most productive when spent applying your strengths differently. We learn what’s effective by practicing small samples of a new play or new technique, then analyzing the film to assess if it will work on game day. Encourage your team to do the same with campaigns. Test early and often, using small and indicative sample markets to answer questions and identify areas for improvement. Don’t get paralyzed trying to decide on copy or creative; test it and trust the results. The best marketers make this part of every campaign rather than an afterthought.

Understand what’s important for different segments of customers and make sure those experiences look and feel different — a first-time visitor to your site should have a different experience than that of an existing loyal customer.

4. Make Halftime Adjustments

Say you’ve planned carefully and tested your campaign, but it’s not performing how you’d hoped. In the words of Bear Bryant, “Don’t give up at halftime. Concentrate on winning the second half.” The best teams can make real-time adjustments, whether they’re killing it or whether they’re behind.

I’ll spare the “Dunk in the Dark” moment, but you get the point about being agile. Bake those adjustments into your game plan and prioritize using technology that helps you automate as much as possible so you can focus on being creative. Be prepared with reactions to what needs correcting, and more importantly, have a plan to capitalize on what’s going well.

If companies can find a quick way of testing personalized experiences for every consumer, they’ll outpace the competition. The technology exists — now the opportunity is to delight your customers and win the game.