Marketing technology improving the sports fan experience

Arizona Coyotes Opening Night 2016 Light Show

I’m a big fan of great user experiences. When a company has their strategy sorted out and leverages technology to take it to the next level I love it even more.

The Arizona Coyotes and the people over at ReplyBuy did just that on Saturday night. They literally turned me from a fan watching the Coyotes home opener on my couch to an in-arena attendee for a future game within 3 minutes (would’ve been less if I wasn’t being a nosy technologist).

No cost to me. No forms of personalized information to be filled out. Fan at home to a butt in the seat! #winning

Fans Purchase Experience

I texted “COYOTES” to their number and received a confirmation message in return. After confirming (again with the COYOTES keyword), I had the option to go fill out a form and set up my information for future purchases (which I initially skipped) and within 2 minutes received a Fast Pass pair of tickets to an upcoming Coyotes game. I responded with “BUY COYOTES 2” and instantly had tickets sent to my phone as well as my email.

Clear fan experience with Coyotes game specific info

Boom! 3 simple texts and I’ve got 2 complimentary tickets to the upcoming game against the San Jose Sharks. From purely a fan perspective it was an awesome experience; so simple, so easy, and a free game for my favorite team.

There were additional details available if I wanted/needed them, but the ability to purchase tickets to my favorite teams in a couple of minutes was great! Sure, it helps that the tickets were free, but I didn’t have to figure out what game to pick, which seats I wanted for what price, or compare pricing in the NHL ticket exchange or other sites.

Arizona Coyotes Marketing

From the marketing perspective, it was brilliant! They turned a fan on the couch to a fan in the arena within 3 minutes!

Isn’t that one of your primary goals if you’re in this business? Get fans to the arena to experience hockey live. Get them to the arena to buy concessions. Get those fans off their butts, to the arena for a mid-week game that you’re likely not to sell out anyways, and into the Coyotes Den to buy merchandise.

A lot of benefits from the Coyotes side, as well as improving their customer’s experience.

ReplyBuy Software

The execution of the experience from the ReplyBuy software was great as well.

Marketing Technology provider ReplyBuy's payment setup form

3 text messages and I had my tickets. They integrated easy purchase options for future ticket purchases; I was able to connect to my Paypal or put in credit card information on a secure form without any additional information being required. There was information about the current offer I was receiving and how the whole process worked. There was error checking involved from the texting side to ensure you knew exactly what to send and context around where you were in the process.

They’re already partnering with a ton of teams across NBA, NFL, and NHL (see the Get Started section: https://www.replybuy.com/) and more to come as other teams see what a difference this makes for those who already partner with ReplyBuy.

MarTech (Marketing Technology) Questions

As a marketing technologist I love the innovation and have lots of questions:

My name appeared with my phone number on the ReplyBuy sign-up page. They sent my tickets to me via phone and email. How did they obtain that personal information?

  • Did they get my name and email from a third party system on-demand or pull it from the Coyotes database?

If that personalized information came directly from the Coyotes database in real time, that’d be awesome!

What happens with all the transaction details?

  • How much info does ReplyBuy maintain?
  • How much info, if any, gets pushed in the Coyotes CRM and Marketing Automation systems? True integration into the Coyotes system of record would be pretty sweet.

What’s next from the fan perspective beyond receiving notifications of future offers?

  • Am I able to purchase tickets to any game or just whatever offers are pushed to me?
  • Am I in a large bucket of other fans or segmented other than a Coyotes fan?
  • Am I now in a marketing automation follow-up sequence either from ReplyBuy, the Coyotes, or both?

How are they measuring ROI?

  • Is success purely measured on future ticket sales through the ReplyBuy app?
  • Will the team look at comparisons of merchandise and concession sales for those game and have a rough estimate on what those additional fans in the arena gave them? Perhaps they’ll look at it based off a calculated revenue per fan measurement model they already use.
  • Do they have plans to integrate merchandise and concession data to actual ticket holders and really get clarity on these promotions? For instance, is someone who received a complimentary game ticket like I did off the promotion, more inclined to spend more in the arena since I got in the door for free.
  • What does a Marketing Technology (MarTech) stack look like for a professional sports team?
  • How mature is their integration of technologies?
  • Does the addition of a young, analytically minded GM in John Chayka bring a more analytical and technical mindset to the marketing team as well as the on-ice hockey team?
  • Do they have anyone looking at all of this and seeing how all these pieces fit together?
  • Is there a realization in the sports world of this MarTech distinction and how everything can be disjointed and unorganized or can be well integrated and deliver real business insights?

Summary

Overall I was impressed with the ReplyBuy system as well as the Coyotes jumping on this technology innovation early and enhancing the fan experience. I hope they’ve got more planned to continue pushing the envelope throughout the season.

ReplyBuy has innovated the sports fans experience while delivering business value.

On a side note, kudos to the Coyotes for the opening light show! It looked great on TV and I’ve heard a lot of positive feedback from people who were there. The coordination of the colors in various sections also makes me wonder what technology they used… regardless it made a great first impression to kick off what should be a fun and exciting season.

Go Coyotes and thanks for the great fan experience!