Are You Using Fan Behavior Suggestions to Drive Revenue?

When was the last time you sat back and asked yourself, why do consumers do what they do? Why do they trust the feedback and opinions of others (most times, of people they do not know) over industry experts?

Consumers have an inherent trust in those who have taken the time to share/publish their personal feedback. As detailed in the book Six Pixels of Separation, consumers have an overriding faith in groups of individuals who have never met. This act of consumer behavior, where one individual's implied behavior will be matched by others (commonly referred to as topographical association), is a strong, underlying reason why's "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought" function is so notably successful.

Do you remember the last time you purchased a book on and received a familiar pop-up inquiry suggesting the notion "Consumers Who Bought This Item Also Bought"? Did you find that you ignored some initial hesitation to move forward with purchasing an item that Amazon feels that you would like based on the purchasing decisions of those with similar interests?

As sports organizations have adopted more statistical analysis processes to make smarter, results-driven decisions over the past 5-10 years, it is somewhat surprising that more have not adopted topographical assocation methods to upsell consumers, simply by providing suggestions based on the interests of fellow fans attending games. After all, with teams selling fans on slogans like "You are the 12th Man" and "We are the Team of 18,000", don't they just want to fit in with the crowd? There is no doubt that fans on game day have a significant amount of shared interests.

It is pretty convincing that teams are leaving a solid amount of revenue on the table by neglecting to provide suggestions to fans based on game day sales trends. Here are a few examples:

  • Concessions
    • Looking to sell more hot dogs? Have you found if there is a certain day of the week when fans purchase more hot dogs than any other day? Call this to their attention. Make it a selling point. Tell fans what other fans are doing
    • Looking to drive more revenues at the concessions stand? Use statistical analysis to tell fans what combination of items other fans usually purchase together. As teams upgrade their point of purchase cashier equipment, feature a display near the register that tells fans "Fans Who Bought This Item Also Bought"- Sway their decision
  • Ticketing
    • Use statistical analysis ticketing models to upsell consumers on parking options (if the team controls nearby lots) by simply suggesting what other fans have done
    • Suggest deals that include nearby corporate partners (dining/retail) 
    • Tell people what their perceived peers are doing (whether that's based on income level, age, gender, occupation, etc.)
  • Merchandise
    • Apply similar concessions practices to drive merchandise sales (although we are seeing a bit of this via online retail channels)

Just a thought. Would love to hear your thoughts on this! Please leave a comment or retweet if you agree/disagree with this column!