I don’t recall who said that. Perhaps it was just words that I made up, but it is powerful and true in today’s ever evolving landscape in sports marketing and how to reach and connect with fans.
Many pro and minor league sports teams have hopped onto the social media bandwagon in every single way possible. They are posting on facebook, tweeting to the masses, pinterest, tumblr (which I recently spoke on HERE) and every which way.
The sports teams are loaded up with tons of followers and have a loyal captive audience. But one thing they aren’t doing with them is extending their passion and loyalty as much as they could or should. There is a lot of “pushing” done by the sports teams but they are forgetting why the fans are following them and flocking to them in the first place. They love their teams and want to be “super fans” and for a while showing your support on social media was the best and new way to show your dedication to your favorite team.
Be your own fan!
But the fans are now catching on to the social media work. If you aren’t publishing great valuable content or trying to engage and “pull” in your superfans in social media they will now start walking away.
Superfans don’t want to just be spammed by their favorite teams. They want something more! They want a remarkable experience!
That is where “BE YOUR OWN FAN” has come in and I believe it will be just one of many upcoming changes to the experience and engagement that sports teams lay into with their fans.
Be Your Own Fan is the brainchild of the Goldklang Group as they fight to increase market share and fan experiences with the minor league baseball teams that they represent. Which includes the Charleston Riverdogs, St Paul Saints, Fort Myers Miracle, and the Hudson Valley Renegades. The basic idea behind BYOF is to enhance specific “fandoms” for their superfans and increase the experience at the ballpark. Thus far their results are through the roof and their engagement, ticket sales, and customer super service have all increased exponentially. They have also added an I Phone application and put several side marketing initiatives into cohesion with the BYOF experience.
Social media and ticket promos were no longer enough to create a rich fan experience and rather than stay stagnant on the sidelines like so many sports teams are currently doing the Goldklang Group decided to reach for the change and launch BYOF.
What does Be Your Own Fan mean and encompass?
As you can see on the Fort Myers Miracle page you are able to choose specific “fandoms” that will get you unique benefits and opportunities for your own “fanness.”
The Charleston Riverdogs do the same and below is their list of “fandoms.”
Fans will have the opportunity at every RiverDogs home game, as well as at www.RiverDogs.com, to register for “Be Your Own Fan” campaign. Upon registering, fans will receive a free colored coded bracelet, plus emails, offers and incentives that cater to their interests and to the reason they come to the ballpark.
There are nine unique fan groups from which to choose:
- The Networker: Comes to the ballpark to meet and connect with people and utilize the facility’s atmosphere to create business relationships;
- The Foodie: Someone who loves the various food offerings at The Joe;
- The Family: Comes to games because they know that a RiverDogs game can always be counted on to provide an evening of quality, wholesome family entertainment;
- The Socializer: Comes to The Joe to because they know that it is THE place to be seen;
- Promo-Sapian: Always into the wacky between innings promotions and awesome giveaways;
- The Traveler: Visits the ballpark for a taste of true Charleston hospitality;
- The Pyro: Loves the postgame fireworks shows at The Joe;
- The River Pup: The younger fans at the park that have a blast as members Charlie’s Kids Club;
- The Super Fan: Knows the RiverDogs’ roster by heart and wears that heart on his/her sleeve.
As you can see they have made a change from trying to be “all things to all people” and are catering specific areas of each ballpark to tailor fit specific fans wants and needs.
THIS IS WHAT ENGAGEMENT IS ALL ABOUT! IT IS NOT A TWEET OR A PIN.
Engagement is when a team, brand, company, or person tries to strike a chord with you and reaches you on an emotional level. It shows they are doing the hard labor to come up with ideas that will increase your loyalty, excitement, and passion for their team.
This is a program that shows “they care!”
BE YOUR OWN FAV TV.COM
It takes you to a level you can’t find anywhere else. At BYOFTV.com they do a bi monthly web series that examines and speaks with owner, general managers, beat writers, and on field managers and lets you into their world. They delve into seeing the game and the business from their points of view. It offers a behind the scenes opportunity to see the inner workings of a specific team, event, and sport.
The next time your favorite team tweets to you to come out to the game tonight because of a bleacher ticket special you might want to think about this program.
It is a marketing philosophy that is putting the Fan First. The Fan is what matters here. No one else.
And that is really what sports marketing and sports business is all about: Finding a way to connect with the most important part of the puzzle. Becacuse without fans the teams don’t make money and they go away.
Be Your Own Fan puts the fan experience and fan loyalty and support in the utmost importance: Priority Number One!
Where do you go from here?
Be Your Own Fan has put the fun back into being a fan. Eventually more changes will come in the fan experience. Social media needs to be more engaging and user friendly and this is one of the first steps done by a group of minor league baseball teams to ensure that their fans will be their supporting them along every step of the way.
The Goldklang Group is making change happen. They are making marketing be about the consumer. Sometimes companies lose sight of that and they then therefore lose sight of their mission.
The Goldklang Group and the Be Your Own Fan Experience is here to stay I think. And other teams should start paying attention and follow suit in their own way to see what they can do to get their fan experience and ticket sales at an all time high!
Are there other teams that you have seen doing a marketing program or initiative that is similar to the Be Your Own Fan Campaign?? We would love to hear from you. Post your comments or thoughts on here and we can talk more and you can always tweet us your thoughts!