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Volume 20 No. 41
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Plugged In: Spencer Richardson, FanBridge

Richardson is co-founder and CEO of FanBridge, a marketing platform for fan audiences that touts 650 million unique fans managed. Through social media management techniques, tools for landing pages, and mobile extensions, FanBridge and Richardson look at how organizations can build stronger fan relationships — today and going forward.

The periphery of the fan experience is increasingly moving toward digital content. I think we wanted to build technology that helped create more authentic, deeper, more valuable relationships between the audiences and the content that they’re engaging with.

What’s the goal:
Part of what a lot of our platforms are looking to do, and I think what organizations are doing, is trying to understand a better sense of the lifetime value of a fan and then reverse engineer from that the methods to essentially maximize that function.

What’s new:
An increasing proliferation of content creation. And a lot of times the sources of that content are increasingly direct to the influencers themselves: to the athletes, to the teams. … It’s really coming from the voice of the players.

What that means for content:
That proliferation is coming with greater investment into higher quality content and having that content be more compatible for more devices.

What about revenue?:
As people increase that investment, we’re really seeing massive opportunities in terms of a new question, which is, “How am I monetizing and developing lifetime value models for my fans across this content over time?” And so the technology that is building around that is very successful.

The challenges with teams: When push comes to shove, the way a lot of these organizations are still built is, marketing lives in silos, so you have social media teams and then you have separate kinds of email management teams. When we first started in 2006, that was a real issue in terms of penetrating sports: the idea of bringing these worlds together to create a unified fan profile and market the experience around them.

Is it changing?: What we’ve done is notice that awareness and kind of them wanting to learn and test, [to] turn into this understanding of, “Maybe we need to build a smarter marketing team within our organization.”