It’s time for our annual Fan-Marketing predictions!
As the last 3 years can attest, there’s no crystal ball when it comes to predicting the future - in fact, we can all be hilariously wrong. But here at Tradable Bits, we have a team brimming with industry knowledge, willing to put their predictions on the line. Here are their bold, medium and mild predictions for how the 2023 fan marketing landscape will look:
But First, Tradable Bits’ 2023 Predictions:
- The Creator Economy will help brand build better communities: ✅
- Long-Form Content will reign King for Sports Media: ✅
- Sports Betting and Gamification will Continue to Rise In North America ✅
- Focus on non-endemic and luxury brand integration within sports and esports: 😬
Tradable Bits' Fan Marketing Predictions 2023
The ‘cheeky’ brand personality loses it’s charm, and traditional marketing makes a comeback:
We see you Wendy’s. We loved what you did, but who did you invite in?
While corporate companies have seemingly caught up to Gen Z humour, our prediction this year is that the influx of brands trying (and failing) at using humour and memes to appeal to customers will muddy the waters. That’s right folks, we’re calling out the cringe. Plus, we can anticipate with reduced buying power that folks will turn back to tried and trusted brands - as in, it’s more important to prove your quality (or your affordability) than it is to prove you’re “with it.”
Web3/Blockchain tech will continue to bubble underneath the surface but won’t make waves like 2022:
We’re predicting that the wave has crested when it comes to the “hype train” behind Web3 and blockchain. If 2022 was the year for headline after headline in this area, we see 2023 as the year Web3/Blockchain matures into practical use-cases. Things like loyalty, ticketing purchases and a few one-off fan experiences.
The use of AI to supplement/automate marketing practices becomes more feasible:
AI or “artificial intelligence” isn’t necessarily new to marketing (think Unbounce’s Conversion Intelligence Platform, or the TBits Fan Ranking Algorithm), but 2023 will be the year where it hits the forefront again. This time with less “slap AI on it” jargon, and more meaningful tools as better educated consumers ask for “what’s really happening behind the scenes.” From copywriting tools like ChatGPT to more abstract concepts like AI neuro forecasting, AI is becoming democratised. And with changes in privacy laws, our reliance on AI for marketing insight will only become more common and tactical.
Experience-based festivals will continue to eat up live event market share as fans spend their money to see more niche artists.
What has the last 10 years of music streaming ushered in? The ability to have very niche taste. We see consumers increasingly on the lookout for the newest, coolest, and most experiential events they can gain access to. People love to be a part of a community, especially if that community has some exclusive elements to it (the rise of speakeasys being case-and-point). In 2023 we predict that fans with appetites for live events will look first for more experience-based festivals that showcase specific communities of artists rather than big ticket blowouts.
Artists will continue to develop their own income streams and begin the migration to owning their first-party fan data.
One trend we’ve seen in 2022 is artists trying to bring some things back in-house and under control, and we see 2023 as the year that this truly takes off. As artists look to the communities that they actually own, and can reach, first/zero-party data is becoming a priority. From things like waitlists and pre-saves, to in-venue activations that collect who is actually at their shows, artists are finding ways to get access to key questions like “which of my fans actually buy tickets/show up to my shows” and more.
Leagues and teams continue to try and expand outside of their region, looking to grow international audience engagement
In 2023 we expect a rise in the number of sports leagues/teams looking to expand their fanbase internationally. We’ve already seen this with one-off international games from the NFL, NBA and NHL, and we expect it to become increasingly prominent in the coming years.
Continued exposure and demand for women’s sports & emerging sports
On our predictions for the third year in a row because we’re happy for it, women’s sports are on the rise. We expect 2023 to be another big growth year for these leagues, presenting great brand partnership opportunities. We’re also keeping an eye on emerging leagues like Lacrosse and Pickelball to see how they grow as fan appetites for live events continues to swell.
Other Things to think about in 2023:
We know you know… cookies and pixels are on their way out. It’s not new news. However, as you step into 2023, we want to take a look at some of the opportunities these changes present:
If you’re not already, invest in first and zero-party data.
As technology continues to shift in 2023, coverage is the name of the game. While you still have multiple ways to track your fans, grow your first and zero-party data infrastructure, so that if the ball drops, you’ll have access to historical data you now own.
D2C Methods of communication will continue to be central pillars (let’s go SMS and Email)
They may seem old fashioned, but the ability to create extensive email/SMS lists is still crucial. Creating and distributing thoughtful content directly to fans can not be underestimated, especially when it comes to things like ticket or merch conversions. There’s also a growing sentiment/segment of fans that want to spend less time on social media —> which means that direct comms is the best way to reach them.
Use scrappy content creation (being less polished) to your advantage.
It’s another year of doing more, with less. The best way to do that? Get your fans involved.
- Look at ways of utilizing UGC in your marketing strategy, prioritise 2-way interactions with your fans (if you ask a question and they answer it, let them know) and automate these processes. There’s no need to be scrolling through comments on instagram and creating CSV upon CSV file.
- Don’t shy away from less popular channels like Discord, the online world is increasingly about finding community and niche audiences, so make sure you’re identifying yours.
Let’s be clear: This doesn’t always mean hopping on trends or being ironic (though it may work for some). Instead, incorporate tried and true marketing techniques (i.e knowing your customer) in a shifting technological landscape. Being agile and malleable as a marketing team is crucial to your growth this year.
As Yogi Berra so aptly said “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” The above might happen. Or maybe we’ll see some curve balls. No matter what 2023 brings, the core of a good fan marketing strategy is the ability to convey your brand story in a convincing and intriguing way with your fans at the centre of that story.
Let this year be a practice in longevity and a return to your brand’s core mission/reason-for-being.
Happy Fan Marketing!