Saracens & Le Havre Athletic Club improve fan engagement with personalised marketing

No longer requiring huge resource and budgets, personalised marketing tools are helping sports clubs to build stronger relationships with their fans. From match day to every day, fan engagement is now a 24/7, all year-round calendar of activity. There is huge expectation from sports fans to receive a steady stream of tailored deals, personalised brand messages and one-to-one marketing communication from the clubs they love and support.

Data is daunting

In the absence of big budgets and plenty of team resource, managing the data to create relevant personalised marketing can be a daunting task. Until recently, the ability to do this well has often been the preserve of the very few who can afford external CRM companies or enterprise solutions like Microsoft Dynamics, and have the resource in-house to manage all this. If we take our client Le Havre AC, their requirements include:

15 newsletters per month, on average

3,500 members

22,000 confirmed contacts

5 sales channels

19 matches during the season

100 types of benefits offered since July 2016

Quite some task to manage in-house. Thankfully, things are changing.  Systems like our own SecuTix Audience Management (SAM), which creates strong two-way integration with CRM systems and is simple for in-house teams to use, are helping sports clubs of all sizes to offer more personalisation.

Saracens getting close to fans

Andy Duckworth, Chief Commercial and Marketing Office at Saracens, has been using SecuTix 360° software since the start of the 2016/17 season and explains the differences it has made to personalised marketing. Saracens can now run campaigns that in the past they could not execute. One is the Allianz First Fans. This is for Saracens supporters attending their first ever game. The very next day they receive images of the day and a timebound discount code for their next match. Conversion rates are good but more importantly it adds value to the experience and shows that the club cares about their fans.

“It’s fair to say that in the past our one-to-one marketing was a simple process with limited functionality but we now have an integrated system with extensive promotional flexibility that has completely changed the way we operate.”

In-house personalisation

Without the need to go outside the organisation, Saracens can now build html emails in the tool, create static or dynamic lists of people and send out automated email campaigns.  The system can also be linked to individual promos, sending out unique single-use codes that are directly targeted to individuals. Olivier Ouf, Ticketing Manager at Le Havre AC, explains how they too are segmenting data and personalising marketing to them.

“The SecuTix Audience Management module allows us to define the segments using many different criteria: age, date of last purchase, member or not, etc and then target each sub-segment with offers and benefits that we think will interest them. This fine-tuning in terms of targeting means we can improve in both relevance and speed.”

For example, Le Havre AC can now easily identify fans who have been to a match during the current season and suggest to them that they might attend a second one. One of the big advantages of the tool is the principle of dynamic targets. When a contact meets certain criteria, they are automatically added to a target group. This allows the Club to reuse the same target from one campaign to another, with the guarantee that the target is always up-to-date. Now Le Havre AC can manage large amounts of data themselves, they now have plans to broaden their marketing activity.

Ouf explains how: “We have 22,000 contacts who have created a user account in our ticket shop since 2012. These contacts are occasional HAC customers, members or families who have bought concert tickets, together with fans who support us but have not yet made a purchase. Now we can use SecuTix to involve and engage this community through emails. The next step is to conquer other audiences, in other words to enrich our email database in order to widen the scope of our promotional activities.”

As personalisation becomes a central part of the marketing mix, sports clubs can now look to integrate ticketing with CRM technologies to build stronger relationships between their brand and fans, which in turn drives sales.

And that’s what we all want.

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