Adventures in Mobile Marketing

Celtics: Winning With Segmentation, Multi-Channel, Series Campaign

Just when I thought this conference (MarketingSherpa Email Summit) was too lightweight, I stepped into a great talk- a little misnamed, but regardless- very interesting. Matt Griffin, director, sales & marketing of the Boston Celtics, talked about targeted messages and a series, multi-channel campaign that really has no need for improvement (despite his own admission, see end of post).

Roughly, they have 3500 unsold tickets and have 30 days until the game commenced. They designed a series of emails to sell through in aggressive campaign.

Some high level marketing aspects of the Celtics: they have a regional marketing focus– around New England, 75 mile radius around stadium. Their profit, as tenants, is mainly around perishable, event-based items (tickets) and sponsorships- nothing else, no parking or concessions. This is a major reason why pushing to sell out games is so important. 80% of the tickets are sold online, which is quite a flip from 10 yrs ago, when it was 20%. They focus on the impulse buy.

Some more breakdowns, just in a bullet form, for their marketing, and knowledge of their customers:

  • Very emotional customer target/segment
  • Very broad demographic appeal
  • Varied reasons customers come to the game
  • Pre-defined customer clusters, clickthrough behavior is segmented out, pre-defined
  • 800,000 price points – every seat has a different value that fluctuates day to day, email marketing tests and probes price tests
  • Reacting quickly (from the click traffic) helps with the quickly shifting win/lose season with the team

I asked him about static segmentation versus dynamic. I wouldn’t think pre-defined was something to brag about. I pride one of my clients on their ability to shift around their segmentation as much as they want. He said that they shift it around every year based on statistical reports and that is usually enough, he’s found.

The case study he talked about was the 12/15/07 game against Denver Nuggets, holiday season meant not a full house, so they identified the open seats, which were in the upper balcony/loge, and then designed a 2-phase multichannel email campaign.

First phase was a targeted email to pre-determined clusters, to sell the large blocks & balcony, which are great for a group sale. Various sampling of targets were:

  • Every customer who had bought on same night as this game, Friday, which is basing it on purchase time and date
  • College domains
  • Special family offer to customers with children- Offer was hot dog + soda, drop price, create a package,
  • Anyone in past who had bought,
  • Target against key players’ alma maters such as Syracuse, alma mater of Carmelo, U-Mass, which is the alma mater of Marcus Canby, etc.
  • Survey takers got an offer, contact-us offer ticket;
  • And almost all service outbound tickets had specific Denver offers.

All in all, there were 24-36 distinct offers created for filling the stadium for this Denver game, most based on the segment and data points for each demographic.

Phase 2: Clicker conversions, multichannel. They generate a a “click list”- all of the customers that had clicked on links regarding the game, but had not purchased, and issue that list to telemarketing group. These are highly effective list calls, the sales people really like it, salesperson has the entire list available to them, on the phone, they can re-offer better offers or seats, or determine reason and follow-up or store the reason for refusal. ROI is better than email on follow-up phone calls. I asked him whether they store those responses for analysis, he answered they do, and I think that is a real key to evaluating offers and campaigns. Very impressive data capture.

The result of this effort? It was a sell-out game, Pierce told the marketing group that “the crowd really carried us,” which is something “us marketing folks feel good abou.” Score: 119-114, and it was the best game of year for this team.

Phase 3, was to follow up on the attendees, selling 6-game package, season passes and merchandise.

These series generated over 2x over standard email campaigns. Because this kind of sales drive was a near sellout, the initiative has become standard with for games with same ticket buying standards. In the league they are the best practice at doing this, Cllick Tactics is the partner.

Questions from the audience…

Q: How do you manage contact frequency, is hitting them every game? Also merchandising, surprised you weren’t doing that earlier.

A: how do we avoid email fatigue? only send out 1/4 the database, and rotate, so not more htan 2 a month from us (wow, very infrequent) learning from 2 years ago, when we “carpet-bombed”, and our consumers were getting to coupon-hunters, offer-hunting, so not conditioned to keep waiting for them

Q:Why are you not focusing on merchandise, thought that would have been done already.
A: We’re trying to get premium packages and merchandise, jersey, playoff-strip, trying to get more than face-value.

Q: Clicker-non-converters, how do you follow up with them, if you do?
A: People who click and don’t purchase, less effective leads than non-click/non-purchase leads, strangely enough. I’ve tested, and that’s how it turned out.

Q: (my questions!) Do you store the refusals from telemarketing? What CRM package do you use? And, why not do dynamic segmentation?
a: Yes, we store the refusal in database. We found that we don’t have to analyze that frequently, once a year is enough. And Archtics (from TicketMaster) is the CRM package (from the ticketing sales system).

Q: I’m a season holder, and very happy with the programs.
A: You shouldn’t have received any emails last year, we suppressed you!

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Written on Tuesday, 26. February 2008 at 07:37 In the category CRM, EmailSummit, campaigns, segmentation, techniques. Follow the comments via RSS here: RSS-Feed. Share on FriendFeed

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1 Comment

  1. Hi Anna,

    I must say I had the same feeling. Some cases were not what you expected, but this one was fantastic.

    Well presented, good ppt and some very clever email marketing concepts.
    Being a basketball fan and having played for 12 years, I really loved this one.

    One last thing. I love your blog, I like your style and it was nice meeting you in person.

    Kind regards,


    Comment: Van Beeck – 26. February 2008 @ 4:42 pm

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