Back to Blog

Marketing in the Cloud: The Big 10 Conference’s Data Strategy for Fan 360 and Cross-Channel Activation

Learn more about the Big 10, their investment in the modern data stack, and how they're driving self-serve activation from their single source of truth–Snowflake.

Julia Parker

Julia Parker

In today's world, data is king. Organizations of all types and sizes are realizing the power of their customer data, and the benefits of unlocking its full potential. As a result, many are turning to the Modern Data Stack to help them get the most from their data.  This is especially true for sales and marketing, where organizations seek ways to leverage their data to gain a competitive edge and build stronger relationships with their customers. 

The Big 10 Conference is one such organization. The Big 10 Conference is a collegiate athletic conference comprising 14 universities in the United States. It is renowned for its long-standing tradition of athletic and academic excellence, with member institutions including some of the largest and most respected universities in the country. The conference sponsors a diverse range of intercollegiate sports, including football, basketball, baseball, wrestling, and many others.

Nate Schnader, Big 10's CIO was in the midst of implementing Snowflake as the organization's data cloud when he decided to take the organization’s investment one step further by exploring ways for the marketing and business users to act on that data without requiring additional resources. Read on to learn more about the Big 10, their investment in the modern data stack, and how they're driving self-serve activation from their single source of truth–Snowflake.

The Challenge: Empowering Non-Technical Teams with Data

Due to the size and scale of their audience, Nate needed a way to centralize data in order for it to be useful to teams across the organization. Implementing Snowflake’s Data Cloud in partnership with Data Clymer as the Big 10’s supplemental data team was the first step. 

In anticipation of their data cloud filled with valuable customer interaction intelligence, Nate realized that he would need to enable a way for non-technical users to access that data without putting a strain on their data science resources. Their investment into the modern data stack focused on 3 main objectives:

  1. Creating a unified Fan 360 within the data cloud on Snowflake
  2. Improving their customer segmentation process using that data
  3. Using these intelligent customer segments to increase merchandise sales across their fanbase through paid media and email campaigns

Nate and his team evaluated a variety of solutions, including Braze, and Salesforce’s CDP, but he ultimately chose Flywheel to avoid creating additional data silos that would undermine the valuable data resources his team was building in Snowflake.

“In getting the most out of our data, implementing the cloud was only half the battle. We needed a way to open up access to that data to the rest of our teams.” - Nate Schnader, CIO, Big 10 Conference

The Solution: Enabling Self-Service Activation

In order to allow for immediate activation on the data centralized in Snowflake, they needed a direct path out of the data cloud and into marketing tools like Facebook ads. Flywheel’s unique structure–a self-serve data activation tool that sits on top of the data cloud–was the ideal solution. By building a hub-and-spoke model, the Big 10 could operate directly from the data within Snowflake instead of creating siloed data sets in a CDP or other marketing tool.

Led by Nate and Big 10’s Senior Director of Business Strategy and Intelligence, Hart Zwingelberg, they began implementing Flywheel in January 2023. Flywheel’s flexibility made it easy for them to identify which audiences they wanted to target, and with the help of Data Clymer, Big 10 can rapidly spin up tables from Snowflake to be used in Flywheel’s Audience Builder. As the team continues their investment in data-based marketing tools such as ESPs, Flywheel is enabling the use of first party data on paid media campaigns.

The Outcome: Data-Driven Decision Making

With Flywheel, the Big 10 Conference has been able to unlock new revenue streams through the creation of highly targeted audiences geared towards driving merchandise sales. By leveraging the power of data and analytics, Big 10’s marketers can now craft messaging that is much more relevant and tailored to the interests of each individual fan. This level of personalization has been shown to increase customer engagement and loyalty, driving more frequent and higher value purchases.

Some of these audiences include:

  • Women, ages 18-60, who have purchased basketball merchandise
  • Men, ages 18-60, who have purchased basketball merchandise
  • Anyone, age 25-65, who has ordered anything in the past 180 days valuing more than $75 for all schools in the Big 10 Conference
Using Audience Builder, the Big 10 can segment audiences based on unique characteristics.

Even more exciting–they are just getting started. 

“Flywheel has been a game-changer for us at the Big 10 Conference. Thanks to their unique self-serve activation tool, we can now harness the full potential of our data to drive growth in merchandise sales and improve our overall fan experience.” - Nate Schnader, CIO, Big 10 Conference

What’s Next for the Big 10?

Initially focused on Twitter and Facebook Ad campaigns promoting the Big 10 Conference itself, they now plan to expand the use of Flywheel to all 14 member universities. By unlocking the power of Flywheel, each member university can export audiences to Flywheel’s destinations–driving ticket and merchandise sales through targeted messaging.

“Flywheel has become an integral part of our modern data stack, and we're excited to see what other opportunities it can unlock for us in the future." - Hart Zwingelberg, Senior Director of Business Strategy and Intelligence, Big 10 Conference

How to Achieve the Big 10 Unified Data Strategy for Your Business

If you’re interested in activating data like the Big 10 Conference, here’s how you can get started:

If you already have customer data in Snowflake:

  1. Book a demo with Flywheel Software and Snowflake.
  2. Link your Snowflake tables and marketing and sales destinations to the Flywheel Software platform.
  3. Launch your first Flywheel Software audience in less than one week.

If you’re still building out your data cloud…

  1. Get a Data Strategy Session with a Flywheel Solutions Architect at no cost.
  2. Use our Quick Start Program to get started with BigQuery in 4 to 8 weeks.
  3. Launch your first Flywheel Software audience in less than one week thereafter.
Share on social media: 

More from the Blog

ChatGPT for Audience Building: Introducing Marve

ChatGPT for Audience Building: Introducing Marve

Create Audiences from natural language using AI, right on top of your cloud data warehouse.

The Boston Red Sox Kickstarts Audience Targeting

The Boston Red Sox Kickstarts Audience Targeting

Discover how the Boston Red Sox leveraged targeted marketing with data segmentation. Want to know how your team can do the same? Read the blog!

Pros and Cons of a Customer Data Platform

Pros and Cons of a Customer Data Platform

In recent years, Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) have often been touted as the next big platform for marketing. While there’s certainly a lot of noise around the technology, is it really the best solution for unifying data and business intelligence?

Looking for guidance on your Data Warehouse?

Supercharge your favorite marketing and sales tools with intelligent customer audiences built in BigQuery, Snowflake, or Redshift.

Get Demo