Professional sports teams work year-round to play at the top of their game and win championships, but success is often worth little without the support of fans. Sales from tickets, merchandise, events and concessions all contribute to building a financially stable franchise that can entertain fans for generations.
The Milwaukee Bucks has played for NBA fans in Milwaukee since 1968. Over the team’s history, the way fans interact with the game has changed dramatically. Today, fans expect to buy tickets online, browse through merchandise in digital shops and check scores and other team details on their mobile app. The growing digital landscape presented new opportunities for Bucks’ marketing and sales teams to use digital channels to effectively reach fans, nurture leads and grow revenue.
Ben Conrad, senior director of database marketing, witnessed the digital changes firsthand. “When I first started with the Bucks 22 years ago, email marketing was in its infancy. Now it’s a critical part of our sales pipeline. We need to look at how we use forms, web automation, customer databases and other technologies to build a strong lead pipeline. Marketo Engage empowers us to engage fans with unique experiences at scale.”
Winning over fans with digital campaigns
One critical part of the Bucks’ marketing strategy is creating engaging customer journeys to find and develop qualified leads. Using Marketo Engage, Conrad and his small team can quickly create tailored forms that allow fans to sign up for newsletters, enter contests or request more information about season tickets. The customised forms are much more dynamic than generic ones, resulting in higher completion rates and more information for the customer database. When coupled with web automation and intuitive segmentation tools, Marketo Engage quickly became the backbone of marketing operations.
Integration between Marketo Engage and Microsoft Dynamics 365 further supports marketing efforts. Any interactions that the customer has with a Marketo Engage campaign are pushed into Microsoft Dynamics 365, allowing both marketers and sales reps to quickly build a clearer understanding of each individual customer. Marketers can use this information in Microsoft Dynamics 365 to automatically trigger email campaigns that guide fans down the sales funnel.
The Bucks used this tight integration between solutions to power the highly successful Hot Leads programme. If a fan visits a page about season tickets but does not complete the form to request more information, an opportunity is created in Microsoft Dynamics 365. This triggers an alert for an immediate follow-up from a sales rep.
“Using the integration between Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Marketo Engage, the Hot Leads programme allows us to actively keep in touch to fans during a critical window of interest,” says Conrad. “We turned many of these fans into solid leads that accounted for 10% of full season ticket revenue.”