Customer Data Strategies: MLB
Major League Baseball (MLB) uses Dynamics CRM and a mobile customer-engagement platform to capture customer data and establish fan relationships. It uses customer data to help it conduct operational and business, as well as in-game, decisions.
- According to CRM Industry analyst Paul Greenberg, more than 80% of all major league baseball employs Dynamics CRM or at least some part of it to assist them developing, establishing, and managing fan relationships as well as database.
- The MLB adopted a sound social CRM strategy back in 2012 by utilizing a version Microsoft Dynamics CRM to understand and attempt to satisfy their fans expectations. They also used data to offer the most personalized updates to them, especially through social media platforms.
- As part of an effective digital marketing strategy, the MLB adopted a mobile customer-engagement platform for uncovering customer data through mobile analytics by Adobe, which supports in gathering customer engagement data through the app.
Types of Information/Data They Have on Their Fans
- Through the Dynamics CRM data platform, MLB identified customer data related to their satisfaction levels gathered through the extensive surveying of their fans, and ticket sales and services in demand by customers, along with two-way insights from interactions with fans through multiple social media pages.
- MLB utilizes its data platforms to gather "detailed customer transactional and engagement data with external factors such as weather, traffic, seasonal standings and day of the week, to optimize each of these types of decisions."
- Mobile analytics offer details on the ways that fans consume baseball content in-venue. It also recognizes fans that regularly attend road games, while revealing other beneficial insights.
Using this Information to Increase Revenue/Opportunities
- The MLB increasingly depends on customer data for its operational, business, and in-game decisions, such as in-park advertising, merchandising, promotions, retail, pricing, etc. to help promote profitability.
- MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM), the analytical and media division of the MLB, utilizes the customer data to promote sales and merchandising by serving in-game messaging, promoting refreshments and merchandise, and providing future tickets for home matches.
- MLB teams use customer data and insights to observe an uptick in ticket sales by measuring premium experience sales, ticket sales, and suite sales, which helps them to segment various accounts.
- Customer data is utilized by the MLB for increasing its revenue or its opportunities by connecting with rewards, membership, or loyalty programs, sharing promotional offers and services, along with sharing specific information with social platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter to target current customers and users by employing suitable advertising campaigns.
Effectiveness of the Data Strategy
- The MLB adopted a social CRM strategy that captures customer data and engagement analytics with an objective to better understand their customers and meet their expectations in terms of more personalized and engaged interactions to expand their fan base and website visitors.
- For an improved digital customer experience, the MLB upgraded its website by offering electronic ticketing booking options and engagement options through the MLB website, which supplies in-staduim refreshment orders, flexible loyalty programs as well as redemption options, digital ticketing, and simple purchases of merchandise from the MLB.
- The MLB site is the top ranked website in the United States in the sports and baseball category, wherein it witnessed 123 million online visits in June 2019. It has also seen higher engagement rates with an average visit lasting 6 minutes and 50 seconds, and visitors travel through 11.55 pages per visit. The majority of the online traffic (79.20%) is recorded from the United States from 99.93% organic searches.
- On social media, the MLB has 7.27 million followers with 7.32 million likes on Facebook and 8.5 million followers with 14,300 likes on Twitter.
- An article from The Shelf shares a customer data analysis of MLB fans through social media, where most of the information relates to their demographics, audience size, social media platforms, and other related insights.
The information on the volume of information and details on how quickly MLB is analyzing and actioning this data is unavailable.
Next, we examined statements and interviews of MBL executives through related news articles, interviews, and columns in sources such as Forbes, CNN, Biz Tech Magazine, CBS Sports, Washington Post, and others. We assumed that the executives would share the company strategies and success metrics in terms of achievement, which could be related to the volume of customer data and the readiness to analyze and put it into action.
Through this search, we discovered that very limited information was available from recent years, as most of the data covered baseball marketing and promotions. By extending the search through some past articles, we found that the information available discussed the implementation of social CRM strategy towards customer data analytics.
We then decided to search relevant third-party publications, such as ZDNet, DigitalMag, Sports Illustrated, etc., attempting to identify external reports on data strategies the MBL employs to sell more tickets by using technology or customer data. However, this search did not render any helpful information as some articles available through these sources concerned different sports leagues (e.g., NHL), while others analyzed MLB fans related to their demographics, audience size, social media platforms, and additional insights.