NRL rugby team Cronulla Sharks taps the power of Marketo to get closer to fans, customers, and prospects.
Marketers drive dramatic gains in engagement with personalised interactions that have yielded an 11% conversion rate and $72,000 additional revenue in just three months.
Australian National Rugby League (NRL) team Cronulla Sharks is highly respected for its numerous champion players and competitive spirit—and it’s the only NRL team that owns its stadium. Stadium ownership, says Sharks’ Head of Digital Commercialisation, Scott Maxworthy, means marketing supports both a team and an entertainment venue. The Sharks’ website was performing well, attracting up to 1.5 million unique visitors to each year. However, the marketing database contained only 45,000 customer profiles. So the Sharks digital team decided it was time to implement marketing automation to capture more profiles with richer data, thereby providing visibility that would help marketers engage site visitors in a more personalised way. To that end, they chose Marketo. In three short months, the number of profiles has jumped by 75%, giving marketers deeper insight into the people who engage with the Sharks’ business.
- Provide a seamless customer experience across all touch points
- Gain insight into fans, customers, and prospects to engage them more effectively
- Strengthen the marketing/sales relationship to increase lead quality and revenue
Getting to know customers and fans
The Sharks’ vision is simple: To be Australia's leading sporting lifestyle and entertainment destination. With responsibility for fan engagement, Scott plays a significant role in turning vision into reality. A major challenge, however, was creating a seamless customer experience across multiple touchpoints that include websites, email, social media, leagues clubs, game days, and membership programs. In the past, these touchpoints were siloed across different businesses within the organisation.
Marketo enabled the Sharks to bring all touchpoints together. The solution tracks and monitors website visitors, capturing robust behavioural data that augments the more traditional demographic and transactional data the club already had. With more detailed customer profiles, the club were able to develop content and campaigns tailored to specific segments based on their interests, demographics, and the activities they participate in.
“The results far exceeded our expectations. In the first three months, we increased the number of profiles by more than 75%—from 45,000 to 79,000. We have much more data now and we’re using it to further expand our database, segment it, and personalise content and campaigns. It has required a significant cultural shift within the business, to understand and appreciate the power of marketing automation. The first 12 months for us is very much about aligning priorities across the business to ensure that we can maximise the investment and increase our engagement with our Members and fans, which is ultimately the end goal.”
Leveraging customer insight
Scott’s primary areas of focus is on membership, hospitality, and lead generation. Marketo has helped deliver an uplift in all three areas. Initially, the team focused on lead-generation and engagement campaigns for existing leads. Those automated Membership campaign yielded an 11% conversion rate, and the ability to drive quality leads to sales in real time has increased sales staff efficiency. Leveraging the customer behavioural data included with the leads, salespeople are creating personalised messages for prospects and guiding people in selecting the right products. Closer alignment between marketing and sales yielded $72,000 in new revenue in the first three months.
Marketo is also saving the Sharks on costs. Previously, they would engage a third-party provider to run annual update your details campaigns, with each campaign costing $7,500. The Sharks eliminated this cost by creating these campaigns in Marketo.
“The ability to set up campaigns that run automatically in the background and deliver an 11% conversion rate and to be able to generate campaign reports that show our senior execs what we’re accomplishing is just brilliant.”
Shooting for the Ideal Customer Experience
The club is leveraging Marketo to understand how to best connect with customers today and to move toward his vision for the ideal customer experience. Here’s how that experience might play out:
A fan decides to purchase tickets a few days before a big game. Maybe this person has attended games before but isn’t a member. He or she purchases tickets via a new mobile app the club has in development. That purchase initiates the game day journey.
The journey starts with content that provides helpful information and speaks to all the amazing things that will happen at the game. On game day, fans enter the stadium and scan their tickets, which triggers an acknowledgement and welcome message to their mobile devices. The message expresses the club’s appreciation plus a relevant offer that helps ensure that fans enjoys the game even more.
"The fan’s app experience is completely personalised in a nonintrusive way that enhances rather than disrupts the sporting experience. The platform will enable us to add value to their game day experience based on their preferences and the way they have engaged with the club previously. We have an extremely diverse fan base on game day, and we recognise the importance of personalising the experience accordingly. The end goal is to provide our Members and fans with the right experience and the right product at the right time. Marketo is enabling us to move into this direction, which will have a huge impact on our ability to build strong relationships with our fans into what will no doubt be an exciting future for the club."