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SBJ/October 24-30, 2011/Opinion
How to revolutionize team communications with ticket buyers
Published October 24, 2011, Page 14
The foundation for one-to-one marketing is a powerful CRM system that captures every interaction between a fan and the team. This creates a deeper understanding of each fan by tracking not only past purchases, attendance patterns and ticket usage, but also personal preferences like merchandise, food and beverage consumption, the fan’s favorite player, and more. Adding layers of information into their database, and extracting it with a CRM system, enables teams to define how to communicate with each fan through a unique, tailored message and therefore opens unmatched new revenue opportunities.
Social media is a rapidly evolving technology that is ripe with opportunity for teams to engage on a personal level with fans and leverage the power of Facebook to connect with fans and sell tickets. Advanced applications such as fan-gating, which requires a fan to “like” a Facebook page to unlock a ticket presale or unique content, are proving the power of social commerce. A great example of a thought-leading institution using this technology is the University of Michigan. It created a Michigan Football fan-gate offer that required its fans to “like” a certain page to unlock a ticket presale code, which tracked more than $74,000 in ticket sales in a single day.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg reveals changes to Facebook that can affect how fans interact with teams.
Now imagine combining retargeting campaigns with social media and mobile marketing to extend your message and sell more tickets. For example, a team might create a social media offer, which drives fans to the team’s website to purchase tickets. Subsequently, if some fans visit the page but do not purchase tickets, they would be retargeted with an offer to buy tickets to the next game. Conversely, if the fan makes a purchase, that person is then able to share the event with friends via a Facebook Connect module on the order confirmation page. Friends who purchase tickets then attend the event together and “check in” on Facebook via smartphone, which has the team’s Facebook app on it, and the event is recorded on each person’s timeline.
I also think there is a meaningful opportunity to leverage one-to-one marketing with season-ticket holders at the time they are renewing their seats. Innovative teams are now customizing their renewal experience with PURLs, or personalized URLs, during the season-ticket renewal process. This is a powerful way to convert season-ticket holders and tailor messaging to each fan. The Philadelphia Flyers this past season created a personalized 3-D video tailored for each season-ticket holder that highlights the benefits of renewing their tickets. To complement the personalized website, the team delivered automated, personalized email campaigns based on action or inaction with the season-ticket campaign. The Flyers campaign achieved a 93 percent conversion rate from season-ticket holders who viewed their personalized website.
Now let’s take this concept a step further. In the future, I imagine teams will leverage one-to-one marketing strategies to create personalized landing pages for all fans based on their profiles, preferences or interactions with the team. The page could include customized offers to renew, buy a package, or purchase single tickets bundled with merchandise. These offers would be based on purchase history, preferences and engagement with the team’s Facebook application. Subsequent dynamic multichannel marketing messages could also then be delivered via email, social media, mobile, or online advertising, tailored specifically to fit the fan’s profile.
It’s an exciting time for those in sports business. Organizations able to leverage new technologies to communicate on a one-to-one basis with their fans will increase customer satisfaction and, by virtue of that, earn more revenue per fan. When fans win, teams win.
Dave Butler (DButler@paciolan.com) is CEO of Paciolan.