We’re a couple of weeks away from the start of another NFL season and many of us are starting to settle into our preseason preparations. Research has begun and the anticipation of the draft coupled with player rankings, injury reports, preseason smack and lining up wagers makes this one of my favorite times of the year.
As a case study, Fantasy Football is a stellar model for most of us to learn member behavior, engagement and cross-channel interaction. Its strength is that across all platforms (web, mobile, broadcast) successful Fantasy leagues engage the right members with the right messages at the right time in the right platform and at the right time of day. They continuously learn, grow, improve and optimize experiences.
1. New member acquisition – They leverage cross platform technologies and communication vehicles to drive new members through what is generally a robust web based sign-up experience. They learn about their core users and leverage that knowledge to promote themselves where like individuals gather. They mine their existing members with pre-season discounts and offers to maximize conversion and lock existing members up early. It’s harder to get new members to join once the season starts and since YoY retention is generally high for players, get them in the door now and increase profits over the long run. An offseason email marketing campaign keeping the fire burning, providing offseason knowledge and building excitement towards the start of the season helps drive new signups and keep existing members happy.
2. Event marketing – Each week during the season is an event (in some weeks multiple daily events) and in the preseason the biggest event is the draft itself. Most FF leagues use event time driven email and text messaging to ensure players are where they need to be and when they need to be there. However, they empower members to adjust the frequency and volume of notifications they want to receive. I’ve received text messages 2 days before, one day before and 30 minutes before a draft to ensure I am logged in and draft ready. The value of the event/activity should drive your messaging strategy.
3. Automated feedback loops – Drop a player, let people know via email or text. Someone got picked up off the waiver wire, send a daily summary via email of the activity. A trade was announced and requires league approval, send a text message with a poll (Yes or NO… Do you approve the trade?). In all our businesses, it’s about maximizing the frequency and value of meaningful dialogs with our members. If they act, remind them what their actions were as it provides an opportunity to guide and inform them. If an action is taken on their behalf, notify them through the most appropriate channel/s and empower them to respond. Effective FBLs dramatically improve customer service, quality scores and satisfaction.
4. Automated reminders – Don’t forget to set your lineup! The Draft is 2 days away…are you ready? Everyone is busy. People appreciate relevant reminders at the right time and via the most practical channels. Send me a text message if I need to act immediately or it’s a high value/priority need. Send me an email or a pop-up on my computer for less time sensitive reminders.
5. Rules and action based message flows – If Fred drops Tony Romo (and why wouldn’t he ) let Bob know his waiver wire request to pick up Romo has been accepted. Perhaps an email is good for that message unless the pickup happens 20 minutes before he is scheduled to play. In that case, Bob might appreciate getting that message via text or Push Notification instead. A Push empowers Bob to go directly into the “Set My Lineup” section of the App to immediately change his lineup and activate Romo. At the same time another part of the message flow can let Jerry know that he didn’t get Tony Romo and will have to settle with starting Blaine Gabbert instead (poor Jerry). All businesses can cost effectively automate many of their internal and external communication processes through effective message flows. Message personalization even enhances the experience and provides a pseudo 1-1 dialog. Message flows save money, time and provides for an amazing user experience.
6. Member reward systems – Effective communication to your members is a subset of a quality reward system. Members appreciate your products and services more when your messaging is in sync with their needs and goals. In Fantasy Football it’s all about winning each week and ultimately the end of season championship. Providing the right tools, access to the right knowledge and communicating timely and through the most relevant channels empowers each member to compete at his/her best. These same paradigms will work for your business. What are your members/customers goals and how can you as a company leverage the right messages at the right time with the right frequency and through the right channel to get them to their goals.
What other lessons or parallels do you see?