IT solutions help International Speedway in race toward customer engagement
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IT solutions help International Speedway in race toward customer engagement

Deploying advanced IT solutions is transforming from an option to a requirement. Companies in a variety of industries are discovering that leveraging technology beyond the bare minimum can have far-reaching affects on critical aspects of their operations, including customer satisfaction and bottom lines.

Increasingly, consumers are demanding more well-tailored experiences, especially when it comes to their entertainment. Daryl Wolfe, chief marketing officer at International Speedway, recently told CIO Magazine that IT now plays a major role in the organization's customer-facing initiatives. Wolfe explained that one way IT can boost fans' experience is by allowing companies to focus on each individual's needs more closely during the entire process of seeing a race, from buying the ticket to leaving the event. For instance, casual fans are identified and provided tools such as 3D maps and parking information, while more frequent customers will receive detailed information that may better suit their level of familiarity and enthusiasm. Without IT solutions available to mine International Speedway's data, it would be difficult – if not impossible – to make these offers accurately.

Wolfe noted that IT aids in achieving the goal of making the experience of seeing a NASCAR event more exciting. He told CIO that International Speedway used IT tools to create FanVision, which allows guests to watch from 10 different channels of video, including in-car camera footage. Telemetry data also gives race-goers an insider look at communications between drivers and their crews, further augmenting the experience.

However, not all the company's successes have been planned. Wolfe noted that IT innovation has proved useful in unexpected ways. When International Speedway launched a pilot program that allowed fans to register their names at each beer stand they visit, guests turned the experience into a game. What started as what Wolfe called a simple effort to gather more customer data developed into a fan-generated scavenger hunt, with many participants even positing about it on Facebook. Finding all the tap towers turned into another way to have fun on race day. In turn, the corporation benefited from both the large amount of information gleaned and the improvements to customer experience.

Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (SMI) also recently expressed a desire to spend on innovative tools to drive the creation of an enhanced customer experience.

"We are increasingly investing in technology and promotional efforts to win over the next generation of race fans, particularly targeted on families, kids and first-time fans," said Marcus Smith, chief operating officer and president of SMI. "While always striving to provide our fans and customers with race entertainment value second to none, SMI is improving the before and after race experience."

For any organization, levels of customer satisfaction can have a major impact on bottom lines. Ensuring that consumers are enjoying products and experiences is key to success, and IT solutions can make gathering essential data and leveraging it for this purpose an easy and productive process. Investing in IT is investing in the company's future.