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The Phizzle Platform Powers Big Data Insights to Sports Marketers


“Data is a precious thing and will last longer than the systems themselves.”

This salient point was once uttered by Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web. The internet has now been in existence for nearly a quarter of a century. Yet, certain principles remain prevalent to this day–regardless of the hardware, software, and browser innovations developed since then.

Social media platforms are just the latest permutations of online activity. These vehicles of expression have only proliferated extensively due to mobile devices. Americans as a whole possess 91.4 million smartphones. Web browsing, e-mail, and social networks usage within these devices represented 84 percent, 76 percent, and 59 percent two years ago, respectively. The amount of big data that can be gathered and analyzed cannot be stressed enough.

Phizzle, a leading technology company, has keenly been involved with the shift taking place. Their tech represents a vehicle behind more than 8,000 digital, social, and mobile campaigns each day. Having worked with the likes of the Golden State Warriors and Madison Square Garden, they’re at the pulse of what’s next and how to maximize fan engagement.

Earlier this year, SportTechie discussed a sundry of topics pertinent to the evolution of digital and mobile marketing with Jeff Ryznar, Phizzle’s Vice President of Marketing. He mentioned how “scary” it is for a lot of sports brands to embrace something that can discern how well a campaign strategy is working. This fear looms even larger as the aforementioned big data enters the equation–whether sports brands or teams want to acknowledge it or not.

How does big data help assess value?

Since 2006, Phizzle positioned themselves to answer this overarching question through their Phizzle Platform. This property started out as a mobile marketing engine that enabled clients to activate their fan bases via text messages and live, on-screen devices. This technology has evolved over the last two years to serve as a marketing automation solution that consolidates the gamut of digital touchpoints. The Phizzle team realized there’s an opportunity to create a central repository that captures fan data and a more detailed profile of them.

By and large, the marketing automation technologies available are the same. They all intend to provide the option to automate repetitive or daily tasks, which simplifies and contextualizes information from e-mail, SMS, social moderation, and loyalty programs. The Phizzle Platform, in turn, can easily integrate with third-party systems–like point-of-sales, ticketing providers, and CRM systems–and convey a holistic picture of each individual fan through their proprietary data algorithm called FanTracker. These features hone in on the essence behind this behavior-centric tool.

“The Phizzle Platform is built first on a solid data model that is designed to consume data from all channels. With the ‘fan’ at the center of this platform, we intended for this to gather communications, as well as public and private sources of data using a REST/JSON open API. This not only allows for integration with trusted CRM systems a team may have already invested heavily into, but also shows our willingness to cooperate with properties who may not want to change e-mail, social, or mobile providers they are already using,” says Rynzar with respects to how this technology differentiates itself from others in the marketplace.

The FanTracker element adds another key component to this property. As this feature amalgamates the plethora of data, its sentiment analysis monitors the context of a fan’s engagement coupled with a score that distills their respective affinity in a clear, concise manner. And insights into fans’ purchasing power from these data sources reveals demographic information.

Rynzar mentioned that one of the biggest challenges organizations faced with their data collection is that they’re divided, not singularly streamlined. Fans, naturally, have multiple profiles that sometimes don’t all match up due to different inputted data. FanTracker eliminates this issue all together. Its logic synthesizes this information, be it from public or private mediums. Thus, sparing clients the time needed to simply focus on how to implement this data into actionable steps.

The open API architecture enables the Phizzle Platform to serve as a central repository for all this intel. This feature eliminates data silos without compromising flexibility and scalability; essential towards the inclusion of varied data sets. Decision makers can then better determine a strategic plan of action going forward. Rynzar envisions accessible data and a complete engagement lens in which companies can seamlessly integrate all of their sources.

He offered this baseball analogy as it relates to the open API: “It is as if you were trying to put together your starting lineup for baseball and realized you had no pitcher, second baseman, or left fielder; it would be a huge challenge to compete and succeed without these necessary pieces of the team.”


From a marketer’s standpoint, the Phizzle Platform should facilitate campaigns easier and effective to accomplish. To obtain the range of fan information at one’s fingertips is virtually priceless. Phizzle doesn’t intend to replace or intervene with a client’s establish digital providers, even though they offer those tools as well. The open API ensures clients receive a full circle view of their fan base and the ability to interconnect with third-party channels within this platform.

Of course, data without context and correlation is a moot point.

Phizzle recently partnered with GoodData, a leader in cloud business intelligence, in order to solidify a better micro-targeted fan engagement analysis and dashboard visualizations to their Phizzle Platform. This partnerships provides the best of both worlds, in terms of vast data collecting capacity merged with a digestible reporting interface.

For example, a question previously asked by one of Phizzle’s client would be, “how many viewers did we have in Denver, Colorado for this broadcast?” Now, the question asked is more intricate like, “how many people living in a certain geofence, who are fans of the Denver Nuggets, who make over $65,000 a year, and like beer attended our game last night?” The answers to the latter used to be almost impossible; the incorporation of GoodData allows for insights to be crystallized.

“Over 70 percent of data being collected is not numerical in nature. It is a ‘like,’ a comment, a tweet, a blog, a piece of information that cannot be quantified very easily,” Ryznar says.

“The essence of this partnership with GoodData is to develop an on-demand, business intelligence system that enables teams to consume the data and decipher it instantly. The bottom-line for companies will always improve with data driven decisions. Any decision using facts as a formulation of the strategy will come out ahead of assumptions,” continued Ryznar.

Big data perpetually grows by the second. Organizations need to understand how to use these insights and what role it plays moving forward. Appropriate goals need to be in place so data can help guide the process. And each piece of data should be allocated accordingly, otherwise they won’t make sense later.

In the short-term, Phizzle hopes their platform assists teams and brands to conveniently identify trends from their respective fan bases better than other present means of marketing automation. Long-term-wise, these businesses will gain a clearer grasp of their fans and vice versa.

On the whole, the sports industry has been a bit conservative as they tackle big data. Ryznar would make the argument that its various business verticals bound to be the largest beneficiaries of big data–in spite of not fully knowing that they’re at forefront to capitalize on it. When sports brands and teams realize they aren’t fighting for just the dollar of the fan, but, rather, the currency of time then their return on investment will materialize. If they don’t capture fan’s time through engagement channels, “they will continue to operate using an analog strategy in a digital world,” Ryznar notes.

Big data isn’t going anywhere.

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I like the concept but not the name Phizzle. 

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