In timely manner of the Miami Heat fighting for their play-off future and the NBA Championship this Friday, we take a look at how the Miami Heat Basketball team has transformed their fan engagement using Microsoft Dynamics 365.
Microsoft’s Dina Apostolou, Sr. Director of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Product Marketing sat down with Miami Heat’s EVP of Business Strategy, Matthew Jafarian to learn more about the Heat’s “Impressive digital journey”.
From the founding of The National Basketball Association in 1949 up through recent years, most of the teams were family-owned operations that knew few specific details about their fan base.
That’s all changed. The median value of an NBA team has tripled over the last decade, and teams like the Miami HEAT have undergone deep digital transformations to overhaul the way they relate to their customers, maximize sales, and optimize the fan experience.
Jafarian’s business strategy team is a start-up-like group of 30 data-driven marketers that play a major tactical role within the wider HEAT organization. But it wasn’t always that way. He says that things really started to change a little over five years ago, when the President of Business Operations expressed that he was tired of asking simple questions like, “How many season tickets have we sold?” and not getting a simple answer.
“He used to wait several hours just to get three different answers depending on whether he was talking to Sales, Finance, or the Box Office. He set out to find a fix for this, but there wasn’t anything on the market,” said Jafarian.
By using Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Insights, a customer data platform, Jafarian’s team has a deep understanding of their fans in a 360-degree view with every touchpoint. Combining data sources like external ticketing, food and beverage systems, point of sales, and e-commerce in one place provides the insight on what concessions fans visit or what jersey size they buy. Using this unified data to send contextually-relevant messaging throughout the fan’s clear, cyclical client journey yielded more new customers and more loyal customers. For instance, a few seasons back, they were able to send targeted push notifications to season ticket holders who were attending a game but had not yet renewed their season tickets. The notification was so relevant, over 90 percent responded.
With Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales, the HEAT can manage all fan-related information including engagement and purchase histories. In addition, each profile is scored with predictive machine learning to determine the likelihood of future purchases. This helps the sales team identify top sales prospects and personalize offers, increasing win rates.
This data-driven end-to-end experience not only allows the HEAT to market to a very specific targeted audience, but it helps their customer service team, working in Microsoft Dynamics 365, to know more about their fans and offer truly memorable customer service. This helps the HEAT retain existing fans, strengthen ongoing relationships, and add new fans who love the team. While Jafarian has no control over the team’s winning, the HEAT are exceeding fan expectations on many fronts.
There are several different ways to measure success in sports. Winning championships is, of course, the first benchmark everyone thinks about, but a team must also offer broader fan satisfaction and perform well as a business. Nearly every department within the organization and the arena uses Power BI to access the metrics that are important to their operations. With real-time information about ticket sales and advanced business intelligence, the HEAT can make on-the-fly decisions to improve flow and reassign resources to manage ingress.
The team at Microsoft are honored to hae played a part by helping teams leverage customer data and deliver proactive experiences that are relevant and natural and, in turn, improve the fan experience. Learn more by watching the conversation with Jafarian.
If you feel like your company could stand to better connect with your “fan-base” please reach out to us. We can offer you and your company a completely free demo of the customer-centric capabilities that only Dynamics 365 can deliver, and how we can help tailor Dynamics 365 directly to your company and your customer’s needs.