InCrowd Welcomes John Beale as CFO

After an incredibly successful 18 months, InCrowd continues to drive forward and expand its digital and data offering in international markets by appointing John Beale as it’s new CFO. John will be stepping into the role with the retirement of current incumbent David Johnson, who has been instrumental in the rapid expansion of InCrowd as a business in its 6 years.

With a proven ability in implementing corporate control and commercial flexibility in high growth technology markets, John has been part of a senior management team that led the development of a multi geographical £200m digital content sales organisation from VC, to AIM and subsequent sale. John specifically oversaw the finance function as well as data compliance and cyber security, GDPR and development of payment fraud IP via the use of deep data technologies.

John’s more recent experience of engaging legacy retail consumers with the world of recurring digital content purchasing in order to drive long term, profitable revenue streams stands him in good stead for the role, bringing a new set of experiences and technological understanding that will be paramount in the next phase of business growth for InCrowd as the company progresses its data capture and monetisation model.

“John brings some great technology sector experience to the business as we lay the foundations for the next phase of growth,” says InCrowd CEO Aidan Cooney. “I am delighted that he has agreed to join us on our journey.”

Outside of work John has always been a keen sportsman, playing a lot of football, cricket and running the odd half marathon over the years and in the post ‘kids era’ running local teams in the community across many sports.

“I am really looking forward to my journey at InCrowd and aligning my true love for sport, both as a participant and a fan, with my experience in helping to build high growth technology and specifically data services enterprises” John says.

“Aligning these two passions makes this a really exciting proposition for me. What is truly exciting is to be part of a technology business that has already proven the value of it’s core proposition with multiple key global clients and partners, combined with the obvious need across all walks of life for successful, collaborative digital transformation to optimise customer experiences. I am really looking forward to joining the InCrowd team and being part of the continued growth story!!”

About John Beale
John has over 10 years of experience in the IT Managed Services and Telecoms sectors, working specifically in growing entrepreneurial businesses undergoing both organic and inorganic change. As an ACMA qualified accountant and graduate in Mathematics with Economics, John has held the position as CFO of Evoxus, Telinet and niu-solutions in VC backed, leveraged environments focusing specifically on understanding and delivering the corporate control and commercial understanding requirements of companies in high growth technology markets. John joined Mi-Pay in February 2011 as CFO and now joins InCrowd in a period of exceptional growth.

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InCrowd Welcomes Simon Thomas as Chairman

With significant growth in the UK and International markets in the last three years, InCrowd has appointed Simon Thomas, as Chairman of its Board of Directors. A leader in the evolution of commercial sports marketing during his time at TEAM Marketing, FIFA and Fox, Thomas will guide the Board and shareholders, whilst offering strategic advice and support to the senior management team.

“We are absolutely thrilled that Simon has agreed to join InCrowd as Chairman. His appointment adds to a number of new senior executive appointments we have made in the past year. The level of experience that Simon brings both in terms of his standing in the industry and as a specialist in organisational transformation and development, should turbo-charge our next phase of growth across multiple new territories .”

Thomas adds, “I have great respect for Aidan; as the founder of Opta Sports, he has a great track record and enormous experience in this area. At InCrowd he has built a strong team and the progression of the business in just 6 years is impressive. Product innovation to crack the digital challenge is paramount, along with client success and the creation of strong and trusted relationships. It’s an exciting era for the business and I’m very happy to join the team.”

Over the last 18 months, sport has seen a distinct acceleration in its digital transformation, as organisations realise the importance of truly knowing, connecting and engaging with fans on a deeper and personalised level through better use of first party data and premium fan facing platforms.

In response to this, InCrowd chose to focus on product development, ideating, building and delivering new and innovative solutions to respond to the rapidly changing requirements of clients and their commercial partners. Over the last 2 years, InCrowd has almost doubled in size to over one hundred team members, with 65% of the workforce focussed on R&D.

At the heart of InCrowd’s product innovation is their Customer Data and Experience Platform (CDXP), Bridge, a “one stop shop” for querying and using customer data to create personalised fan experiences across digital platforms via a best in class headless CMS and direct to fan content, messaging and engagement tools, all analysed across a range of tailored reporting suites.

“The very foundation of our business lies in our belief that fans are your greatest asset and that creating great digital experiences through high-quality fan facing platforms, data driven content & messaging and innovative activations is the most effective way to drive swift ROI.” says Cooney. “We empower clients to be bold in their digital and data transformations and support them fully at every stage of their journey. These are the organisations that are now reaping the rewards and we’re excited to help others reach their full potential.”

