Only move into digital if it’s to “address a dedicated problem that you’re trying to fix in the business,” Sam Bourke, marketing director of ETM Group advised delegates at MCA’s Hostech conference last week.

Bourke spoke about the mixed data infrastructure that ETM Group has implemented over the past two years, but said that she “would recommend others do the same investment only if it’s to solve a business problem.”

“Our business problem was that we were showing a hell of a lot of sports and we didn’t have the audience passing our door every day. We needed to work out how to get more people in and we used digital to solve that problem,” she said.

ETM has created a multifaceted infrastructure comprised of personalised SCV (single customer view) data and anonymised data in order to identify target audiences for specific sporting events.

In addition to a SCV database of around 600,000 people, the company source anonymised data through Presence in collaboration with Wireless Social – “which is essentially Google analytics for physical venues,” tracking customers based on their MAC addresses – google analytics, top referrals, sites like Design My Night and socials.

As well as information like gender, age and location, “with Wireless Social we’re able to get people’s hobbies and behaviours and what they’re interested in.”

“I can see people’s sporting preferences, whether they play sport, the brands that they engage with. We try to use their interests and hobbies to carve out great audiences.”

Bourke explained that whilst both forms of data are useful, they’re most powerful when combined.

“When you add the personalised SCV data to your social targeting you’ve got much deeper engagement,” she said.

“You know, first of all, that these are dedicated fans of your venues, and then you add that to social targeting. That’s really where the magic happens. So we create one actual audience and then one lookalike audience, and that segment is served all of our relevant social comms.”

As an example of the success of its approach, Bourke revealed that in identifying potential guests who were likely to be visiting the capital for the NFL London games through geo targeting, and combining this with the SCV data of customers who had previously bought tickets for NFL events, the business was able to increase ticket sales by 38% year on year.

Similar success rates were seen as a result of its combination data profiling for the Women’s World Cup (81% increase in revenue across sports venues) and the UFC (70% increase in revenue across sports venues with four venues at capacity.)

An effective solution to its “business problem”, “using data is something that we do every day,” she said, and the infrastructure has “paid for itself tenfold.”