Lessons From the NFL: Letting the User Experience Drive Strategy

We are living in exponential times. Just as we figure out a new technology, an even newer one comes on the scene. This is one of the many reasons why digital transformation experts advise business leaders to focus on the user, not the technology.

It’s how legacy brands like the NFL are tackling changing consumer profiles and behaviors. Instead of wedging existing football content onto the hottest new social network or streaming video service, the league challenges its teams to consider how that content needs to evolve to excite the unique users of each new platform.

NFL Chief Information Officer Michelle McKenna-Doyle explained why at THINK 17:

“Technology isn’t innovation in and of itself; it is an enabler.” (Hear more from McKenna-Doyle in the video below.)

When we concentrate our efforts on meeting the needs of a particular technology or platform’s users, our strategy automatically revolves around behavior and preferences, rather than screen sizes or download speeds.

“You can’t just have a website that you shrink to fit a mobile phone or tablet,” said McKenna-Doyle. The needs of NFL fans, she explained, change depending on the technology platform they are engaging with. “People are using different devices for different reasons.”

Football fans use broadcast TV for social viewing, mobile phones for real-time updates; websites for player research. Financial consumers, too, may use the branch for consultative services; smartphones for balancing checks or mobile deposit; websites for account openings or sizable transfers. Therefore, the content and services pushed to each platform has to change to meet the pertinent behaviors and preferences.

To succeed with the digital natives and others who have become accustomed to contextually relevant content, McKenna-Doyle advised, credit unions should let the user experience, not the technology, drive strategy. Here’s more of what she had to say at this year’s THINK conference in New York City:

Nearly all (92 percent) of the credit union executives surveyed by CO-OP Financial Services believe digital innovation will help their cooperative acquire or attract members. Another 60 percent believe it will allow them to sell more services to members. The business case for digital transformation is there; the trick is understanding exactly what it means and how to move toward achieving it.

To enable credit unions’ pursuit of the answers to these questions, CO-OP developed a rich resource, “Digital Transformation: Results of a Survey of Credit Union Management.” The report combines credit union executive insight with guidance on the strategic mind-shift required of the movement’s leaders.