Can Good Data Replace Expensive Services?

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There’s a whirlwind of data swirling around every business. The super-big, super-rich ones are making consultants and agencies rich trying to grab it and monetize it. That’s one of the reasons we created Activity Cloud for race directors—to bring access to sophisticated insights you’d normally shell out a bunch of budget to see.

According to a recent report by Foundation Capital, a venture capitalist fund that helped the likes of Netflix get off the ground, the future of data to drive growth rests in software, not agencies or consultants. In discussing the role of the marketing executive, the report explained how technology only represents about one percent of what marketers spend today, Umbel, a data insights blog, summarized.

Come the second quarter of the 21st century and that will radically change, both the report and Umbel predict.

“Instead of hiring full-service agencies to handle marketing, advertising and media buying (and then firing the agency and starting all over when the results are unsatisfying), I envision CMOs increasingly using technology to own and master two-way relationships with customers at scale,” Higinio Maycotte, founder of Umbel, wrote.

“As they invest in software and other technology solutions to improve decision-making and campaign execution, they will be realizing the value of data as a long-term asset and repositioning themselves as peers and partners to CIOs [chief information officers].”

What does all this mean for race directors?

It’s not just the marketing industry that’s perfectly poised to make this shift. Everyone from the restaurant industry to the retail industry to the airline industry is heavily invested in how data will enable them to find new customers, keep current customers happy and spend less money to do both of those things. And they’re not necessarily turning to service-based agencies—they’re also looking to interactive software to fill their needs.

As a race director, you have similar challenges—just swap “customers” for “participants”—and it’s equally important for your organization to consume a steady diet of good data to help you make all kinds of decisions. And, like other industries, technology has become an increasingly important part of the endurance industry. Whether it’s wearables like FitBit (valued at more than $4 billion, by the way), which will continue to change how laypeople and athletes relate to activities like running, or software used to produce the events and experiences consumers crave.

With technology comes improved ways to track behavior, and with that comes valuable data. For the endurance industry, the key is to access that data through intelligent software, since expensive consultants and agencies are often out of reach.