This article was originally posted on LinkedIn by Neil Horowitz on May 13, 2016.
Know your “why”. You can’t start architect-ing a solution before identifying the problem.
We recently launched the mobile app for Dover International Speedway, which is hosting several events this weekend (May 12-15), including the NASCAR Sprint Cup race AAA 400. And, within their new app, they’ve implemented features with a mindset of improvement and enhancement for fans, partners, and the venue operators.
Scenario: Planning their weekend at the track
Fan is overwhelmed by the sheer number of events going on, during and between the races, all weekend. They want to easily check out all the events and figure out which ones they can and want to attend.
Happy Ending: Event schedule in app
Think about the fan experience — they need the time, place, and a way to quickly filter through the lengthy list. One starts perusing the calendar and opens the phone’s notepad to write down their plan. Boom – opportunity to enhance and personalize; not just buzz words, but a one-touch way to personalize a planner inside the app. The lesson is to walk through the fan experience.
Scenario: Replicating the convenience of watching from home
A bunch of racing fans spend the weekend going between the speedway and their RV’s in the Dover RV lot. They come from all over. They come for a good time. There are tons of fans hanging out and there is a lot of eating, drinking, and merriment going on. But not everyone comes armed with groceries and gear.
Happy Ending: Browse food menus, place orders and arrange delivery from your phone
How can you beat the at-home experience? Mobile food ordering and delivery right to the RV is getting there. Fans get that near instant gratification, to which we’ve become conditioned and accustomed, and Dover provides a service, while raking a little extra revenue. Even better, in this emerging age of “dynamic pricing,” last minute push alerts can move inventory before it’s too late.
Scenario: Fans want to find info quickly
Fans have a lot of questions and need an instant way to find an answer. A mobile website can require countless clicks and pinching to find any info. Go ahead, another chance to put on your fans’ shoes (or maybe, boots; this is NASCAR, after all) and walk through the experience. Not ideal, eh?
Happy Ending: Provide all your event info in one place
Optimize it and put it all in one, easily accessible, one-click location. i often use the dichotomous comparison of functional vs. optimized. How can things be 1%, 5%, 25% better, because we’re in an era in which every second counts? When bounce rates go bonkers if a web page loads on mobile in 4 seconds vs. 2.5? That’s why apps are taking over and, with more data and location and context flowing in, the answer is found that much more immediately and clearly.
Scenario: Fans want to stay connected
I am at the race, or I’m not at the race. I’m in the Fan Zone or I’m in the grandstand. There are fans all over that want access to the content and social hub (and prizes through rewards programs), but don’t want the extra clutter (or FOMO) of stuff not relevant to them because of where they are and what they;re doing.
Happy Ending: Enhance your Fan Zone with mobile experience
It feels so 21st century and it is (because it’s 2016) – smart content that is tailored to the location. When fans at Dover are in the Fan Zone, they pop open their app to see info and chances to win prizes from sponsors set up there. For fans next to the track, hanging at home, or anywhere else, don’t see that same content. This location-savvy content and experience is quickly going from novel to expected throughout digital, social, and mobile.
Scenario: Fans want flexibility of last minute planning
Supply and demand. Dover sells a lot of VIP experiences and ticket upgrades, with so much to go around at their busy weekends. Many sports teams can relate, whether it’s a locker room tour, star athlete meet and greet, or seat upgrade. There are fans willing to pay for such upgrades, some in advance and many on the spot (hard to resist when the kids are asking).
Happy Ending: Instant access to available experience upgrades
This is the most basic of solutions – streamline a way for demand (fans willing and wanting) and supply (Dover having the inventory…and desire for incremental revenue). It’s not a money grab, but an opportunity. We are increasingly seeing fans and consumers value experiences over material goods; the perceived value is often, well, priceless. The Dover app integration with Pogoseat puts a (pretty darn reasonable) price on experiences that can augment a fan’s weekend with a priceless memory.
There’s more to the fan experience envisioned and enhanced by the Dover app solution, but the key takeaway, if you’re still reading as we round the last turn and head toward the checkered flag, is to know the stories. Understand the situations and wants and needs.
It’s a common refrain that sports biz pros need to cease being fans. But never abandon the fan mindset. It’s your secret weapon to understanding your customer in a way other industries cannot with theirs.
Start solving your stories today and know what’ll put smiles on your fans’ faces.