NHL exec: Low-energy Bluetooth technology will be game-changer
October 3, 2013
NHL eyes Apple's iBeacon
NEW YORK – A National Hockey League executive at Mobile Marketer and Zoove’s Mobile Marketing in the Morning event said that Apple’s new iBeacon will change how marketers can profile in-stadium consumers.
Panelists from JetBlue, NHL, Clear Channel and Zoove discussed mobile’s role within their marketing mixes as well as trends that they see coming for the holiday season. The panel was moderated by Mickey Alam Khan, editor in chief of Mobile Marketer, New York.
“One of the cool things I’ve seen recently is the iBeacon, so that whole low-energy Bluetooth I think is going to be a game-changer,” said Chris Golier, vice president of mobile marketing and strategy at the NHL, New York.
“The question is, ‘Is this an NFC killer?’” he said.
“I think there’s a whole lot of data and information that you can provide plus a good marketing experience that we haven’t seen before.”
The Mobile Marketer-moderated event was sponsored by Zoove.
In the game
Sports organizations including the NHL are challenged with building up a compelling in-stadium experience for the fans.
One way that the NHL is coping with this is by rolling out 14 team apps this summer that owners can use to interact with fans watching a sports game.
Another challenge is around getting information about the fans that are in stadiums.
The NHL does not have information about the consumers that buy tickets from Ticketmaster or other sources, meaning that the organization has to find other ways to understand sports fans.
“The whole ecosystem has their list of folks, so we have to do our own relevant recon work to give people an incentive to raise their hands and give them an incentive for a loyalty program to somehow register,” Mr. Golier said.
“We think in the arena in particular, when people are in the moment, that that’s the time to talk to them,” he said.
Apps also play a strong role for the NHL, particularly around live-streaming video and game statistics.
With the move to cross-channel screens, the NHL exec said that advertisers are increasingly interested in making multi-screen media buys because they want a better idea of who they are targeting.
Additionally, Mr. Golier said that SMS is beginning to take a back seat to in-app messaging because fans like to get notifications and information when they are interacting with an app itself.
Similar to the NHL, Owen Grover, senior vice president of content partnerships at Clear Channel, New York, also said that the company is increasingly focused on developing products that work across every mobile device.
ClearChannel owns and operates 850 radio stations that consumers can listen to from apps such as iheartradio.
One of the more interesting parts of how consumers listen to radio nowadays is that it is not necessarily driven by a consumer’s location. Instead, listeners are interested in hearing broadcasts from other cities where they might have lived in the past.
Additionally, only 50 percent of Americans use Internet radio despite the increase with Pandora, Spotify and Apple in the space.
Therefore, Apple’s new iRadio feature is not necessarily a threat to the industry if it gets more consumers to use music streaming services.
At the same time, the in-car experience can be better, too.
ClearChannel has created in-dash apps for auto manufacturers since radio in-car is one of the top ways that consumers listen to radio.
As far as advertising, ClearChannel sees a big advertising opportunity specifically within its mobile app for branding through pre-roll video ads versus a static banner ad.
“The fact of the matter is that if you think about the experience, people are going to start a station anyway and put their mobile device in their pocket or purse,” Mr. Grover said.
“So the idea that you’re going to sit there and spend a lot of time engaging with what’s essentially a visual approach to a marketing campaign is probably not a fair assumption,” he said.
“When you’re talking about a lean-back audio experience, you probably want to have a better solution than that.”
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York
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