Partnerships based on advanced sports analytics lower costs and open up creative sales promotions opportunities around major sporting events for retailers, manufacturers and marketing agencies

Martin Bailey, Opia

Data-analytics now dominate the coverage of sport as broadcasters and journalists gain access to detailed performance statistics used by coaches and bookmakers.

Tapping into this data offers brands and agencies the opportunity to run bespoke sports-based sales promotional campaigns around specific events, for example, the football FIFA World Cup in 2018.

As a specialist sales promotion agencyOpia have exclusively partnered with sports risk experts Siepe Sports, who specialise in the provision of sports analytics data to the insurance industry but have a proven track record utilising the analytical outputs to generate significant profits through sports betting and trading over the last decade.  The benefit of this partnership is that Opia can create competitively priced promotional mechanics which are based around precisely calculated sports forecasting models and probabilities to determine the risk profile, as our fees are based on empirical sports data, not just a gut-feeling.

The ever-growing sophistication of sports analytics conducted by powerful algorithms and machine-learning, provides instantaneous breakdowns of almost every useful match or career detail, from passes completed, to their direction, length and recipients. Goal-scoring opportunities, yardage covered, cautions incurred on a wet Tuesday – all the data is there along with its analysis.

The biggest opportunity in the world

As the football World Cup in Russia next summer approaches, retailers and manufacturers will use the unmatched pulling-power of World Cup football to boost sales promotional campaigns for everything from consumer electronics to cars, fuel and furniture, with cash-for-goals or cashback campaigns relating to wins by the UK home nations.

Big sports data is the difference

Until now, the approach used to calculate insurance rates involved in a sports cashback promotion has been based largely on assumptions, loss ratios and subjective form, with bookmaker odds often acting as a base point from which rates are conservatively derived without back-up from strong sports analytical data they visit which are impacted by cognitive bias (for example the expectation that England will do better than they are actually likely to do), and are influenced by a herd mentality on how the rest of the market acts. As more bets are placed on the home nations the cost to place the bet increases, simply because more bets have been placed. In reality the underlying conditions have not changed.  Accurate sports data removes this bias and ensures the most accurate promotional pricing.

Disrupting sport risk promotion market

New partnerships disrupt the status quo. In particular those between consultancies designing customer-grabbing, bold, creative sales promotions and incentives, and the companies supplying the data to the sport and betting industries. Sales promotion strategies are now crafted from these advanced data-sets, reflecting the reality on the pitch and not the sudden enthusiasms or group-think of the betting market.

Now insurance underwriters can see that the consultancy has designed a sports risk promotion based on hard, detailed and thoroughly-analysed data from sports risk companies.

The significant advantage to retailers and manufacturers in all this, is that premiums become lower. It means that far more companies can undertake the kind of creative promotions they have hitherto only considered as fantasy football items on a wish-list marketing plan.

Opia and our exclusive partner Siepe Sports take the highly granular performance data from their own and other recognised sources, and subject it to rigorous analysis and combine it with their own proprietary analytics to provide a true assessment of the sales promotion’s risk-level.

Creativity and expertise in promotion-design are essential

Promotions can be quirky and distinctive, but they need to be easily understood so that the ordinary consumer feels included. It would be too easy to use the wealth of big data analysis to come up with a promotion that appeals to a relatively narrow band of devoted fans.

A cashback offer that rewards a consumer buying a high-value washing machine for every goal scored by a high-profile team or player is more likely to hit the right demographic than one related to the number of bookings achieved by players with poor disciplinary records. This is an obvious example, but it is all too easy to get it wrong and end up with a costly flop or a promotion that over-achieves and leads to higher-than-expected levels of redemption and very high costs. This is where access to professional sales promotions consultancies with the creativity and long experience of running such campaigns, is a pre-requisite.

Retailers and OEMs need to start on their promotions now

In fact, the science of promotions has been operational for a decade, using predictive analytics and specialist underwriting guarantees to ensure that the promotion hits the back of the net without the retailer or manufacturer ending up out-of-pocket. Ordinarily, the downside of not being able to predict how many customers will take up the offer would be the risk of the promotion lingering on a firm’s balance sheet, as well as the potential financial risks if the promotion was more popular than anticipated.

Now, however, end-to-end management of risk-managed promotions with a sports hook has been taken to the next level of performance through the application of big data sports analytics. This heightened level of big data insight, combined with the creative expertise and flair of a risk-backed sales promotion consultancy is an unbeatable pairing. It will enable any retailer or manufacturer to stand out from the crowd and achieve far greater revenues than competitors when the World Cup comes round. The tournament is however, approaching fast and organisations need to grasp the opportunity now. It should be a great summer.