Building a bespoke software centre has enabled NASCAR to bring data from traditional and social media together to continually inform its activity with sponsors, fans and media
NASCAR has a huge worldwide following within motor racing and a diverse number of audiences to serve, from fans to media and sponsors. With a growing presence on social media, coupled with its sizeable exposure across traditional media, the organization needed to find a way of collating and analysing all this information in order to deliver intelligent insight to better serve each audience. Its resulting Fan and Media Engagement Centre (FMEC) is already making a difference, and more innovation is in the pipeline.
Objectives & Aims
NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) governs motor racing events in the US, and is the country’s largest sanctioning body of stock car racing. Its races are broadcast in more than 150 countries and 20 languages. With over 3.4 million fans on Facebook, over 1.1 million followers on its official Twitter news feed and nearly 39,000 subscribers to its YouTube channel, the organization needed to make sense of the growing amount of data being generated by social media, as well as being able to harness data from media outlets in print, radio and TV.
“NASCAR needed to be able to make the data applicable to its business so it could be analysed in order to better understand fan sentiment, to identify emerging issues, and to uncover trends so they might be able to take some meaningful action,” said Charles Salameh, VP of Americas region communications, media and entertainment industry at Hewlett Packard (HP) Enterprise Services, which is working with the organization.
Implementation, Execution & Tactics
In order to supports its vast ecosystem of race teams, sponsors, advertisers, media and fans with custom-tailored analysis of fan sentiment about its products and services, NASCAR turned to technology, working with Hewlett Packard (HP) to develop a custom-built Fan and Media Engagement Centre (FMEC), which was launched in January 2013.
The software solution links up with both traditional media and social media to grab information. It then goes to another piece of software to identify keywords, like “Daytona 500” or the name of a certain driver. Pattern-matching techniques and probalistic modelling is then applied, allowing the organization to make real-time responses to traditional, digital, broadcast and social media.
For example, race teams can gauge fan conversation and reaction to a new paint scheme for one of its cars to decide whether to alter it before future races, while the Charlotte Motor Speedway is tracking conversations and levels of interaction about one of its recent ticket promotions. A sponsor is also following track response and media coverage about a new marketing campaign.
The organization now has enough flexibility to segment the data and provide custom-tailored analytics to each stakeholder, from sponsors to fans. As Sean Doherty, director of digital engagement and integrated marketing communications at NASCAR says, the solution “is now capable of taking all that data and slicing and dicing it to make it relevant to each of those audiences.”
NASCAR says the new centre has already impacted on its official website, allowing the organization to tell what types of content, such as text or video, fans are demanding, as well as testing which different site designs are most popular.
In July 2013 NASCAR named HP as an Official Technology Partner in a three year deal.