As fans head back to stadiums and arenas amid the ups and downs of COVID-19, sports and entertainment organizations have a unique opportunity to reengage them with more sophisticated, personalized messaging.
The biggest college sports programs in the US are leading the way, upping their marketing games in partnership with ticketing platform provider Paciolan, which is deploying Oracle Cloud applications to help the schools enhance their relationships with fans, many of whom are also generous donors.
Paciolan’s white-label ticketing platform and related services power the sale of about 120 million tickets a year to sporting events for over 150 college programs, as well as events for more than 100 pro sports organizations and 75 performing arts venues. Paciolan acts as an in-house agency for its clients, providing them with not only technology but also data-based insights, services, and subject matter expertise.
Two major recent additions to that tech toolbox are Oracle Eloqua Marketing Automation and Oracle Infinity Behavioral Intelligence, cloud applications Paciolan is deploying with its college clients to help them improve their connections with fans. College athletic departments can now customize those communications based on a variety of first-party data, including fans’ purchase histories, preferences, location, and status with each client organization. They can also enrich that picture using third-party data collected by Paciolan on household income, homeownership, and other factors. “We constantly think about how we can personalize and reimagine the customer journey,” says Paciolan Chief Marketing Officer Craig Ricks.
For example, say you’re a fan of the men’s basketball team of Mississippi State University, a Paciolan client, and you’ve agreed to receive information from the program by filling out an Oracle Eloqua form. That information helps the program understand your interests to give you targeted offers and information, from an initial email offer to buy tickets through post-event satisfaction surveys and at every key point in between.
That journey usually starts with your receiving a personalized email, based on your recent purchase history and other data, pointing you to the team’s event schedule or commerce page on its website or mobile app. Maybe you then peruse those pages but don’t buy a ticket for one reason or another.
Using Paciolan’s deployment of Oracle Infinity and its first-party tagging, the college basketball program can get analytics on your browsing behavior: How long were you on its ticketing page, and where did you come from? Which games were you keying on? Which if any tickets did you move to the shopping cart but then abandon? Where did you go after you left the page?
By integrating Infinity with Oracle Eloqua’s marketing automation and Paciolan’s other ecommerce and data tools, the program can then automatically send you a personalized email offer based on your recent behavior on its site or app, while that activity is still fresh in your mind. Kyle Murphy, Paciolan director of marketing automation and CRM, calls Oracle Infinity “a game changer for us, and one that will unlock tremendous opportunities for our clients.”
Should you then buy a ticket, delivered electronically to your mobile phone, the Paciolan-powered, Oracle-augmented engagement doesn’t end there. Days before each game, you’ll receive a “know before you go” email informing you of the latest venue-entry requirements (such as proof of vaccination or a clear bag for articles you’re carrying), and closer to the event, an email or two alerting you to the best traffic routes and stadium parking areas given current conditions. Once you enter the arena or stadium, having scanned your mobile ticket and downloaded it to your mobile wallet, the venue welcomes you, triggering an email offer for discounted food, beverages, and merchandise, as well as updates on tickets still available for upcoming games.
And because Paciolan’s technology and services are also integrated with the fundraising efforts of many of its college sports clients, your entry into the venue might trigger an email to an on-site university development officer alerting her that the patron in Gate C, Seat 45D, is a loyal school supporter, prompting the officer to approach you for a friendly conversation with a hat, t-shirt, or other tchotchke in hand.
Such communications continue post-event, in the form of a satisfaction survey. Your responses to that survey might then trigger a customer service outreach personalized to your experience at the event. Maybe you’re someone who’ll likely want even better seats next time, or maybe you need some extra care.
Paciolan is about halfway through its 12-month rollout of the integrated Oracle Eloqua-Infinity instances, having deployed them with 58 of 120 clients as of February 2022. It’s still early in the process of quantifying aggregate results from those early implementations; the focus now is training clients on the platform and helping them use it efficiently. “All of our clients that have made the transition are delighted by the intuitive power of the platform,” Murphy says.
Early feedback from clients, CMO Ricks says, is that the Oracle solution makes it much easier to set up multichannel campaigns, and its drag-and-drop interface is much easier to use than Paciolan’s previous marketing automation solution. That simplicity is particularly important for colleges and universities facing personnel shortages, he says.
Now more than ever, people need to get out of the house and find something to cheer about, Ricks says. “Through our technology and services, we facilitate great experiences and memories,” he says. “That’s why I’m always super excited about what we do in our role. And we’re really excited about our partnership with Oracle.”
We constantly think about how we can personalize and reimagine the customer journey.
Craig Ricks, Chief Marketing Officer, Paciolan
Watch a fireside chat with Craig Ricks, CMO, Paciolan and Julia Spano, Head of North America Field Marketing, Oracle Advertising & CX
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