Thomas agrees;

“We are in an era of digital disruption, and clearly the industry is moving towards greater and more effective use of data. InCrowd are market leaders in this space. Everyone’s talking about the need to connect directly with fans and consumers, but at the moment it seems to be more talk than action. InCrowd are actually making things happen, facilitating monumental digital changes for their clients and demonstrating tangible returns, which is one of the things that sets them apart.”

About Simon Thomas
A sports industry veteran, Simon will take on the role of Chairman alongside his role of Partner at Colgan Bauer. An influential boutique firm, Colgan Bauer offers international sports strategy consultancy for many of the world’s top governing bodies, rights holders and investors. Prior to this, Simon was Chief Commercial Officer at FIFA, where he extensively restructured the digital and commercial teams. His further experience includes 15 years at TEAM Marketing, UEFA’s commercial agency for the development of UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League competitions in various roles culminating in Chief Executive Officer; and 3 years as EVP Global Sport and Content Sales at Fox where he acted on rights acquisitions for Fox Sports internationally and established a global content sales team selling entertainment, factual and sports content. Simon also established his own advisory agency, Talisman Sport & Media.

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Data segmentation & planning – achieve your goals

Everyone is talking a good game about data. Single customer views, segmentation, ROI, buzzword after buzzword and it appears most rights holders and brands know what they want to achieve in this space. However the reality is that the majority are not really set-up to deliver their ambition. I’ve witnessed this time and time again, hearing very forward-thinking audience owners explaining what they are trying to achieve, and then continuing on to admit the struggles they have, or the reality simply not living up to their original ambition. If this story feels familiar, then don’t worry, you’re not alone.

I wanted to share some thoughts on how audience owners can choose a sensible route on the road to successful data strategies and segmented communications. I’ve broken this into five actions.

ONE – Be realistic with your internal capabilities & find efficient solutions.

We could all keep slicing and dicing our data into segments, by age, by gender, by interest, by motivation and so on. But the reality is that each organisation is going to end up with a communication and content plan that suddenly has significantly more stories, emails and posts to create, schedule and distribute; something that clearly requires resource to activate. Does your organisation have people sitting around twiddling their thumbs? I expect not.

The emergence of AI technologies is going to be central to this moving forward, but we will still need to create variations of each content piece. Firstly we need to be realistic with the number segments we create and secondly, look for more efficient means of communication and content creation. This is where short form communication such as mobile push notification is a really attractive route if your organisation or brand has a mobile app. Each identified segment can receive an individual push, with only 10-20 words needing to be written for each, to drive maximum click-through to your promotion/offer.

TWO – Create a commercial plan for your data.

Of course your plans are going to change over time as you begin to have new business goals, or want to / start to work with new partners or advertisers. However, if you can create a data strategy, with a strong base of what you’re trying to achieve, you will be able to ensure your data architecture and tracking is set-up to collect the most commercially useful data. So put simply know what you are collecting, not collecting, and why!

THREE – Understand the channels through which you plan to communicate.

Yes, I’m going to mention GDPR (sorry), but we need to make sure when we are collecting data that we are able to use this data in all the ways in which we want to. It’s time to get the crystal ball out with this one.

FOUR – Don’t segment for segmentation sake.

You need to understand which segments are actually going to drive a different (and useful) response for you and your partners. This is where you might want to bow to the data and research experts, perhaps working with a third party agency to support your data intelligence. Also, using digital/social marketing as a marketing research tool is great here. Running some low-cost digital adverts to different audience sets, and testing against different messaging and images, is a quickfire way to see how different segments respond to your messaging, and whether it’s worth segmenting in this way moving forward.

FIVE – Make sure you have the right information.

Too many audience owners simply don’t have enough depth of data about their customers/fans to truly make a difference through segmentation. Understanding transactional and demographic information is useful. However, understanding what interests, motivates and engages your audience base starts to make things really interesting. Your segmentation will start to make more sense and deliver results.


At InCrowd we have expertise in all of the above. What I find most exciting is where we can help our clients with the fifth action and their key audience – their fans. InCrowd create audience engagement tools, primarily through mobile applications and digital integrations. These help sports organisations and brands gather data about each individual fan. Then, we can support them in developing a strategy to commercialise this data in a way that requires a pretty light amount of resource.

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