Why capturing first-party data at your events will delight your fans and your CRM!


By Aimeé Howells, EVP Global Events & Experiences at Fabacus

It’s no secret that we are entering a cookie-free landscape with Google becoming the latest tech giant to start phasing them out. With this, however, we are entering an exciting landscape for both brands and consumers, whereby we can really look at what data we volunteer and how this can be used for mutual benefit.

With the absolute rise and readoption of “live” again this year, seeing events growing by 34% from 2022 to 23 (for the period of 1/4–15/5), and with people in the UK re-evaluating how they spend their money by looking to holiday abroad less in the current climate, creating a boom in demand for premium experiences, the events industry has never been more relevant. This reinforces why despite rising inflation, 81% plan to spend as much or more on events this summer than they did in 2022, and 61% prioritise events in their entertainment budget. [Eventbrite 2023 Summer report]

This ultimately means it is the perfect time to maximise moments of shared experience, dedication to the visit and the loyalty of many repeat visitors, by thinking about how you can integrate first-party data strategies to create more engagement and to enrich your CRM live on the ground. If we look at some of the work that we, at Fabacus, do in partnership with IMG, a global events leader, you’ll be able to see the all-around benefits of adopting a first-party data strategy at live events and experiences.

The way that we approach live events is through our unique proposition of “data & delight” whereby through our proprietary technology Xelacore, we can enrich and humanise CRM on the ground at live events and experiences, whilst enriching the fan experience by unlocking an agile reward platform to deliver moments of delight in real-time, whether that be for a one off brand activation, a retail pop-up, repeat event or an always on approach.

A fantastic example is the Taste of London food festival at Regent’s Park, which is one of many events that IMG owns and produces every year. For the third year in a row, Fabacus partnered with IMG to make the experience more immersive and engaging than ever before. Through the strategic placement of smart QR codes throughout the event, IMG and Fabacus were able to encourage attendees to volunteer insights and data points about themselves in return for moments of delight through a bespoke microsite that connected straight through to the main Taste website.

80+ rewards and experiences were donated by affiliates and vendors, which offered great brand exposure, whilst delighting the live audience, and in turn informing IMG and their vendors about things like food preference and where the attendees had travelled from, to help ensure continued evolution of the programming and visitor experience in future years.

With an uptake of one in four attendees completing registration, which was up by 73% from last year, there is clearly a shift in how people want to interact with experiences, and indeed how they are viewing their first-party data as being part of their “live” moment.

This increase in engagement reinforces that the utility of technologies to enhance and enrich experience is truly welcomed. With Eventbrite stating that 76% of attendees are willing to pay a higher ticket price for the kind of premium experience afforded by technological innovations and 83% of attendees believing phones can improve the overall experience of an event, it really is the time to look at the intersection of live and digital to create truly memorable and rewarding experiences.

“Having worked with Fabacus since 2020 across multiple events, we have been able to leverage enriched data directly from our visitors on the ground. This has helped us better understand consumer preferences and enhance the Taste experience, while also providing added value to our sponsors and vendors, ” said Anne Charls, VP Digital Marketing for Events at IMG.

“Developing the technological features on the microsite year on year has enabled us to further improve the user experience, optimise the journey and benefit from innovation within the space.”

Fabacus has partnered with IMG across multiple events in the culinary, sports, and cultural arts spaces, both in the UK and further afield in the US. They recently partnered on the Giorgio Armani Tennis Classic at the Hurlingham Club and the Glide at Battersea Power Station ice rink in London, proving that these types of experiences can be tailored to varying audiences and to align with specific brand positioning.

It’s time to really assess how we encourage and reward fans, attendees, and visitors to disclose their first-party data whilst they are in the moment and can feel the benefit of doing so, whether that be through gamification, fan engagement or connecting the digital landscape with real-life moments to create more immersive experiences which return more than just reward, but offer unique moments in time to connect with and to share.

The exciting thing about this is that event and venue owners can start really thinking about how to humanise their data approach to ensure there is a mutual benefit at this time of change. The more we humanise, the more useful data and insights are to all involved, ultimately then they can really help pave the way for more personalisation, more loyalty, and more delight along the way.

Aimeé has a career spanning over two decades in live events, fan engagement and sport, with roles including a Global Directorship at Manchester United. Aimeé, as EVP of Global Events & Experiences at Fabacus, is now spearheading the Xelacore Live offering across sectors, such as sport, food and drink, entertainment, arts, and lifestyle, alongside the wider team.

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