The best sports organizations in the industry now operate entertainment businesses, and the first priority is to give the fans what they want – while simultaneously growing revenue and innovating. Today however, the needs and wants of consumers are constantly evolving.
Front Office Sports sat down with three team representatives from the Dallas Cowboys (Rob Sender), Indiana Pacers (Sydney Lesko) and Texas Rangers (Jake Radelet) to discuss how each of their organizations are using technology to gain meaningful insights on their fans, personalize the digital experience, automate marketing programs and improve the overall fan experience.
On the biggest business challenges each organization faced following the pandemic (2:53)
Rob: “We look at this as an entertainment business. The product on the field…we like to just say, ‘That’s the coaches and that side of the front office, let’s just focus on everything else.’ So one of the biggest challenges for us is it’s a year-round schedule. Outside of the actual football season, we immediately move into the combine, draft planning and very quickly it’s training camp, new players, free agency and all of those things. So we’re constantly battling the mini entertainment opportunities, because we do a lot of those off-season programs live…Yes, football is our bread and butter – that’s who we are traditionally. But we stand to bring in new generations of fans in so many other ways.”
On the importance of personalizing marketing efforts as it relates to the overall fan experience (7:20)
Jake: “I’ll give you a Salesforce example here. We recently began using service cloud to connect our sales and support organizations like we never had before. So one of our primary support channels for our fans is through emails to our guest services department. In the past, these support interactions were pretty siloed in guest services. They would handle them one at a time, but they didn’t really have any history or even knew who they were speaking with. So we began bringing those emails into Salesforce using service cloud, and we were able to really get a better idea of who we’re working with. For our season ticket members, we’re able to connect them directly with their account executive over on the sales team. So that’s really a level of visibility and service-level personalization in those one-to-one interactions that we never had before.”
On how the Customer Data Platform [CDP] creates a connected experience for fans and streamlines marketing efforts (25:45)
Sydney: “One of the products that we’re really excited about to improve the fan experience is CDP. We got CDP with Salesforce again last year, and CDP really allows for our customers to have a connected experience as they move through their channels. It provides that one environment in real time where all that information is there. The information that we have from Ticketmaster for people that purchase games now flows into marketing cloud, and I’m able to automate all of our ‘Know Before You Go’ emails now. These emails became really important for us during the pandemic because there were rules and regulations changing all the time. Utilizing CDP and those files that we have imported, I have an entire automation that’s set up to run the entire season and it will trigger an email to be sent to people that have tickets today, if today is a game date. So I’m really excited about that because half my job in the past was sending ‘Know Before You Go’ emails and game attendee emails. Now, I just have to hit launch as the season gets closer and then I’ll never have to touch it again until the season is over. That’s all possible because of the CDP and the connected data experience for our customers.”