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The Tour de France experience for a market segment of one

Blog

It’s tempting – and understandable – to move straight into ‘solution mode’ when you’re looking for a digital solution to business problems. But without a clear idea of the business goals and aspirations, it’s difficult to know what that solution should achieve.

As Official Technology Partner of the Tour de France since 2015, Dimension Data has worked closely with Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O.) to develop an innovative digital strategy that would meet the needs of different viewing audiences. Our advisory consulting approach helped to clarify A.S.O.’s business objectives and challenges, and identify solutions that would enable A.S.O. to reach more people across market segments, and build brand equity and sources of revenue for future business growth.

The challenge

How to engage new consumers in addition to the traditional TV viewership

From the start, A.S.O. had a clear view of where the potential of new Tour de France consumers was coming from. The primary viewership of the TV broadcast – generation X and older – was no longer the only potential viewing market. Millennials were fast becoming a growing market segment. But, having grown up in a digital age, they were unlikely to tune into the race in the same way older generations of viewers did. To engage this growing market, A.S.O. would need to provide different content, on different channels, alongside the still very popular TV broadcast.

In addition to these generational differences, A.S.O. recognised that not all viewers want to see the same race. While many are obsessed with understanding every detail of the race, some simply enjoy the scenic views of France. Others are interested in certain aspects of the race but don’t follow it quite as enthusiastically as the die-hard fans.

Some fans follow the race, others admire the scenery

The objective

Reaching a customer segment of one

A.S.O. had a good understanding of its business challenges, and together we unpacked these to see how digital solutions could address viewers’ expectations and deliver business results for A.S.O.

What emerged was that the primary goal of the digital solution was to serve a market segment of one – if not immediately, then at some point in the future. A.S.O. wanted to enable a personalised experience of the Tour de France that catered to individual interests, allowing fans and followers to customise the way they engage with the race, on their preferred platform.

This goal would guide our thinking throughout the digital transformation process.

At the time, pro cycling was lagging behind other sports in using data and statistics to stimulate interest and drive up viewing numbers. A.S.O. sought to change this, using technology to reimagine the viewing experience. While TV would continue to be the primary platform for the viewing experience, additional channels such as apps, video, blogs, and social media would need to be used to deliver unique experiences of the race for different audiences.

Our role was to help A.S.O. bridge the digital gap, using the Internet to enrich the way fans and followers engaged with the race, and attract viewers who wished to consume different forms of content. In 2014, a tracking device was fitted to each rider’s bike and data from these devices was captured and shared with viewers for the first time.

Closing the technology gap to reach a customer segment of one

The process

From baseline assessment to digital strategy

Our digital transformation journey started with a baseline maturity assessment: identifying whether A.S.O. and its customers (race audiences) perceived its digital practices were meeting their expectations, and to what extent. We then worked with the executive team to understand and map their objectives, and determine the best way to achieve them. A logical process, but often organisations find themselves encumbered by a very successful legacy that has great momentum. With A.S.O., there was a clear understanding of the need to drive transformation in a disruptive world.

Knowing what customers want, how to use existing resources, and where investment is required, is a great departure point for the digital transformation journey. We took a design-thinking approach to modelling the desired customer experience and identifying how A.S.O. could truly transform this experience for viewers.

The digital transformation process is an iterative one. We identify a need, then conceptualise, test, and get feedback on prototypes we develop to meet that need. Because the fans are critical to any solution we develop, we ensure they’re brought into this process. And it’s a continual process: any digital strategy developed for the Tour de France will evolve with the changing expectations of fans and followers, and the opportunities presented by new and transformative enablement technology.

The outcome

Ongoing development to revolutionise the viewing experience

When we began this journey with A.S.O., they were looking for a business partner, not simply a technology provider, and we believe that in this respect our advisory-led engagement has added significant value to the overall Tour de France solution.

We’re now at a point in our relationship where we’re having different conversations about how to change thinking and behaviour to drive digital transformation further.

A.S.O. is now in a strong position to diversify its audience by serving existing target markets in a differentiated way, tapping into new market opportunities, and delivering a rich, personalised viewing experience that drives increasing engagement with this iconic event.

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