5 Best Practices for Customer Journey Mapping in Sports & Entertainment


Mar 05, 2020


Today’s fans expect much more personalization and customized experiences. They interact with teams and brands across multiple channels, over multiple visits, and at a more accelerated rate than ever before. To truly understand your fans and provide the high-quality, consistent experience they expect at every touchpoint, organizations must be able to connect the dots in how fans interact with them. Organizations now need to do that across the increasingly complex mixture of interactions that occur on a daily basis and across multiple departments.

Here are five best practices to consider when building out customer journeys:

1. Overlay Your Data

We know that a single source of data is never enough – that’s why so many teams are using data warehouses, data lakes, and more recently transitioning to customer data platforms. But what information do you really need to connect in order to get a great start on mapping out your customer journeys? Here’s a few we recommend. 

Data checklist for successful customer journey mapping:

Ticketing data (primary, secondary, attendance)

Website pixels and cookies* 

Marketing Automation (learn 3 things you can do to make email marketing data better)

Digital advertising

✔ CRM (learn 3 things you can do to make your CRM data better)

✔ Fan interest data such as social and surveys

✔ Mobile App

✔ E-commerce

✔ 50/50

✔ Community events attendance

✔ Etc.

*it’s imperative that these pixels are set up correctly to gain adequate insight

At a minimum, the first four data sources should be automated into a powerful tool to begin analyzing your fans’ journeys. These data sources are all interconnected in that they each give you an important piece of the puzzle about your fans’ behaviors. Ticketing data provides you with the value they place on the game in relation to their spend, usage, and pricing on the secondary market. Website pixels and cookie tracking give you anonymized touch point data which can identify touch points for a specific fan once that fan has provided more concrete identifiers such as email address, name, etc.  from filling out a form or making a purchase. Marketing Automation adds valuable engagement insights and themes that your fans are interested in, while digital advertising can inform you about channel affinities and messaging effectiveness. Manually creating reports of this nature isn’t impossible, but you significantly increase the risk of failure and the time to execute on the insights that can be uncovered. To get the most value, the most innovative organizations use tools to automate the process which frees up their technical talent to do more in-depth investigation into insights. 

2. Democratization of Data

This is a fancy way of saying – SHARE! It’s vital that data and customer journeys are shared across departments. Digital and content teams need to know which types of fans view different types of content, marketing teams need to understand channel affinities and campaign effectiveness, sales teams need to understand when it’s best for them to connect directly with a fan to move them into a package or sell group tickets, community engagement teams benefit from understanding where their efforts fit into the mix, and analytics teams need to help find ways to optimize journeys and further analyze drop off points. Organizations as a whole need to shift their thinking from interactions to journeys.

3. Know the Paths Your Different Fans Take

Identifying which paths to conversion different groups of fans are likely to take starts with great segmentation. Knowing which groups of fans are likely to take different steps before making a purchase or taking an action. What are the fastest and slowest paths to conversion? Identifying those and pinpointing where successes or friction points occur can help organizations make the adjustments needed to provide fans with their optimal  path to purchase.

4. Go Beyond Purchase Touch Points

Understanding the steps directly tied to a purchase are important (i.e. clicked on an ad, went to website to view schedule, clicked through to purchase a ticket). However, understanding how a potential fan gets into the purchase path and understanding what they do after making a purchase is also incredibly important. Understanding what happens after a fan makes a purchase and continue on their journey can allow organizations to better understand more about their fans and provide opportunities to measure fan affinity.

Pre-Ticket Purchase Touch Points

  • Did they check the team standings?

  • Did they like your Facebook page or follow your team on Twitter/ Instagram?

  • Did they check the secondary market for tickets?

  • How many times did they abandon a cart before making their purchase?

Post-Ticket Purchase Touch Points

  • How do they interact with email marketing efforts after attending a game?

  • What types of merchandise do first-time ticket purchasers generally buy and how soon do they make those purchases after purchasing a ticket?

  • Did they take an in-stadium survey?

  • What was the overall sentiment?

  • How long after attending a game did they return to your website? 

5. Use a Tool Anchored in Machine Learning to Track and Analyze Journeys at Scale

Collecting this data is not enough. In order to truly understand customer journeys, you need a tool dedicated to fan analytics that can uncover patterns from complex and extremely large datasets. With the fast pace of sports & entertainment, data analysis and consolidation must be automated and provide insights that can be acted upon. Customer Data Platforms are a great option because they make data accessible and easily understandable to both technical and non-technical personnel. CDPs provide analytics teams with an enriched data set for further analysis, while marketing teams and other departments can easily understand and execute on the information they need. Both departments also gain the ability to see the impact of their efforts – all in parallel. 

Customer journeys are no easy feat but will be a game changer for organizations who can do it well at scale. By better understanding your fans and their decision-making process, you’ll be able to better personalize their interactions with you, ultimately growing fan affinity and building customer lifetime value. Want to learn more about how we’re powering these journeys for sports & entertainment organizations, reach out to us now

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