It’s a question that’s relevant to all areas of marketing. Knowing who your brand’s fans are is essential to effective communication, but sports fans are a particularly tricky group to market to.
What makes it so challenging is that sports supporters come from all demographics, geographics, and psychographics. Segmenting a sports audience is hard, purely because sport is one of the great levelers. So, when fans are anywhere and everywhere, what’s the best way to reach them?
Well, technology has given us another great leveler. A device that’s predicted to reach over 93% penetration in the UK by 2025: the smartphone. The proliferation of smartphones has meant that the number of ways you can communicate with your supporters has increased exponentially. That’s made it easier to converse with fans but has also made the job of a sports marketer much more complicated.
The sheer wealth of data available from mobile devices means that personalizing your messages to fans is relatively simple. It’s organizing the data that’s the hard part.
Creating Lifelong Supporters
Fan engagement has become a hot topic in recent years. More than ever, fans want to feel part of a club and have their voices heard, and it’s become easier than ever for them to do that by means of social media and group messaging channels. Feeling affinity and loyalty to a club is also important for the club itself. Without an army of loyal and engaged supporters; ticket sales, sponsorship opportunities, and merchandise revenue can be lost, impacting the bottom line, and putting the club’s future at risk.
It’s therefore essential to turn casual spectators into lifelong fans. The kind of supporters that don’t mind travelling on a weekly basis to attend games and who dig deep to show their support for the team.
The sports marketing industry is waking up to the vast potential that data presents to engage with fans. And things move fast. Sports fans are subjected to a daily armada of alerts and messages from other brands, eager to unlock their wallets.
Ticketing as the Holy Grail
But let's take a step back. Because how do you even access this data as a sports marketer?
You probably already have the key in your hands.
Sports clubs organize numerous events every year. You can see each match as a stand-alone event, with ticket sales for each event. For the supporter, this is a simple transaction, but for you, it offers a treasure trove of data. Add to that the data from merchandise sales and season tickets and count out your profit. Unfortunately, this data is often overlooked and seen as a complicated and time-consuming process.
With our ticketing software, you can easily choose what data you want from your supporters before they can buy a ticket. This information is then automatically loaded into the Customer Data Platform (CDP), so you have a centralized repository for all your data.
Make It Personal
Just collecting data isn’t enough. You may know who your supporters are, but to get through to them you need more. Fans are being spammed with ads all day, especially on social media. To stand out, you need a personalized message. You can easily send this via Mobile Marketing Cloud with the beating heart: the CDP. With Mobile Marketing Cloud you manage your supporter profiles and send automated, personalized, and attractive content.
“Probably more than any other type of brand, sports clubs enjoy a deep-seated affinity with their supporters. Rewarding that emotional and financial support is so important to keep your supporters engaged. That doesn’t mean targeting them with blanket, faceless marketing messages. That means creating personalized experiences that strengthen the emotional connection they have with your brand, and mastering your data is the key to delivering on that.” – Sam Windridge, Account Manager Sports CM.com
An essential part of this puzzle is to discover the ways in which supporters prefer to communicate. Connect with them through the platforms they use most. One prefers e-mail, while the other is open to any form of mobile communication. For example, updates via WhatsApp Business or SMS.
In addition, it is important to only send relevant communication. Sports clubs often send one monthly newsletter with general information to their entire database.
A missed opportunity.
One supporter might be waiting for general communication, while the other would like to be involved much more frequently.
Get Your Data in Order
So, how do you make it all work? How do you sift through the masses of data you have on your fans to make sure you’re reaching them –
in the right way,
with the right message,
on the right platform?
With the CDP
The CDP is the key to organizing data from multiple sources and getting a 360 view of the ways your fans are engaging with you. From there, you can segment it in a meaningful way and use it to create personalized campaigns that engage your supporters and target them with the things they care about most. For example, consider a:
Segment of all your season ticket holders during the renewal period. They receive a message saying “Hi [first name], we are looking forward to a great new season. Will we see you there again?”.
Segment of all supporters attending match X. They will receive an email on matchday with relevant information, for example, the line-up of the team.
Segment of all supporters who visited the online merchandise store but did not place an order. They will receive a reminder with a personal discount code.
One Provider from Start to Finish
Managing different personal communication systems is often a time-consuming process. That’s why it’s important to choose a partner that can meet all your needs from one platform. For sports clubs, ticketing is often the starting point, but at CM.com this is not where it ends. You can easily link ticketing with Mobile Marketing Cloud, CM.com's marketing automation tooling. This includes the CDP but also contains many tools that allow you to communicate more effectively with your supporters. It brings all your favorite channels together in a user-friendly dashboard, such as SMS, WhatsApp, and e-mail.