Make the Numbers, Make Your Numbers

3 ways to leverage analytics in support of actionable insight.

C-suite executives seek actionable consumer and marketplace intelligence based on a well-honed, reliable, and sustainable analytic infrastructure. This is a unique but solvable challenge in every business sector.

Consistently generating effective insights requires the use of several analytic approaches. Reliance on any single approach is fraught with risk; even a broken clock is right twice a day. At Endeavor, a global sports and entertainment company, we strive to operationalize insights as a competitive advantage. The group I run, Endeavor Analytics, supports a vast organization that specializes in talent representation, sports operations and advisory, event and experiences management, media production and distribution, experiential marketing, and brand licensing. It’s an organization that requires a commitment to a diverse array of analytic methods. There are several key approaches that, when leveraged by a skilled crew of analysts, data scientists, and technologists, results in nuanced and effective strategy and execution.

Three Analytic Approaches


1. Syndicated Data Analytics

Purveyors of third-party data services play a critical role in aggregating marketplace intelligence across countless consumer touch points. A robust toolkit of syndicated resources provides economical access to compelling insights that can be leveraged on a global scale. Endeavor Analytics maintains access to a suite of 50+ vendors across sports and entertainment, powering our ability to surface best-in-class insights. This foundational data is used to support an eclectic range of projects, including the UFC’s outreach to brand partners, WME television sales efforts across SVOD outlets, and the successful launch of new IMG events.

2. Primary Research: Turning Assumptions into Actions

Soliciting direct feedback from consumers provides compelling insights with near real-time impact. Assessing demographic profiles and psychographic behaviors is an essential technique in determining an effective course of action. Quantitative research is commonly conducted via a consumer survey, a straightforward yet effective tool. Data science techniques, however, can amplify and enhance output from traditional survey initiatives. Moreover, leveraging new technology, such as QR codes, and other more organic “mousetraps” for recruiting respondents is revolutionizing the way in which we can conduct traditional quantitative surveys.

Qualitative research brings unique insights into the mix, with methodologies such as focus groups, in-depth interviews, and ethnographies. Qualitative studies humanize research and result in compelling insights. Primary research has broad-based relevance for internal colleagues and external clients. Celebrity talents’ increasing interest in launching brands, sports leagues and teams’ desire to elevate the fan experience, optimizing ticket pricing and assessing consumer segments from multicultural to moms are illustrative of primary research initiatives. When the objective is to see around corners, primary research can play a significant role in turning assumptions into action. 

3. First-Person Data

Data derived directly from your audience or consumer is remarkably valuable, particularly as disintermediation and direct-to-consumer initiatives become mission critical to both growth and profitability. Many organizations are leveraging a customer data platform to harvest data and formulate a unified, or “golden record,” for consumers. Although complex to stand up, the ability to leverage a direct relationship with customers and personalize calls to action is powerful. The effective use of first-person data can dramatically enhance the customer experience. Enriching the consumer profile of target segments, optimizing cross-sell and up-sell opportunities, and increasing marketing effectiveness are just a few of the benefits. A critical issue when considering the use of first-person data is consumer privacy and data security.

Developing an Effective Analytics Agenda

Ideally, all three of the above approaches would be interwoven to ensure optimal insights are derived. Developing and maintaining an effective analytics agenda is essential for any organization. A C-suite commitment combined with adequate resourcing—both tools and talent—can be transformative.

The key takeaway when determining what research methodologies to employ and how to take on an analytics project is this: Analytics shouldn’t be a tool set to validate preconceived assumptions, but rather challenge them. In our attempt to move the proverbial business needle, we must embrace negative findings, pivot accordingly, and, ultimately, mitigate risk. Insights derived by these approaches provide tangible results that can champion the consumer and move markets.

Keith Friedenberg is chief analytics officer at Endeavor Analytics, the analysis and valuation division within Endeavor