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Feb 18, 2020
(No time to read the full article? Check out the Key Takeaways at the bottom.)
In part 2 of our customer journeys series, we talked about the importance of stitching journeys together and turning unknown digital consumers into known fans. This process benefits not only analytics departments but marketing and sales teams as well since by better understanding not only more about each fan but better identifying where they are in their purchase journey, Marketing teams can better qualify which leads are ready for Sales to begin their directed outreach to. In theory, this all makes sense however in the fast-paced world of sports & entertainment, how do you action on these insights and use it in your day-to-day?
Any live audience business, especially those in sports & entertainment, face real-time challenges unlike any other industry. Jam packed seasons and game days that wait for no one, these industry professionals more often than not lack the time and the resources to capitalize on all the opportunities in front of them. So why focus on customer journeys, and if you do focus on them, how can you action on this data in a way that keeps up with the daily rush?
Customer journeys are meant to inform your business and marketing strategy, not as a daily task reminder. Ultimately, you’re trying to move fans through the sales funnel in the most efficient but personalized way possible. Via customer journey mapping, you know what your fans are interacting with and how they’re interacting; you’ve also pulled out key patterns in your data or utilized a Customer Data Platform (CDP) to automate and refine those patterns for you (which we highly recommend). Now, let’s put these powerful learnings to work.
Here are 3 ways that you can use your customer journeys today, to help maximize fan affinity and customer lifetime value:
Analytics teams can identify problems in the sales cycle, especially as they relate to individual tickets. How can processes be streamlined and made to be more user friendly? Analytics are the problem-solvers and customer journeys can help them get to the root cause of the problem faster. For example, maybe 60% of fans who click on a digital ad that sends them to the team’s landing page for playoffs never go on to convert (i.e. purchase a ticket). It’s up to Analytics to work with the marketing team to figure out the attributes of the segments for which the digital ad is not resonating and for which it is, and why that is. Maybe it’s as simple as the call-to-action (CTA) button to purchase tickets isn’t prominent enough but it could be that the digital ad promotes affordable tickets but the landing page focuses more on the premium offerings or that the steps to purchase have too much friction on mobile. What’s hindering a fan’s willingness to take the final step to conversion, and where else in their journey are they seeing the messaging that resonates most with them for the tickets or products that suit them?
By identifying patterns in your fans’ behaviors, you’ll be able to identify areas in your sales funnel that are broken. Are a large number of fans dropped off at a specific stage in the sales process? Investigate the problem and find a way to streamline the process. Is there a channel that used to yield high engagement and now produces almost no interactions? Your fans’ behavior and preferences have shifted, it’s time to investigate if another channel has seen a high growth.
By understanding customer segments related to their journeys sports organizations can better discern which fans are more likely to purchase via a digital ad, email marketing, or text message, for example, and when different fan segments purchase products or packages. One segment may be interested in flash ticket sales in the cheap seats when they see an ad two days before a game, versus those who are looking for premium experiences (think suites, VIP add-ons, all-you-can-eat options, and loaded value tickets) and prefer an email which expresses the value add of this type of premium experience a week or more before the game. Knowing preferences like this can help organizations tailor messaging and the timing and placement of the messaging appropriately for current offerings while also developing new, creative experiences that will satisfy a specific segment.
With journeys, you can better segment your fans based on more than just transactional or demographic data. It allows you to understand the best channels to engage different types of fans and what messaging will likely resonate the most (i.e. you’d want to stop reaching out to a segment via a certain channel if it’s no longer effective). This is often referred to as interest data as it helps identify the content and messaging (interests of a fan) that is more likely to draw consumers in to learn more – be it a ticket, a special event offer, or a unique piece of merchandise. These insights allow you to be more selective in the type of offer you send to a segment and the ideal timing and channel you send it through. From a brand perspective, better understanding your different fan segments can also help you refine your brand story, how you tell it (or show it), when you show it, what matters when you show it, and how it connects your community. How do you tell your story best, to different fans?
It’s not all about CTAs and ‘selling’. You need to tell your brand story, build awareness and likeness, and when the time is right, offer an experience that can’t be passed up. In that vein, knowing when is the right time to reach out with a sales message is incredibly important. By tracking the journeys of your thousands of fans, you can see how long brand building generally takes before a non-buyer becomes a single-game buyer or the interactions a single-game buyer needs to have before considering a mini-pack. Knowing these patterns helps provide the right kinds of leads to sales when the consumer is open and ready for them.
Organizations that understand their fans’ journeys generally have lower ad spends due to their increased targeting and hyper-focus on getting the messaging right, at the right time. These teams are also seeing overall higher engagement across ad platforms and email outreaches.
In order to avoid going down the proverbial rabbit hole, we recommend that customer journeys be used to inform your strategy Watching your sales funnel or buying journeys is something you should do continuously especially when you are trying to move tickets for specific events. Understanding how your fans are reacting to your messaging and moving through the funnel can make all the difference in meeting your event targets and missing them. If a campaign that should’ve reached your targeted audience on a specific channel yields almost zero engagements or conversions, timely investigation can get your campaigns back on track. When it comes to strategy, on the other hand, patterns are something that develop over time and although fan behaviors change, they don’t change overnight. We recommend reviewing these patterns quarterly to bi-annually as an exercise with your team. It’s important for the various members of your organization, across departments, to see how patterns or preferences are shifting to increase understanding of the most efficient path to conversion, not just being given a report at set times in the year. It is best to review your customer journeys prior to defining your outreach strategies for different products (i.e. before single-game and new package sales cycles) and again at the end of the year to holistically review how your brand is connecting with fans.
True customer journey identification and understanding creates more thoughtful and effective outreaches and campaigns. Just like anything else, customer journeys are not a silver bullet, but an important piece of your organization’s strategy that will ultimately help you connect with your fans on a more personal level and find new ones.
Customer journeys are for informing your strategy. Patterns take time to emerge and consumer behaviors don’t change in a single day. Review customer journeys with your team quarterly to bi-annually.
Identify a problem in your sales funnel and fix it. Identify areas of high drop offs and fix friction points.
Create more refined personas/segments. Understand how best to connect with your fans and tell your brand’s story in a way that resonates with them best.
Provide the right kinds of leads. Use journeys to know when a fan is ready to make a purchase and when they’re not.
Want to learn more about how we’re powering these journeys for sports & entertainment organizations, reach out to us now!