Marketing automation is heavily invested in B2B.

Big industry players like Oracle-Eloqua, Marketo, Adobe (Adobe Campaign via recently acquired Neolane), Silverpop, (via recently acquired Pardot) and Act-On drive the majority of their revenue from companies who sell to other companies (B2B) rather than to companies who market to consumers, according to Lori Wizdo, principal analyst for Forrester Research.

“But, not all of their revenues,” Wizdo said.

Sports as Customers

That’s where a provider like Phizzle comes in. Phizzle today announced a data analytics partnership with Bloomberg Sports, which gets access to Phizzle’s fan-centric marketing automation solutions designed to deliver real-time analytics.

On an industry level, Phizzle’s platform is in-line with an increasing portion of revenue-generating from companies selling to consumers in segments which are highly considered purchases (e.g. insurance), highly relationship oriented (e.g. financial advisors) or loyalty driven, Wizdo told

This is where sports, entertainment and other fan-centric businesses fit in, she added.

The companies listed above like Marketo and Eloqua “have significant numbers of sports teams as customers,” Wizdo said. “The sports vertical was one of the ‘early adopter’ verticals for marketing automation; the tech industry was another. Eloqua actually has a specific version of its product that is fine-tuned to the requirements of sports and entertainment marketers.”

Why This Product?

We caught up with Phizzle on the eve of its Bloomberg news announcement. The Phizzle platform, we learned, uses a proprietary solution called FanTracker(R), which tracks interactions across multiple engagement channels, such as SMS, email, loyalty, social media and mobile applications to consolidate
consumers into a series of single unified profiles.

customer experience, In a B2B Marketing Automation World, Consumers Targeted

Jeff Ryznar, vice president of marketing for Phizzle, told CMSWire that his company is unique because it has always been in the sports entertainment industry.

“A lot of marketing automation companies are popping up saying they specialize in sports entertainment — even Constant Contact, Salesforce and Marketo are starting to dabble in the sports space,” Ryznar said. “We’ve always been here. Seventy percent of our team members come from sports backgrounds. They know what these organizations are struggling with. And we’re built and founded in mobile where everyone else was founded in email. We’re rooted in mobile.”

As for the platform itself, FanTracker brings data from different silos into one location. Phizzle doesn’t require organizations to use itself as an email or SMS provider, either.

Marketing Automation Trends

Currently Forrester sees the term marketing automation reserved for companies whose products help a marketer engage with their customers (and potential customers) across multiple channels (e.g. email, social, mobile, direct mail) in a meaningful way, across the entire customer life cycle.

Players in the 15-year-old space want to attract new prospective customers, accelerate buying cycles, drive more buying decisions and increase loyalty, retention and lifetime revenue.

What trends does Forrester see in the marketing automation landscape now?

  • Better tools to manage a consistent, relevant engagement across multiple channels (email, mobile, social, point of sale)
  • Improved targeting and offer delivery based upon customer behavior (e.g. send me a discount offer on a player jersey after I've spent a ton of time looking at online content about the player)
  • Better integration and engagement across social channels
  • Increased adoption in B2C and B2B2C marketers who will evolve from email marketing to engagement marketing

And the goals for the sports marketing automation industry itself?

“Attract more fans,” Wizdo said. “Increase fan loyalty and engagement. Turn ticket buyers into subscribers. Increase revenues from event attendance. Increase revenue from concessions and merchandise.”