Data Data Collection Umbel

How Umbel is helping sport organisations unlock their fans’ data

By Natasha Morgan | August 8, 2017

Natasha Morgan, VP of Marketing at Umbel, discusses how the first-party data management platform is empowering companies to engage and understand their audiences.

What is Umbel and what are the core goals?

“We are a first-party data management platform, and our core mission is to make sports and entertainment organisations’ data their most valuable asset.

“We know that many organisations today are in need of transformation in the way that they do business digitally. At Umbel help them do that in the way that makes most sense for each individual club as the sports and entertainment industry gets swept up by digital transformation.”

How does Umbel plan to bring about this digital transformation?

“With Umbel, we have a solution that makes it possible for organisations to find new fans, drive highly relevant interactions with them, and increase sponsorship and ticketing revenue. The way we do that is empowering them to access data, acquire data, act upon that data and then analyse it.

“What that means in real life terms is converting unknown fans into known customers, or perhaps selling more tickets, or selling tickets at a higher value, or increasing the value of the fan experience. On the sponsorship side, it could mean getting sponsors, identifying the right sponsor for you, growing your sponsorship value for the team or the sponsor. Or it could mean just having more data to engage with fans in a more personalised way.

“The key today is to have as much data as possible about your fans. And when we talk about gathering data, that means data not just from your ticketing platform, but also your CRM, email, marketing automation, and even social data like Facebook Likes, which are typically inaccessible. Umbel is able to unlock that data for teams.

“All the things I mentioned in terms of knowing fans and driving revenue require having access to the data about the fan base, which makes the overall experience more personable, powerful and profitable.”

What are some of the differences between Umbel and some of its competitors in the market?

“One thing I believe that differentiates us from our competitors is that the relationships we have with clients. We meet the team and brief the association on where they’re at, what problems they’re trying to solve, and what investment makes sense.

“If we talk about the technology, our platform is incredibly accessible and flexible, and you can act upon data directly from the platform. You can analyse the results of various campaigns, analyse the data overall such as what segments of the data are most engaged, or discover commonalities across the fan base you didn’t know existed.

“That last one is where no one can touch us, but sometimes you have to walk before you can run. So, we would sit down with a team who doesn’t necessarily have a data strategy, but knows they need to engage more fans reliably for match day. We help you figure out how to do that.

“We will help you identify those unknown fans, bring them in, give them an experience that is going to bring them back, and then carry that forward. It’s really cyclical: the more data you collect, the more you can learn, and the more effective your campaigns will be.”

Are there advantages in speed that Umbel has against competition for example from contract to value?

“I come from the world of marketing software, and one thing that’s always the differentiating factor is if you can be brought up quickly for the client.

“The lowest estimate is 12-18 months before our competitors can provide a solution. We not only bring up the software and services in a matter of weeks, but they can be in action and in play. Teams will set a goal and we hit it 50% within 2-3 days of engagement. We’re very quick, and that’s partly because the team we have in play, but also the software we have that’s able to handle large amounts of data.”

Data gathering in the sports industry is changing. Why is that important?

“Sports is one of the most profitable industries in live entertainment, but you cannot only rely upon the live moment to really engage or monetize your fans. We’re global now in how we interact. We can have a massive passion for a team and even if we leave and go to another country, we can carry that with us. But you’ve got to be able to reach those people and know who those people are in order to that, so data is indispensable for that goal.”

What are some of the major challenges for Umbel as it’s grown over the last 6 years?

“We faced what’s common to many start-ups, which was being ahead of the market. You have a great idea, and they aren’t telling you to go away, but they’re not quite sure what to do with you. And definitely we’ve faced that in the past.

“One of the ways we’ve overcome that recently is not trying to convince people of the way we think they should approach data or what problem they should try to solve, but really listening to them and then providing the solutions they need. We’ve also learnt that we need to help them to solve their problems with software enabling with their marketing, data and BI teams or help them do that, or provide support through our own expertise.”

You have worked in Oracle and other firms. What excited you to come to Umbel?

“It’s just an incredibly thrilling place. I’m also a marketer; I’m passionate about marketing and I’ve seen how marketing technology has transformed in terms of what you can do and the value it provides the business. I love an amazing ad campaign or a beautiful and creative one as much as anyone, but what excites me the most is delivering value to the business and being able to actually show results in the revenue. I saw an ability to do that at Umbel that I hadn’t seen in other comparable solutions or any of the big cloud players either.

“The team at Umbel are familiar with the space, and we really dig deep into what problems we can solve. There’s a large challenge for live sports and entertainment events because there’s an incredibly passionate fan base that largely isn’t known. Like any marketer, I want to provide the ultimate customer experience and develop loyalty. Where else would you want to go but sports and entertainment?”

Data Data Collection Umbel