Business Issues, Big Data

What are NASCAR fans thinking?

NASCAR CMO details predictive analysis techniques to gain insight into mindset of racing fans

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HP Blogger

Steve Phelps wants to get into the heads of racing fans.

He's chief marketing officer (CMO) of NASCAR and described several business scenarios at HP Dicover 2013 this week. For instance, predictive techniques, such as sentiment analysis, have been used at NASCAR to determine the prevailing mindset of NASCAR fans.

Big Data would be ecstatic that its new master, the CMO, was on stage to detail the business benefits of applying sentiment analysis techniques, using tools such as Autonomy.

Let’s take a closer look at the NASCAR scenarios:

Scenario 1. When GM tried out a new Chevrolet model, NASCAR applied sentiment analysis techniques to social media interactions generated at the rate of 60,000 social interactions per minute through their Fan and Media Engagement Center. The insight extracted was communicated back to GM, who could take appropriate actions based upon this data.

Scenario 2. During one of the races, torrential rains resulted in the tracks being soaked. NASCAR applied innovative technologies, using air-tighteners to dry up the ground in about 90 minutes. Social media interactions from the fans were more focused on this technology than the race itself until it began. NASCAR had an opportunity to act upon this insight to keep their fans engaged while they continued to focus on getting the ground dry to get ready for the next race.

NASCAR sets a good example for enterprises to go social to learn what their customers want. Even better, enterprises should ask themselves if they are at least as social as their customersBig Data defines the competitive enterprises of the future – the topic for a panel discussion at HP Discover.

However, it is not just about getting the intelligence from the brontobytes of Big Data generated acrossSystems of Engagement and existing in Systems of Record.  It is about turning this into actionable insight using solutions, such as HAVEn. This is best done when CIOs engage with the CMOs to get direct insight into what the customers want.

So, I ask you again. What other scenarios come to your mind? Do the NASCAR scenarios trigger any new thoughts? After presenting here and interacting with other attendees and having good discussions on Big Data, I have reached the conclusion that there is really no limit to the possibilities here. Wherever human beings interact, Systems of Engagement exist, and Big Data will be generated. Big Data is here to stay. It is a big world for Big Data all right – definitely in Las Vegas. The call-to-action for enterprises is to do what NASCAR did. Who knows — enterprises that do it right might even share their experience in the keynote at the next conference!

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Jim Gallo 0 Points | Tue, 06/10/2014 - 18:19


After reading this article I know longer wonder why more companies are not thriving.  It is obvious that through all of the theories and hype, chief officers just plain believe their own bullshit.


Look at scenario number 2.  Here you had a group of people that spend hundreds of dollars each to be at the races.  Exactly what else did they have to keep them occupied but the track drying operation?  You really needed social media and 'big data' to figure that one out?


This article is written, to use an old term, 'with $10 words coming out of $2 mouths.'


Brian Richardson 1 Point | Thu, 05/22/2014 - 17:12

They're Nascar fans for goodness sake. Shouldn't be that hard to work out what they're thinking! :)


John Dodge 1535 Points | Fri, 05/23/2014 - 12:44

Now, now....

John Ashcraft 0 Points | Mon, 04/28/2014 - 20:34

R U Kidding Me?

Nascar has several apps that they developed. The first was Nascar Mobile 13 for the year 2013. It was a fairly decent app with just a few rough edges. This year is a completely different animal. Almost none of the data is correct. On the front home page, for instance, this year they always have Raceday as Sunday and this past weekend it was on Saturday night at 6 pm.

They can hire all the upscale researchers they like but the bottom line is if the can not deliver accurate information on their main app there is no point spending money on social data scrubbing.

in the above article an item was discussed that in the article was called air tightening. The correct term is a noun not a verb, it is The Air Titan. It is new this year to Nascar and has already enabled 2 of their races to be completed on the scheduled day whereas in 2013 those same conditions would have put the race on another day and destroying their TV schedule and viewership. It most probably is great money well spent.

The predictive analysis is not in that category .

John Dodge 1535 Points | Mon, 07/08/2013 - 03:59

The value lies in the surprises that tracking social media can unearth. NASCAR would naturally assume fans would be interested in the race, but social media says they were more focused on the track conditioning technology.

The question then becomes what NASCAR officials did as a result of the new insights. Are all these insights actionable?

E.G. Nadhan 271 Points | Tue, 07/09/2013 - 23:40

Right question to ask, John.  Such a reaction does provide first hand insight into what could keep the fans engaged while waiting for the race to resume.  Key insight that could be leveraged and acted upon in similar circumstances.

Thanks to social media and the usage of the appropriate tools that analyze the customer sentiment, NASCAR could know instantly how their customers were reacting in a seemingly challenging situation.

Connect with Nadhan on: Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Journey Blog.