As the calendar turns to April, baseball executives around the country are switching gears from a planning phase to an execution mode. It’s time now to actually do all the exciting things you’ve talked about doing. For game operations professionals, this means a much brighter focus on delivering stellar entertainment, presentation and promotional events. Once gates open for the season it is the stadium experience that takes center stage, propelling everything from ticket sales to buzz in the community. So, let’s look at how these crucial organizational components fit into a larger picture during the season, where maximizing business opportunities is always the objective.
As my colleague Pat Walker pointed out in our Best of the Decade audio roundtable, the game operations department may not be the first folks to sell a ticket but they can be the best source of renewal that any organization has. The renewal, or repeat customer, is absolutely critical for any sports team. Sports marketing guru Jon Spoelstra laid it out in clear terms when he said, “Increasing the frequency of purchase by customers is the best and most efficient way of building a business. It is a quick-fix silver bullet.” Think about how hard your sales staff must work to get a first time customer to a game. Then think about that customer’s likelihood of returning to another game after they’ve been exposed to your team’s incredible stadium experience. Indeed, building your repeat customer base is easier and more economical than searching out a stadium full of newbies. While new business prospecting will always be imperative to an organization, moving a fan from the 1-2 game a year threshold to attending 5-6 games is simply more effective than recruiting people who have never touched your live product. During the season, game operations personnel must understand the vital role they play in building the all-important repeat customer base.
Think of building your repeat customer base as a never ending cycle. There are different points in the cycle where a fan may be introduced to your team, but all departments must work together to keep them moving towards increased involvement and more frequent stadium visits. Here then is the Repeat Customer Success Cycle, a simple strategy for building in-season business. During the season, we all know it’s incredibly easy to get caught up in day-to-day details. This cycle helps to provide perspective amidst that daily grind. It helps to show that the game operations staff is not just in charge of fun and games, but more importantly it is the catalyst in turning new fans into rabid, repeat customers.
The Repeat Customer Success Cycle
Each of the six points in this cycle is important. A breakdown in any of these phases could let a potential repeat customer slip through the cracks. While it doesn’t matter where or how a fan enters this cycle, it is essential that you work with other departments to constantly move them through the cycle as often as possible. The more a fan touches the following six points of the cycle, the more likely they are to buy frequently.