Targeting Fans in 2022 : Here for the Journey, not just the Destination

We’re treating our fans like milk.

You read that right. We really did say milk. As marketers, we have a tendency to paint fans with a pretty broad brush and simply state that “they share the same interests, same point of view, and same ‘reason d’etre’” based on conversion outcomes. We assume they are all the same, or at least mostly the same. But, just like milk, there are multiple types of fans, and as marketers, it’s imperative to understand that fans are not homogeneous.

By blanketing fans with “attributes” based on outcomes, and generalizing psychographics based on purchasing behaviour, we often overlook the complex networks of influence, community and taste that drive our fans. When we overlook the uniqueness of each fan, we miss out on the opportunities to discover which touchpoints truly resonate. Every fan matters and it’s important to recognize their unique journeys.

Take Lindsey for example. Lindsey has purchased tickets to multiple artists on your roster - all of which are big-name pop stars. Based on these behaviours, you label Lindsey as a highly influenced trend follower. In reality, Lindsey is a family man with a young teenager. He’s bought tickets to see Ariana Grande, T-Swift and Katy Perry to please his family, not because he’s highly influenced by trends.

Inferring who your fans are based on purchases is not reliable in the long run. Fans buy the same product and attend the same events for wildly different reasons: some because they are die-hard supporters, some because it was convenient and cheaper than an alternative entertainment item, or others because they just had bad F.O.M.O. Fans are so much more than “what they buy.” What matters is “Why”.

The Traditional Archetype:

Personas have their place. They simplify and help cluster large groups of people together; in fact, archetypes are a great place to start when it comes to defining your initial audiences. But building archetypes alone is not enough.

To engage with fans in the modern era means digging deeper into the motivations that guide them. It means looking beyond the individual to the communities, relationships and networks that influence them. After all, we live in a time where an organic TikTok video can boost the purchase of cranberry juice, and folks watch shows not because they like them, but because they want to have something to talk about.

At Tradable Bits, we have a mantra, “turn the funnel on its head.” Start with who you know, build a dynamic portrait of who they are with your banks of data, understand their social networks, sources of influence & relationships - then build outward by tapping into their extended networks. When you understand the journey of your own fans, you are better equipped to ask the right questions: how your fans’ communities are structured, how influence spreads within them, which of these fans are most valuable to your brand.

Essentially, shift your focus from trying to find your “it” fan, to understanding the communities of fans you already interact with, so you can uncover their actual tastes.

The Power of Micro-Communities: aka Niches get Riches

Grow through the niches. Once you have an understanding of the communities that uphold your brand, find new fans with personalization that reflects their values. In today’s world, personalization is a major driver of growth. More importantly, it’s an expectation of a good fan experience.

For example, what sets Spotify apart as a brand for users is its algorithm for personalization, not just its music library. It has grown to the behemoth it is by understanding the tastes of its micro-communities, and by making them think “we understand you”.

There are many doors that open to personalization.

One major way is to differentiate based on experience. Finding and understanding these micro-communities within your fanbase will help you identify potential influencers to bring on board, who can then support your marketing initiatives by creating more relatable experiences.

Alternatively, if you understand the values of these micro-communities, you can strengthen the “stickiness” of your brand by signing compatible new artists to your roster, or by forming more strategic partnerships with your sponsors. Find the communities that resonate with your brand, then listen to them.

What’s in a fan journey

Every fan’s story matters and every unique journey unearths delicious insights that can help set your brand apart. If your brand has a tendency to “treat your fans like milk,” you’re leaving untapped potential on the table. Fans are the communities and commitments they are a part of - take the time to analyze and understand them beyond a conversion statistic.


Related posts

Search How the Fremantle Dockers used Tradable Bits to Find, Target & Capture New Qualified Leads.
The Modern Sports Fan: 4 Personas for the Future Search
Suite #300, 7 West 7th Ave, Vancouver, BC, Canada, V5Y 1L4 © 2023 TradableBits Media Inc.
Names, logos, and trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners ("Third-Party Owners")
Any feedback received through support queries or inquiries is owned by TradableBits Media Inc.
All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms | Status