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CRM, CX, and personalization are some of the ways marketers can better understand their customers and drive brand loyalty. The Buffalo Sabres want to understand their fans better and, as a result, recently launched a loyalty program called Sabres Fan Advantage.
The program is the third phase in a complete marketing overhaul, according to Scott Miner, the team’s Director of Information Technologies.
“It is very important to use all of this feedback productively, and we feel that we can continue to make this program a unique experience that, in a sense, our fans have built,” Miner told Loyalty360. “Utilizing our fan feedback showed that our fans were passionate, but were looking for that one more “thing” to really make it “their” team.”
Miner said the organization started discussing a loyalty program three years ago.
“It was the third phase in a complete marketing overhaul,” he explained. “The first two phases involved developing a new CRM platform and launching a company extranet/business intelligence platform. Those first two phases allowed us to house more consumer data and visualize/predict consumer actions. The loyalty program was the third/final phase which gave us an opportunity to collect, in real-time, game day data. This data set gives us the opportunity to better tailor our product/services to what our fans are looking for. Since the program is based on the game day experience, the data gives us the opportunity to focus on the arena experience and lets us understand and react to our fans.”
The program is mobile app driven, and rewards users for the activities that they already participate in as loyal Sabres fans. Users can collect points by scanning their game ticket, buying merchandise and concessions, and entering special “Keywords” announced throughout the season. They can use those points towards the in-app “Rewards Store” for items such as Autographs, Merchandise, Raffle Items, and exclusive fan experiences. Fans can compete to be at the top of a “Leaderboard,” follow “Latest News,” and track their “Recent Activity.” This program proves to be unique in the sports industry because it is not just available for season ticket holders, any fan can participate in the program. Fans can even gain points for watching each game at home.
“The program is designed to reward fans for the things they already do,” Miner said. “However, our goal is to continue to reinforce those actions. One goal of this program is to make fans feel as if they get something back for continuing to support the team, because they do. The Fan Advantage program is a good way to create better relationships with our fans, and by “Thanking” them for their loyalty, we are opening up a new channel of fan interaction.”
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