Opinion

Published

Formula E’s focus on fan engagement highlights need for bosses to know their target audience

6 Mins

As all marketers know, customer experience is crucial in the modern consumer-centric marketplace, but if you don’t know who your customers are how can you possibly provide a relevant and painless experience? 

This concept applies to all firms big and small, and Formula E’s recent plans to increase fan engagement shows just how important it is. As the ground-breaking series races into its second year, organisers are aiming to develop a framework that allows it to “truly understand its fan base from the very beginning”.  

From the start, Alejandro Agag, chief executive of the Formula E championship, knew that Formula E would not be competing with Formula 1 – and so a traditional F1 fan was definitely not a target. He even maintained that when Formula E was started, organisers had a clear vision of attracting a younger generation that was more concerned about the environment, was active on social media and loved racing.

However, at the forefront of Formula E’s decision to take a closer look at its fanbase rests the notion of taking a more granular approach to target audiences. The reality is a brand can appeal to a variety of fans or consumers who may have different needs and goals. It means a one-size-fits-all marketing and sales approach may not work because it’s not focused enough. Similarly, the brand may end up with a following it had not initially intended to gain – hence Formula E’s intent on learning more about its users to offer them individualised experiences.

This is where Gigya comes in as the leader in customer identity management. Using Gigya’s fully customisable Registration-as-a-Service and social login products, Formula E can allow users to self-identify to engage with the brand. All customer data will be stored by Gigya and will allow Formula E to achieve a single customer view while maintaining privacy.

Read more about engaging consumers:

From here, Formula E can personalise customer experiences using existing marketing tools such as email automation and content management systems, all of which work through direct integrations found in Gigya’s IDX Marketplace.

“As an organisation, our goal is to be the most forward-thinking digital innovators within any global sporting series,” said Tom Halls, head of digital at Formula E. “Effectively leveraging customer identity data is integral to our strategy, and we look forward to creating memorable and engaging experiences for our fans with Gigya’s platform.”

Formula E is already leading the way with electric vehicle development as the technology used in the race cars can be applied to consumer vehicles too. The sport aims to blend the latest technology with cost-effectiveness and this translates through to the way it engages with fans too.

Battery design and manufacturing techniques, software and thermal management systems are all elements that could make the leap. “This championship is about powertrain development,” said Gary Ekerold, programme lead for Formula E at Williams. “Manufacturers see how this can be taken to road cars. The whole purpose of a championship like Formula E is to push the boundaries of technology.”

Formula E is also the only sport in the world that allows the fans to play an active role in influencing the outcome of the event. Through its FanBoost system, the audience can vote online and chose to give their favourite driver extra power in the race.

“We want, for the first time, to make a sport accessible to the fans, interactive with the fans,” said Agag. “Many people talk about interactivity and they say everything is interactive, but how do you make something really interactive? Doing FanBoost. Giving a real advantage, giving more horsepower in the race to three drivers. And those three drivers can push a button and overtake one guy, but nobody is going to win a race. If the guy who has FanBoost is 17th, he’s not going to be able to win the race. We want to introduce this element of interaction between the fans and the sport and it’s the first time in history that this thing is in place.”

One of the biggest mistakes that firms make is trying to appeal to everyone. Think about the game of darts: You have to aim in order to hit the board – which means first figuring out which area you need to keep hitting. 

Share this story

30 Digital Champions: The events firm shaking up the way companies do away days
George Osborne dismisses notion of “mission accomplished” for the British economy
Send this to a friend