acl blog image people walking

Like it or not, we live in a consumer society that constantly wants our information. Things like what we eat, what size shoe we wear, how many kids we have—these seemingly banal aspects of our lives are jackpots for businesses wanting to sell us more stuff.

That’s the participant perspective. As an event business, you want to maximize profit and avoid waste by knowing exactly what your consumers want. But, recent studies on consumer preferences show that there is a very real middle ground for businesses wanting to move to a data-driven model.

Continue reading

activity cloud circles tank top man
Not all data is created equally. “Big Data,” is so meaningful because it’s the most comprehensive, combining four characteristics: velocity (it’s fast), variety (it’s diverse), veracity (the trustworthiness of the data) and volume (there’s a lot of it).

Fast Data is the Next Step in the Evolution of Big Data

The way that big data gets big is through a constant stream of incoming data. In high-volume environments, that data arrives at incredible rates yet still needs to be analyzed and stored. Instead of simply storing that data to be analyzed later, perhaps we’ve reached the point where it can be analyzed as it’s ingested while still maintaining extremely high intake rates.

Continue reading

analyticsaclimageMost businesses today are collecting a massive amount of data from their operational, marketing, transactional, financial and other systems.

Like crude oil, data needs to go through refining steps, such as collection, hygiene and transformation, before it becomes meaningful. At the pinnacle of this data refinement process is analytics, which is the process for generating hindsight, insight and foresight to make the data actionable and useful for business decisions.

Analytics can be broken into four major types, each employing various analytical methods. As a rule, most business decisions require a combination of different types of analytics.

Continue reading

heat map

The analogy between fishing and marketing isn’t new. A simple internet search offers hundreds of thousands of examples of people philosophizing about how marketing is an art like fly fishing. They advise you to know your fish, go where the fish are, pick the right kind of bait, and be patient.

“People develop their own techniques that they’re not going to tell others about,” advised Jared Brown, an avid sportsman from Waco, Texas. “There are certain things [in the market] that are designed to catch fishermen and not fish. There’s no substitute for experience.” Through our discussion, I learned a lot about large-mouth bass, the colors of bait that work best, fishing magazines, water temperatures, and lakes where he’s seen success.

Fishing clearly takes a lot more time and patience than I ever imagined, and many of the people I spoke with kept coming back with the same quote: “That’s why it’s called fishing and not catching.”

You’re an event organizer. You need to fill your event as quickly as possible. With everything you’ve got to do to make it successful, participants need to jump in the boat. You need a marketing plan where your rod and reel is a stick of dynamite and a map of where to throw it in the water.

So how do you improve your chances to catch participants as quickly as possible?

Continue reading

HarrahsWhen it comes to customer service, Harrah’s has been used as an example of a casino that “gets it.” Ten years ago, when Harrah’s introduced their “Total Rewards Frequent Gambler Card,” it was seen by some as risky and too expensive, but it proved to be another industry disruptor that caused the competition to reconsider.

The concept was quite straightforward. Harrah’s would collect data on their customers, and then using their identifying information, such as name and address, the casino could follow their activity while they played. When a customer swiped their card in the machine it would identify them, and they could play like normal, but they were also able to score points that could be used for discounts on meals, hotel rooms and other perks. The system doesn’t use any information about their income, but rather their value to the casino based upon how they play.

Instantly, Harrah’s began to learn things about their customers that they might not have known prior to the roll out of the program. Based on the information they collected, Harrah’s reorganized the layout of their casino similar to the style of a grocery store. Popular slots were placed in the back, and higher margin games like roulette and blackjack were placed in the center of the space while more expensive slots were placed around this “party pit.”

The results were significant. The amount spent in this area increased by 5 times. Profit margins increased by 15%. But when the casino makes money, that means gamblers are losing money, and long term, this keeps a casino from being sticky.

So they turned to the data again.
Continue reading

MobileWe live in a “now” world.  We need access to information faster, anywhere, anytime, and that access needs to work every time.  We’ve lost patience with waiting and we’ve traded the phrase “wait a minute” for “just a second.”  It’s a mobile world and our mobile phone is our connection to it.

Over the past year at ACTIVE.com, we’ve found that access to the site via mobile devices, tablets or smartphones, now exceeds laptop and desktop traffic by nearly 20 percent.  People are searching for activities while they’re on the go, and they are making purchase decisions.  Across the Internet, the rise in mobile traffic rivals traditional online traffic, and website owners are forced to consider new technologies to make their websites more responsive to smaller screens.

Digital analytics firm ComScore has done significant research on the impact of mobile devices on Internet traffic and time spent on various screens.  According to their US Digital Future in Focus 2014 report, between 2010 and 2013, the amount of time spent on a digital platform increased by 83%.  The bulk of the growth was represented by nearly a 300% increase in mobile usage. The time spent on a desktop increased only 7% over the same period.
Continue reading

PoliticsYou may recall that in the 2012 election, polls dominated the discussion, such as who people said they would vote for or what particular issues where important to them. Often these polls were contradictory and several of them focused on issues unimportant to the election.

But one person, Nate Silver, used a statistical model that filtered out the noise and focused on the signals. By doing so, he successfully picked the election results for President in all fifty states.

So how did he do it?
Continue reading

RunnersIn sales, it’s been said, “if you wait for your customer to find you, you may already be too late.” But what if you knew when your customer was likely to start their search? How would that affect your marketing efforts? Would you change when you opened registration?

In the endurance event space, tradition often governs when registrations open and the marketing activities that support the event begin, as in: “For 10 years, we’ve opened registrations the week following New Year’s Day.”  What if I told you that even though tradition may seem to work as a strategy, consumer data could indicate a better time to open registration or make a marketing push that could convert more registrations faster?

Consider Cyber Monday.

Since the mid-20th century, people have gone out searching for “door buster deals” on the Friday after Thanksgiving.  Brick and mortar retailers across the nation stock the shelves with the hottest gadgets and the latest fashions.  People come and people spend, every year. It’s a national tradition. But, in 2005, a retail trade association noticed data indicating that a wave of online purchases occurred on the Monday after Black Friday around lunchtime. The phenomenon became known as Cyber Monday and continues to be a boon for retailers.

So, what does that have to do with your race?
Continue reading

Big-Data-3

If you saw our last blog explaining what data is, then you’re probably starting to see the amazing possibilities of what it can do and how it’s becoming more valuable. But just how valuable is data? Just how far can it take the endurance and event management industries?

In the past few years, data has begun to come at our industry at a much faster rate than in the past. What ACTIVE Network’s focus has been is to wrap our arms around it all.

That’s easier than it sounds though. When data is ready, it takes a trained statistical analyst to truly understand it. Analysts identify relationships among data attributes and evaluate them. When they find a connection, they create statistical models. Based on those models, they can generate analytics on a massive scale to derive insights and start predicting customer behavior. That’s the foundation of “Big Data.”

Continue reading