For years, the key goals of CRM in sport and leisure have been focused on the usual suspects… sales increases, loyalty, cost reduction and profit improvement.
The income target is usually expected developed from an anticipated increase in B2B and B2C spend from improved data driven targeted sales and marketing. These objectives are crucial and the benefits in these areas will form the major part of the development of the initial CRM programme business case.
However, one often overlooked benefit is sponsorship and partnership income increases. This factor has the potential to become an even greater source of return than those previously mentioned.
For many years, any sponsorship deal with a rights holder was regarded pretty much as a charitable donation. The name on the shirt became the end in itself and there was little of what is now known as ‘activation’ or measurement.
As sport, especially football, has evolved commercially in the past 15 years, so has the size of the sponsorship deals that have been achieved. With this has brought greater demands from partners in terms of the measurement of the return on investment from rights holder. The result has been a major increase in recruitment of sponsorship activation personnel and a greater increase in these activities.
This expected return on investment has now extended into the club’s CRM & Data strategy. Potential sponsors are keen to know that not only will they achieve the traditional objectives of media awareness but that the potential audience of customers is well managed, understood and has the ability to be engaged with. Simply put, the more quality data a rights holder has then greater the value which could be derived from the deal. Rumours abound in the industry that 2 major Premiership clubs were both vying for the same sponsor and the ‘winning’ club were chosen simply because their CRM database was larger than the other.
Another story emerged this year that CRM & Data played a major part in the £150m deal that Arsenal secured with Emirates.
So, with possible large sums of money involved in increased deals and the ever growing expectations of partners and sponsors, how can a sports rights holder or club ensure that their CRM & Data strategy supports the delivery of greater value from their future deals? Here are 6 ways to get you started:
1. Grow the data
Use measurement to help increase the focus within the business to drive the quantity of customers within the database. Include data measures as a KPI within the business along with targets for all key staff which include incentives. Our experience is that this will immediately drive a change in behaviour and an increase in data quantity. If you don’t measure it, staff will not believe you think it’s important!
2. Basic profiling ability
Focus on building contact and transactional data initially which can be used to profile based on behavioural and geo-demographic information. Sponsors want to know that you are able to contact your dataset easily and also understand the basic information about them.
3. Enhanced profiling
Once the basics are in place then a profiling tool can be applied to add extra information to aid greater insight. MOSAIC is the most popular lifestyle classification tool and is an ideal method to build further insight into customer and fan groups. It is used regularly in advertising and politics as the MOSAIC groups have clear characteristics about their likely lifestyle choices meaning its much easier to target them with those products and services they are interested in and their communication preferences. This can be used to build profiles and flag those against the customer record within the CRM database for future reference and results reporting.
4Sight recently worked with Leicester City to provide an analysis of their fan base in terms of their MOSAIC profile. Through segmentation analysis a selection of typical profiles were built showing the various segments and their likely car type preferences. This was then used as a powerful insight to share with potential automotive partners to demonstrate the strength of their fan base as a marketing asset to the sponsor.
4. Communications preferences
The traditional method of allowing possible sponsors to contact a clubs database is to ensure that as many fans as possible have signed up to the ‘allow 3rd party’ section in their communication preferences. However this method can also be a reason for fans not providing their details as they fear being bombarded by perceived spam emails from companies they are not interested in.
This model must change.
With a large database of engaged fans where the data is well managed and insightful, a new model is emerging from which CRM practitioners should be aware. If fans believe that they will be provided with relevant information about products and services that they are interested in then they are more likely sign up. To do this, use a preference manager tool to find out more about the key products and services they are keen to know more about, especially where there is a chance of extra value in a possible deal. These categories would typically include car dealerships, mobile phone providers and financial services. By opting in to specific sectors, extra value can be generated by linking these people to local partners who see a much bigger attraction in communicating with a smaller group of fans that have given their permission to be contacted.
5. Contact management strategies
To support the overall objectives and the achievement of a new value partnership between sponsors and fans it is essential that their interests and preferences are captured. Sam Nixon has produced a piece (What’s your Preference) to give examples of how this can be achieved but essentially this boils down to making sure your systems can deliver a real closed loop marketing process. I.e. when you send an email to the supporter base asking about their interests, favourite player etc… it is much easier to manage the results if this information flows straight back to the customer record. The preference manager survey is an often over looked approach and is much simpler and more accurate than building propensity models trying to predict what fans may want rather than actually asking them directly.
6. Measurement of buyers…not just media evaluation
A further option for partners working with consumer brands where data is collected at the time of booking (e.g. travel companies, mobile phone providers and financial services) a new measurement process can be implemented to understand success.
Traditionally medial evaluation has been the way that sponsorship success is measured but this is flawed as it only reports on the comparable value of the equivalent advertising rates rather than real sales.
A data driven option which can prove much more accurate is to assess how many fans appear on the sponsors database at the start of the partnership and re-assess on a regular basis. The aim will be to increase the penetration of fans from the rights holder’s data within the sponsor’s customer base. This equates to real sales and is a much more appropriate measure which we expect to be used much more in the future.
For more information on using data to grow sponsorship sales contact Garry Adamson – firstname.lastname@example.org