How Nashville SC automates fan & customer segmentation

This article gives you insights into how the US-based football club Nashville SC makes the best out of its fanbase through segmentation automation by partnering with the industry expert and FBIN Network member KORE Software.

The Problem

Nashville SC is an expansion team of Major League Soccer (MLS) and only joined the American biggest football league in 2020. The Tennessee-based club uses Salesforce for its CRM and Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC) for email marketing activities. Since joining MLS, Nashville SC’s fanbase began to expand dramatically. The first problem is that at one point, the team couldn’t keep track of all kinds of collected data ranging from buying habits to social media interactions anymore. Secondly, even when both systems are from the same provider, getting them to integrate could be tricky, resulting in many manual tasks that eat up most of the workday. Thirdly, not only did the Business Intelligence (BI) team has to create separate customer lists repeatedly for different departments, but they also wasted so much time communicating with them. 

Consequently, their outbound emailing was always an “all or nothing” situation – a fan either received all emails or none. The dilemma is that sports fans have emotional connections with their teams and want to be kept informed, but nobody wants to be bombarded with irrelevant emails. So how did Nashville SC overcome this both functionally and technically? 

The Solution 

Mark Simmons, Senior Director of Business Intelligence, and Lauren Smith, Business Intelligence Analyst, proactively reached out to the KORE team to streamline the process and turn the raw data bulk into something more robust. With the help from KORE Planning & Insights (KPI), Nashville SC transformed all functional needs of different departments into the technical configuration in Salesforce. To begin with, both sides asked themselves fundamental questions:

  • How are we using data?
  • What are we doing most often that can be automated?
  • Where are our fans, and how do we keep them engaged? 

Then they decide to simplify the current process from 7 steps to only 4 steps to avoid any unnecessary tasks leading to human errors.

Regarding the technical side, KPI’s expertise in Salesforce Connectors customization and Data Warehouse & Analytics (DWA) adaptation allows Nashville SC to transfer data seamlessly between two systems. More specifically, one email record in Salesforce Marketing will now connect to a specific contact ID in the CRM, which became possible to assign tags for each contact based on the collected data. Tags can help personalize messaging by categorizing contacts into different groups. For example, season-ticket holders will now only be tagged to meet-and-greet campaigns, not the individual game discounts. Nashville SC also utilized tags to create four key email categories: Matchday, News, Ticketing, and Stadium. The club can then generate additional segments from these four categories. Thanks to KORE DWA’s nightly tag updates and the customized data pipeline, each of Nashville SC’s departments always has access to the most up-to-date customer lists. 

The Outcome

Mark and Lauren experienced immediate effects. The efficiency improvement is much appreciated by the Marketing department as there’s no need to upload files or spreadsheets thanks to the synchronization of both systems. More importantly, the tag function empowers them to curate more personal and relevant content. The lengthy process which caused delayed delivery of team news and updates and poorly timed promotions has been replaced with well-targeted email campaigns. Nashville SC’s marketers can now target 10 (and counting) different customer segments with distinct characteristics. Fans who purchase tickets a week before a matchday will now be approached differently than same-day buyers. 

Other target groups such as Premium Sales or Corporate Partnerships enjoy this enhancement as well. While the former is grouped into categories based on purchase history and pattern, the latter can be rightly communicated based on customized partnership agreements and entitlements. Advanced data analytics also helps Nashville SC identify more fans in untapped niches and curate their tactics like messages, price tickets, or merchandise accordingly. 

More interestingly, the benefits of automating fan segmentation go beyond email marketing. It opens new paths for other departments’ activities like promotion, customer feedback, lead management, and more. 

As a result, Nashville SC’s entire business gained a massive boost by transforming large data sets into various robust customer segments, enabling them to focus on strategy, new ideas, and decision making.

To learn full details on how to automate fan and customer segmentation,  download the full case study of Nashville SC.


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