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It’s Lights Out & Away We Go: Aston Martin score maximum points with audience-led data strategy
July 20, 2022
Aston Martin’s relationship with Formula 1 dates back more than 60 years - and the team returned to the motorsport ahead of the 2021 season under the name Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula 1 Team (AMF1).
The brand already possessed a super energised and engaged membership base desperate for interesting content and immersive experiences. AMF1 also had numerous commercial sponsors that were searching for sophisticated offerings from their partnerships - which went beyond raising brand awareness.
AMF1 identified audience data as the catalyst for change. This would provide a platform for improved fan engagement - and showcase to partners that the right message resonated with the right audiences at the right time.
Zone was appointed to bring a holistic approach to the data strategy. There were two clear objectives:
- Deliver excellent multi-channel experiences to all users - achieved through unique audience segmentation based on individual characteristics
- Utilise this understanding to identify efficient fan acquisition strategies - that would improve the top of the Audience Development funnel
So what obstacles did Zone have to navigate around - and what steps were taken to ensure AMF1 scored a podium finish?
Creeping Up To The Chicane
AMF1 wasn’t struggling with popularity following the rebrand. The brand doubled its social audience - and added hundreds of thousands of fans to its database - after rejoining Formula 1 in 2021.
The team was concerned about maximising engagement and monetary value from consumer relationships. Zone needed to identify the audiences most valuable to 3 key stakeholders: Merchandise Sales; Cognizant (AMF1’s Title Partner) and Aston Martin Lagonda road car business.
Zone’s strategy involved augmenting AMF1’s owned data with key third-party data sources. This would provide greater insight into the consumers most likely to respond to each marketing channel - a cost-effective method to improve user experience (UX).
A 5 step strategy was developed:
Determine what we know about users through owned data
Develop ‘rubrics’ - scoring mechanisms translating AMF1’s views on users they want to reach into acquirable data points - using workshops with stakeholders
Source data from public sources to create intelligence - and value - to static datasets
Segment database’s audience - using the rubrics - into four profiles: AMF1 fans; high net-worth individuals; retailer customers and business community
Curate personalised campaigns targeting consumers based on segmentation scores
Zone - over several months and countless conversations with data partners and owners - collected 158 columns of third-party data. But what did this achieve?
AMF1 Take The Chequered Flag
Zone’s sophisticated data strategy ensured all of AMF1’s users enjoyed unique, personalised experiences. This meant the brand could better engage with fans - and deliver on their partners’ desire to have meaningful engagements across different audiences.
The segmentation programme was first used in February 2022. The AMR22 - Aston Martin’s car for the 2022 Formula 1 season - was announced through an email campaign. A combination of tests and controls were introduced to provide true insight into the segmentation’s impact on the campaign’s end results.
Each target audience had a test sample, receiving specifically curated content, and a control group. AMF1 - despite full results pending - have already reported a 52% increase in retail spending in the High Value and General retail test audience compared to the control audience.
Zone - as well as optimising AMF1’s audience strategy - aimed to educate the team on how to improve business operations. Initial findings have resulted in quick, easy wins implemented across the brand’s overarching marketing strategies. Key successes include:
- Impact on partner engagement: Zone held sessions with AMF1’s leading partners to demonstrate the innovative data strategy’s impact - allowing the brand to hold positive talks with prospective partners
- Mining deep audience insight: AMF1 can use the segmented data to drive conversations with existing and potential partners - this information allows the brand to illustrate its ability to specifically target individuals with relevant messaging
Setting Sights On The Championship
The work is already influencing other aspects of AMF1’s operations. LinkedIn is now the brand’s fastest growing audience - the 40% reported growth in 6 months is significantly faster than any other F1 team.
But the segmentation programme was just the beginning. Refining the process - and using additional data points - will allow AMF1 to precisely categorise each user. Developing digital and physical experiences for each segmented audience will ensure, for example, AMF1’s high net-worth individuals are treated differently from the team’s superfans. This will:
- Provide quality experiences for all users
- Deepen each user’s relationship with AMF1
- Shift them closer to ‘conversion’ - this could be purchasing a car, buying merchandise or achieving a partner sale
Paul Latham - Head of Audience Development at AMF1 - believes that the improved audience segmentation process is transforming their interactions with both users and partners.
“This project has been a real labour of love. When I started in the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1™ Team I knew that we had the potential to create an industry-leading data strategy. Our aim is to provide exemplary experiences to all our users across every channel that they engage with us. Through our work with Zone, we can better understand our audiences and identify the best ways to communicate with them which has already resulted in the growth of our B2Baudience, retail spend increasing and deeper engagement with our commercial partners.”
Robin Bloom - CMO at AMF1 - stressed how Zone’s initial work has been crucial in establishing the emerging F1 team’s position.
“We are hugely proud of the innovative data strategy that we have implemented. As the newest team on the F1 grid, it’s important that we take a bold and ambitious approach to fan engagement – and that starts with a deep understanding of our audience. We’re already seeing positive results and are excited to see our audience engagement ambitions realised in the future.”
The championship hasn’t been won yet. But Zone and AMF1 both have their sights firmly on the finish line.