dotdigital Summit 2019: an interview with Adam Baylis

Thriving in the complexity of the modern world sounds impossible. Creating genuine and meaningful engagements with your customers even more so. But that doesn’t have to be the case.
Adam Baylis

At the dotdigital Summit 2019, we’ll be hosting breakout sessions hearing from Marketers who are blowing us away with their outstanding customer engagements, including Adam Baylis, Group CRM & Insights Manager at The Jockey Club.

We sat down with Adam to get an exclusive insight into how they’re listening to customers and talking to them on channels that resonate.

Adam, can you give us some background about The Jockey Club and your role?

The Jockey Club, established in 1750, stages thrilling sporting occasions including the Randox Health Grand National, The Cheltenham Festival presented by Magners and The Investec Derby.

As one of the UK’s leading leisure companies we also play host to some of the biggest names in music at our The Jockey Club Live events. This year we’re looking forward to welcoming the likes of Madness, Jess Glynne and – rather appropriately – dotdigital Summit headline speaker, Nile Rodgers.

My role as Group CRM & Insights Manager sits within the wider Group Marketing team at The Jockey Club. We support the marketing teams in each of the four ‘regions’ that encompass our 15 racecourses.

What has been your biggest challenge over the past year?

Outdoor events are a massive part of the tourism, hospitality and leisure industry. Going to the races is usually a big part of that for a lot of people. It’s a chance to get outside, get some sunshine and generally have some fun.

But, with the never-ending heatwave last year, and the unexpected success of the England football team in the FIFA World Cup, we found ourselves facing some stiff competition for people’s time.

This was a challenge for the whole of the tourism, hospitality and leisure industry, not just us at The Jockey Club.

The knock-on effect of this was that, as summer drew to a close, we had to discover new ways to connect and engage with our customers again.

How did you go about overcoming this challenge?

With 15 courses around the country, we needed to make sure we weren’t adopting a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. We needed to apply our group tone-of-voice in an appropriate manner in order to reconnect with our audience, particularly the local communities near to our courses.  

This is especially important for us, because in a single region, like the North-West, we have three courses – Aintree, Carlisle and Haydock – which are all about three hours apart. There isn’t as big an overlap among their audiences as we see at some of our London courses – so maintaining strong relationships with our local communities is vital.

We knew we needed to find a new, powerful channel that could deliver close and personal messages.

What do you think customers will gain from your talk?

I hope people leave my talk excited to try the new channels that are ready and waiting for marketers to tap into.

I think it’s really important that we try and experiment with different channels to discover what works for different audiences.

With the complexity of the modern world there is a vital need for marketers to be nimble. We’re never talking to one single audience. Every audience has groups within it that will respond in different ways to different channels. For example, for us, the audiences at Haydock racecourse responded really strongly to SMS.

If someone’s main touchpoint with your brand is through your app, then speak to them on your app. If they interact with your SMS, talk to them there.

We’ve worked hard to understand our audiences and discover more effective and dynamic ways to engage them and I hope people leave my session planning to do the same.

What are your plans for the future?

We go into everything we do open to every opportunity.

One thing that we will continue to be committed to is understanding what works for audiences. Today, there are so many channels, that connections are made on an individual level. What channels work best can’t be narrowed down to demographics or age ranges, and this is what we plan to explore in the future.

At this point, it is impossible to get away from mobile messaging. It’s just sitting there, in the customers pocket. We need to figure out which channels work and target those segments accordingly. Whether that’s SMS, WhatsApp, or push, it’s all about going where the customer wants you.


Join Adam Baylis for his breakout session at the dotdigital Summit on Wednesday 20 March. Not got your tickets yet? Get them today.

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