When the world changes overnight, businesses must change at speed too. COVID-19 forced organizations to pivot from offline to online services, transform physical events into virtual experiences, and rapidly adjust production to meet demand and new expectations.
High-speed decision-making underpins Genpact's partnership with Envision Virgin Racing – a founding Formula E team, in which drivers race cutting-edge vehicles to razor-thin victories in the world's first single-seater electric motorsport championship. We help the team navigate uncertainty with artificial intelligence and advanced analytics by making the best possible use of all relevant data to generate insights that help win races.
When COVID-19 postponed racing as we know it, it ignited the need to innovate with fan engagement at its core. While many businesses were waiting to see how the pandemic would shape their future, Envision Virgin Racing began to define its own.
Instead of resting, it took the opportunity to recharge by examining how to connect with its fanbase in an online world. To entertain fans, the team participated in virtual races and even hosted an online marble-racing competition. And, to support parents who were both working and looking after children at home, the team launched an online drawing competition with artist and illustrator, Rob Biddulph, that challenged children to draw and color the Gen2 Formula E car.
This disruption also accelerated the team's longer-term goal to connect with a wider fan base in new demographics. It wanted to attract new fans while also raising awareness of the battle against climate change. But first, it needed to know whom to target.
Listen Before You Speak
Many companies approach this kind of expansion with an inside-out view. They focus on what they want to achieve, sell, or be known for and rely on well-worn tactics, hoping to replicate past success. The result? They create products, services, and experiences that aren't aligned to what customers want or need.
We're living in the experience economy, in which buyers – and sports fans – have more choices and higher expectations. In response, leading organizations take an outside-in approach to connecting with customers. This means grounding your strategy in extensive qualitative and quantitative research.
Validating your market before you act helps your company avoid making assumptions about its target audiences. The most successful organizations invest time in fully understanding their prospective customers, confirming the market up front, and using data and insight to guide their decisions. Rightpoint, a Genpact company, is helping Envision Virgin Racing do just that.
Put Yourself in Pole Position
To support your expansion strategies, here are the key steps your company can take to understand existing customers, identify prospective customers, and connect with customers effectively, based on our work with Envision Virgin Racing.
1. Look at the Big Picture
Begin market validation by learning about your existing customers. What are their interests? How old are they? Where are they based? What do they have in common with the new customers you're trying to reach? For example, Envision Virgin Racing found that many of its fans are based in Asia-Pacific, a region that holds many opportunities for the team if it can couple this data with more detailed audience insights.
2. Go Granular
When you have the big picture, you can begin to refine your target audience based on where you can better serve existing customers and attract new ones. For Envision Virgin Racing, it validated the need to target a broader cross-section of consumers and discovered opportunities to engage a more diverse group of fans through shared cultural interests and passions.
3. Bring It to Life
The next step is to bring your target audience to life through a consumer archetype. An archetype is a representative profile of a person within your target audience and typically includes their demographic profile, values and attitudes, buying behaviors, and needs and preferences relative to a given product or service.
These archetypes should be so detailed, informative, and grounded in research, that – like an old friend – you know how to speak to them in a way that grabs their attention.
4. Act on Insight
Now you're ready to put all these insights together and develop a marketing and content plan, delivered through the most appropriate channels, to reach your audience. Though the research phase can feel extensive, it's the most important step in making sure you connect with the right people and turn them into new customers and fans.
This research should form the basis of every decision your business makes going forward. Getting this piece right can mean the difference between a place on the podium and an early return to the garage.
Turning data into insights and then acting quickly is critical for any business or sports team. Faced with a period of disruption, Envision Virgin Racing seized the opportunity to rethink how it's engaging with fans today and in the future and overtake the competition. Your business can do the same.