“First Class Data”! 5 Lessons From My Conversation With Lisa Walker

I had the chance to sit down a few days ago with Lisa Walker, Senior Vice President of Business Development for College Athletics with Eventellect for her very first podcast conversation!

Her boss, Patrick Ryan, told her I’m a good place to start…I told her it is all uphill from here.

All jokes aside, we had a great conversation and you’d never know we just met a few minutes before we started recording.

I found Lisa’s ideas really refreshing and engaging. And, we share a lot of commonality on some of our feelings on segmentation, data, and pricing.

The full conversation is great! And, I hope to have Lisa back once events really start rolling again.

Here are my 5 top lessons from our conversation:

Your goal needs to be ‘First Class Data’:

I love this term that Lisa coined and the underpinning of her philosophy on what makes data “First Class”.

The big idea is that your data needs to relevant and easy to understand.

The meat of the idea really comes to life around putting your data together in a way that folks can gain some sort of insight or can consume quickly. The example Lisa used of getting the gist in 30 seconds really put a fine point on this and it is something I like to highlight over and over again to marketers and people that are prepping their executive teams: “tell them what they need to know, not everything you do know.”

Old data can still be useful now, but you are going to need to wait before you understand new behaviors:

One trick that I like to use when I am leading a strategy session or teaching a class is to try and trick folks into seeing the world through my eyes with pointed questions or really absurd examples.

On the podcast, I often find folks that have a point of view that come at a situation from a different angle so that I can highlight a specific point.

That’s where Lisa and I got to when we were talking about segmentation and data going forward.

The first point that Lisa made was that we can learn a lot from current seat buying patterns like the way that earlier in the pandemic people were more likely to buy pairs. This meant that teams had to adjust their seating manifests. Now as we are into a new stage of the pandemic, we are seeing more 4-packs selling, hinting at changing behavior.

This was a great insight because I know that for games, 4-packs were always the thing I sold the most of individually. And, for theatre, pairs was always the biggest seller.

So I followed up and asked about when we would have a better understanding of the data as places re-open and when new behavior patterns would emerge. Lisa’s answer was consistent with my hunch and the research I had been gathering. She said towards the fall of this year once people start to settle in and the restrictions become looser in the bulk of markets and football starts picking back up.

Good analysis and good insight.

So keep an eye on your data now, but recognize that you are still a bit away from having a full understanding of the data that will carry you forward.

You can’t assume demand:

This is a pet peeve of mine.

The conversations in too many places have been about how demand will just snap back.

The thing is that if you are in a sales or marketing role, your job is to create demand.

One of the great ideas that Lisa shared was that the approach she takes with her partners is to remind them that their core competency is in demand generation. And, that comes down to one of my favorite marketing topics: STP.

  • Segmentation
  • Targeting
  • Positioning

You have to do the work of marketing strategy and building up a robust tactical execution effort to drive demand. So don’t assume demand, create it.

Successful partnerships require shared outcomes:

I got my ticket career started with two really huge, successful partnerships:

  • American Express Centurion Card and Circles
  • Yellow Tail Wines

My POV on the topic was that if I made my partners look good, I’d win. This played over and over. With AmEx, due to our focus on their success, we grew our revenue 1000% in about 12 months. For Yellow Tail, we helped them successfully launch into an entirely different target market with 36 football games and tailgate parties, creating a mid-six figure revenue stream that didn’t exist at the start of the football season.

I highlight this because in my example, my success was due to the success of my partners. In Lisa’s examples, the same vision is in play.

Three points she made in regards to successful partnerships:

  • You have to invest in the relationships. It can’t just be a one-way street where all the risk is on one partner.
  • Your ambition has to be that both partners succeed.
  • Aligning goals and sharing in outcomes helps ensure that both partners are aligned in their efforts.

Again, this is stuff that I’ve been preaching for years and it worked then and it continues to work. Successful partnerships begin with your partners being successful because of you.

Surveying your customers and market can lead to some powerful insights:

My conversation with Lisa got started because Eventellect’s Co-Founder, Patrick Ryan, reached out to me when I shared a piece about NPS surveys and the value of the knowledge you gain from your Net Promoter Score. (We’ve put together a worksheet that explains NPS and helps guide you through the process for your organization. If you want a copy, email me at dave@davewakeman.com)

Of course, I find out that Eventellect has a 77 and I have a 53. I was jealous.

Both of them are outstanding, 77 is up there with Starbucks on the customer satisfaction scale. And, doing research in the world of tickets, I couldn’t find another ticket related business that was anywhere near Eventellect.

The thing that was great about this part on research was that the research that Eventellect did during the pandemic allowed them to help their partners during the pandemic. It allowed them to offer new services, new ideas, and new value at a time when things were really challenging for everyone.

And, due to the research they’ve also been able to deepen their relationships with people.

This is the power of research. It tells you what your customers want and need. And, if you do it consistently, you get better at launching products and services that make you bigger profits.

Also, NPS is a great number to track where your business is and which direction it is going. I do one every quarter or so for my ticket newsletter: Talking Tickets and at the end of 2020 I scored 53. In March 2021, after applying the lessons learned, I jumped to 67.

Patrick and Lisa, I’m going to catch you!

I really enjoyed talking with Lisa. I learned a lot and that’s usually a good litmus test that y’all will too! Give it a listen and connect with Lisa on the social media:

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