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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Even the NFL needs "customer" relationships
The NFL (National Football League in the USA) is a hugely successful, tremendously profitable business.  Right?  Well yes, as long as the fans keep paying for tickets, personal-seat licenses, parking, expensive beer, team merchandise, etc.  And as long as they keep filling every seat so it looks good on television and continues to assure those mega deals for the league. 

At the heart of all that financial success are the season ticket holders.  In many cities there’s a years-long wait for the opportunity to buy.  In some markets season-tickets are handed down from generation to generation.  As the result of such success, some management groups have taken those producing that stream of revenue for granted -- Communications from the team in some cases consisting solely of the annual invoice and a schedule.   

Recently however, some teams (especially those with less success on the field in recent years), have begun to recognize the concept of the Total Customer Experience and the need to produce more VALUE for the customer.  They’ve been forced to start thinking of season-ticket holders as critically important paying “customers” with whom they need to build relationships.  Some examples:

  • The St. Louis Rams just holding a party today. Season-ticket holders will have the chance to meet the coach and general manager.   And shockingly the event is offered to them free of charge.
  • The Indianapolis Colts went one step further last year with a luncheon for season-ticket holders at which they met both coaches and players. 
  • The Atlanta Falcons gave their season-ticket holders the chance to privately quiz both the coach and the owner. 
  • The Jacksonville Jaguars teamed with local restaurants and retailers to offer season-ticket-holders packs of discounts they claim were worth up to $3,000 in savings (We think Jacksonville might be off on the wrong track there – but that’s a story for another day.   At least they did try something.) 

The big news of course is that NFL teams are beginning to recognize those who fund them and that customer retention and customer relationships are critical.

1:54 pm edt          Comments

Monday, April 1, 2013

Should You Spend More on Search or Social?
There seems to be an ongoing debate regarding the relative importance of search vs. social media.

On one side there’s Nathan Safran  and his recent article, “Can We Please Stop Hyping Social As The Marketing Messiah?,” in which he reports that “during the 2012 holiday season 34% of retail website visits came from search. 40% were direct. (A mere) 2% were from social”.  Safran further reports “15% of respondents always or often turning to social for shopping or product research, while 97% say they always or often turn to search”.

Opposing Safran are numerous proponents claiming that it simply fear of the unknown and dependence upon “ineffective” programs of the past that are preventing some marketers from taking advantage of social media and the word of mouth and two way conversations it drives.

We would like to offer a third position.  While neither side seems to admit to it, we see obvious differences between corporate social media and individual social media.  While certainly corporations can produce temporary spikes in awareness and millions of likes or views with a contest that offers great prizes, coupons and product discounts, or a great video that may not be the greatest impact that social can offer.  We instead believe that it is the social media content that is produced by those tens of millions of individuals, and the mentions of their favorite movies, restaurants, doctors, baby strollers, etc. that leads their personal friends, neighbors, relatives, and co-worker connections to be aware of and consider those brands – which is what leads to all those searches and direct online visits that Safran references.

We believe that individuals have taken control of social media and that the most cost-efficient way to achieve growth is by working with them.  And for a number of categories we know how to do it.

10:26 am edt          Comments

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Measurement, Management, Optimization
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