Customer Data Makes Orlando Magic

Retaining Season Ticketholders With Enhanced Personalization

 


“We started playing around just to try it, but found it so easy to use that we actually finished the templates for our resale emails after just a few days. We started producing emails to send to our fans immediately.”

– Anthony Perez, Executive Vice President of Strategy, Orlando Magic


Orlando Magic LogoAll NBA teams compete with other local attractions for family entertainment dollars. The Orlando Magic faces especially stiff competition – not just from that other brand of magic found in theme parks down the road, but also from the weather. When sunny days beckon, the Amway Center needs to beckon even harder.

Given these challenges, it’s no surprise that the Magic conducts its business with data-driven rigor. And according to that data, season ticket holders account for 70% of the Orlando Magic’s ticketing revenue stream. To win ticketholders’ approval, the team wants to offer a customer experience that is personalized to each individual fan. That’s why they customize their email copy with Wordsmith.

Using the Wordsmith platform to automatically turn data-driven insights into fan-friendly language, the Magic achieves customer loyalty and revenue results that are not possible without automation.

Keeping The Fans Happy

The strongest predictor of Magic season ticket renewal is the ticket holder’s ability to actually use the tickets. Most fans don’t go to every game, and they might try to resell tickets they can’t use on the Magic’s own website. But those tickets might not sell, and they compete with the ones the team sells directly. Now, under a new program, ticket holders can return their seats to the Magic in exchange for Magic Money – a loyalty currency fans can use for unique experiences like locker room tours, food, and seat upgrades.

But when does it make sense for fans to trade in seats for Magic Money, and when should they hold out for cash from reselling their tickets? The Magic wants to give each fan the best advice, but every situation is different. Fortunately, the Magic knows a thing or two about individual outreach.

“Our goal is to pursue deep personalization for our customers,” says Anthony Perez, the team’s Executive Vice President of Strategy. His team leverages predictive models to determine each fan’s likely behavior. They use segmentation to determine what email images to display. And they customize the offers, invitations, and recommendations that fans receive.

“The hardest thing to personalize,” says Perez, “is email copy on a large scale.”

Leveraging the Power of Personalization With Wordsmith

Using SAS to analyze customer data, the team targets those whose tickets are not likely to be resold. Then, using the Wordsmith platform for natural language generation, the team automatically turns each customer’s specific data into a personalized email. The emails take each fan’s unique situation into account and explain it natural language.

Magic Money EmailWith Wordsmith, the Magic has full control over the content they produce for each fan and can communicate in their brand voice about any scenario a unique customer’s data presents.

“Wordsmith is incredibly intuitive,” said Perez. “We started playing around just to try it, and found it so easy to use that we actually finished the templates for our resale emails after just a few days. We started producing emails to send to our fans immediately.”

Results

The emails encourage fans to trade their tickets for Magic Money, which makes good business sense. But the team’s larger goal in providing resale options is to be helpful to the fans. Using Wordsmith’s precisely customized copy, the Magic seeks to increase season ticketholders’ satisfaction by explaining a way to get more value from their investment.

By that measure, the emails clearly succeeded. Recipients were asked to click on a smiley or frowny face to indicate an emails helpfulness; over 80% responded positively.

As for Perez, the Executive Vice President of Strategy sees more automated writing in the team’s future.

“Because we’re an organization that is built on data, the Wordsmith platform is really exciting,” he says. “It’s going to open up many new ways of reaching our fans with fun, friendly content made just for them.”