Friday, October 24, 2008
Sports & Entertainment Franchises Turning To Marketing Automation To Drive Revenue
The majority of early adopters of marketing automation solutions have been in the high tech sector, where long sales cycles drove a need for insights and efficiency. Recently, other verticals are emerging with different business challenges and revenue hurdles they are looking to address by automating campaigns and providing better intelligence to their sales teams.
One of those unique verticals of is the sports & entertainment category, where sales marketing teams are responsible for filling the seats for NBA, NHL games as well concerts and other entertainment events (an estimated 80% of NBA teams also own the local arena) are increasingly turning to multi-channel marketing to drive revenue.
Executives from Comcast-Spectator (owners of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers and the Wachovia Center) and Maloof Sports & Entertainment (owners of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, WNBA’s Sacramento Monarchs and the Arco Arena) recently spoke on panels at the Eloqua Experience user conference and shared some of the hurdles they have addressed with Eloqua’s marketing automation tool kit.
Contrary to high tech and other industries where considered purchases result in lengthy sales cycles, sports & entertainment franchises are faced with the limited shelf life associated with each of the games, concerts and family shows on their calendar. “Perishability is a huge factor for us because our products get ripe faster than bananas,” explained Dennis Nelson, Director of New Media for Comcast-Spectacor. “We literally have a new product to sell every 2 days so we can’t afford to miss sales opportunities.”
Consistent with other industries, sports teams have increasingly turned to email marketing as a way to communicate with corporate clients, season ticket holders as well as single game prospects. After implementing Salesforce.com to automate the efforts of their sales team, Mark Dimaurizio, Vice President of Technology Solutions at Comcast-Spectacor, said the company was looking for a solution that would help track website visits, form submissions and also manage a high volume of email campaigns.
After deploying Eloqua’s marketing automation solutions last year, Dimaurizio said the company has established business rules for the reps to follow up with prospects, and has seen an immediate payoff. “Our sales reps love the new system because they are getting leads that are qualified and timely,” he said.
In addition to utilizing Eloqua to automate email campaigns and track web activity, Dimaurizio added Comcast-Spectactor has had great success by employing Eloqua’s online chat functionality on its sites. “By providing fans with the option of pressing a button to chat with a representative we’ve closed quite a few sales. We a put a lot of different messages out in front of people but the online chat give us a whole new way of communicating.”
Overall, the marketing automation tools have helped to drive a 12% increase in season ticket renewals for both the 76ers and the Flyers, and Comcast-Spectacor was recently recognized for its efforts as the winner of the Markies Award for Multichannel Campaigns.
Although newer to the marketing automation space, Maloof Sports & Entertainment has plans to address similar pain points. After the Sacramento Kings failed to sell out for the first time in almost a decade last year, Kyle Eichman, Director of Relationship Marketing, said the company decided to employ Eloqua’s marketing automation tools to strengthen its online marketing. “We are looking to get a better handle on our email databases and also utilize personal landing pages to drive sales of single events, season ticket renewals and also for customer service functions,” Eichman said. “Marketing automation and relationship marketing really supports our three over-arching goals of increasing revenue, decreasing costs and ultimately delighting the fan.”