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‘We treat fans better when we know more about them’: Why FC Bayern works with Adobe

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By Chris Sutcliffe | Senior reporter

August 9, 2022 | 6 min read

FC Bayern Munich has signed a multi-year deal with Adobe to provide fans with personalized interactions. The Drum catches up with each business’s top marketers to learn what we can expect from the partnership.

The Allianz Arena, home stadium of FC Bayern Munich

The partnership will see personalized experiences deployed both in and out of the Allianz Arena / Saurav Rastogi

Football fans’ expectations are changing – they are expecting tailored comms and content, and in order to do that clubs must know who they are talking to and manage these experiences. As a result, the German giants have partnered with adtech experts Adobe.

Alvaro del Pozo is vice-president of international marketing at Adobe. He explains: “Today’s football fans have an insatiable appetite for content from the team and the players they love that goes beyond the match. To deliver on this expectation in today’s increasingly digital world, you need the ability to personalize experiences across every channel and platform at a global scale. And this is first and foremost a data and content challenge, but also an opportunity.”

To that end, FC Bayern will use Adobe’s customer data platform to bring together data from online and offline interactions to build real-time profiles that enable the club to have a “360° single view” of each customer. It allows FC Bayern to live up to the standards of personalization that have been set by other services in other sectors – but implementing that for the betterment of fans and sponsors.

Andreas Jung, chief marketing officer for FC Bayern Munich, says the club’s engagement windows have widened beyond matchday. “This is the expectation that the fans have and they want to participate in everything. This means that they consume content everywhere and anytime... 24/7.

“This is the task that we do have on digitalization; the strategy from our studies is to gain deeper insight into our fans because we need to know what they expect – and so we consolidate our data into more complete customer profiles, and then we can deliver a much more emotive experience to them.”

New fan experiences

Del Pozo believes that, for the next generation of fans who are currently becoming more of a focus for sports marketing, brands must be mobile-first – or they might as well not exist. He talks of the fan experiences across Asia as a potential roadmap for clubs and companies in Europe, as that mobile-first focus then allows the brand to capitalize on marketing trends around social- and metaverse-related content.

Additionally, as the rise of privacy concerns spreads to every sector, Adobe is leveraging its technology to deliver personalized content and recommendations at scale without breaching any incoming privacy rules.

Del Pozo explains: “We’ve recently done some market research across markets in Europe, including Germany ... on brand trust and the criticality of brand trust in today’s mostly digital world, and how the baseline was privacy and honoree preferences. So we need to nail that first before you move on to personalization as the next ambition, and beyond that you move on to empathy through personalization and beautiful content.”

For Jung, however, the most important ability afforded by the partnership is to get closer to the fans: “We can treat our fans much better because we know much more about them and about their expectations. We cannot say that we have always done the right thing in the relationship with the club and with fans. We have open discussions; that’s okay. They’ll criticize us, but the more we know about them the better we can work together with them.”

Football, because of its incredibly emotive nature, is more exposed to fan backlash than most sectors. As expectations shift across all verticals and forms of digital content, the challenge is in making sure that clubs deliver personalized and considered content – without breaching the contract between fan and club when it comes to sustainability and privacy.

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