Understanding the fan journey

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Many marketers and agencies have developed the tools necessary to 
address how shoppers act, feel and what ultimately leads them to purchase. Now, what about the "fan" journey? Marketers are spending millions of dollars on sponsoring events, but today's fans experience events in a dramatically different way than they did years ago. Fans today must be approached with a tailored, multichannel marketing program connecting them to brands in both the physical and digital worlds. Here is some guidance on how to capture a fan's attention and lead them to purchase.

Amplify their passions. Consumers going to events are primed for marketing messages. Take advantage of the time before, after and during the event to communicate, as these are the perfect moments to encourage an emotional connection to your brand.

Not all fans are created equal. Audiences vary across the spectrum from "mildly interested spectator" to "obsessed." Fan segmentation is a bridge between consumer segmentation and shopper segmentation. Marketers can leverage those segments to enhance their understanding and the key benefits to deeper connections. Linking the client segmentation and the event's demographics and psychographics is the sweet spot for focused efforts.

Fans are magnetic and avid fans want to be around like-minded people. Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare provide a forum for fans to gather and share passions to form mini-communities. Social media allows us to scale event activation programs. It also lets us have a continuing dialogue with the attendee and his or her network.

Measure the fan journey. There are specific tools that determine the information sources that influence, and a fan's path to purchase can be made pleasurable and exciting as a 
result of these tools.

We must also understand the effects of media, environments and mobile devices. Examine the consumer targets you are investing against and examine these factors as they relate to those targets. The digital aspect of an event makes data more accessible to marketers, and our ability to measure engagement and purchase behavior improves when technology is part of the consumer experience. 

If marketers are to determine who to best target to create brand loyalists, they need to know who the fans are, where they are, and most importantly, why they are there. Once marketers understand that, they have a better chance to "emotionally tattoo" a fan, resulting in brand advocacy and evangelism.


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