A resounding message that business leaders made at the Adobe Summit 2017 was that marketers who strive to make their experiences rewarding will eventually foster better connections with their consumers. On day two of the Summit, the message was reiterated by Adobe’s VP of Strategy, Alliances & Marketing, John Mellor.
Citing the work that Adobe’s labs are doing for testing the connection between experience and emotional responses using the likes of wrist bands and cameras, he explained the importance of emotional ambassadors. He said that technology can be used to create and measure emotionally impactful interactions with consumers.
He said, “Experiences are meaningful because they create an emotional experience. Emotion is the currency of experience and this has to extend to the entire organization. We are the experience ambassadors and we need to make experience our business.”
Setting the stage for sports being the best example where experiences create emotional reactions, Mellor invited the EVP and CMO of the NBA, Pam El, on stage. El’s astute sense as a marketer reflected clearly in the approach that NBA has taken towards putting a premium on the value of storytelling and emotionally connecting with fans
Quoting the story of the NBA, she said, “We are fortunate to have the best spokesperson in the world. We have 20 athletes in the top of the list of marketability. They are not only great basketball players but they are also great marketers who understand the power of brand building.”
Sports, emotions & technology
She quoted examples from the team where the sportsmen had invested time to not only connect with their fans but did so in a meaningful way, eventually making place in cultural relevance both at an individual and at the team level. She spoke about how the NBA was consciously breaking barriers – a case in point being Becky Hammon, the first female assistant coach, or NBA’s support to Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In or even being the first to play a game in Africa.
“Our players and the league understand that we are a very small part of a very big world. And we constantly work to be a truly global league, with global talent,” she said.
An interesting fact that El shared was that less than 1 percent of NBA fans had watched the game in an arena. The sport that saw over a billion people tune into its last season, relies heavily on technology to connect with all its fans.
El breaks the fans in segments including the core fans for whom, there is no off season and the casual and curious fans that tune for matches, follow and support teams. “The core fans engage with the game in every way possible and social media is one of the biggest ways. The core fans watch all the games, and are consuming content all season long on three or more platforms. Technology is our biggest advantage to feed the fans,” she said.
From the NBA replay center, the NBA InPlay that allows to interact with the game while it is on, the Association has spent significantly in creating the right experiences and engagements for its fans.
Technology, according to her, and Adobe being one of NBA’s core partners, has also assisted NBA in data driven marketing. “We using Adobe products to better connect with the fans and manage data so we can deliver the right message to the right person at the right time on the right channel,” El stated.