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  • December 18, 2013

How The Chicago Bears Elevate Fan Engagement

As a team that has been sold out for nearly 30 years, The Chicago Bears faced a unique challenge. Although the football club did not spend a lot of time focused on selling tickets, they did want to improve fan engagement. Because they sent emails using numerous, decentralized databases, fan communication was not consistent or personalized.

“We have millions of fans that we want to communicate with and they do want to hear from us, but we weren’t communicating with them in the right way and in the messages that they wanted,” said Elaine Delos Reyes, Director of Fan Marketing and Research for the Chicago Bears Football Club.

The Chicago Bears sought out a system that would not only allow them to centralize their fan database, but also enable them to create more targeted campaigns.

“We really wanted a tool that helped us engage with not just season ticket holders, but also the many fans we have all over the world,” Delos Reyes noted. “Eloqua allows us to segment and understand who their favorite players are and where they live so we can really give them the kind of offers that they’re looking for and find unique ways to engage with them.”

Check out this video to learn more about how the Bears are enhancing fan engagement:

Party Like It’s Your Birthday
The Chicago Bears launched a birthday campaign as their first automated campaign, designed to nurture fans and increase revenue through merchandise sales. The team also uses marketing automation to send out multiple messages about every event including a save the date, a presale and on sale email to keep fans informed, and regularly send out promotional offers and  sweepstakes.

Through the use of a centralized marketing communication platform, the team has also been able to conduct surveys, which are designed to ensure the Bears provide the best experience to the team’s season ticket holders, fans, corporate partners, and key stakeholders. Since launching Eloqua, survey response rates have been three times the rate the team considers satisfactory.

The Bears showed results quickly after launching marketing automation, including a 22% increase in their fan database within the first six months. The Bears also have driven a significant amount of revenue from merchandise sales through the birthday campaign, and have improved email metrics. All emails deployed by the team have a 98% deliverability rate or better, with open rates as high as 300%.

“We’ve just gotten a lot of positive feedback from our fans about the better communication that they’re receiving and how it’s really tailored towards them,” Delos Reyes said. “There’s been a lot better collaboration internally with meeting our objectives as an organization. “Also, we’ve created a lot of value for our partners who we tie into some of our campaigns and sweepstakes. We’re able to showcase what they’re able to offer to fans as well.”

The Chicago Bears also won the 2013 Markie Award in the “Fresh Start” category. Check out the Bears’ nomination, and other great marketing case studies, on the Markies web site.

Click here to access Elaine’s presentation from Eloqua Experience 2013 on how the Chicago Bears Football Club has been sold out for 28 years and drives fan engagement.

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