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American Airlines Center, Dallas

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By Kate Maddox

Challenge: The American Airlines Center (AAC, http://www.nba.com/mavericks/arena/arena_index.html), home arena for the Dallas Mavericks NBA team and the Dallas Stars hockey team, was seeking to renew memberships for its platinum seating packages, which are 80% corporate owned. AAC conducted a renewal campaign for three-year platinum membership agreements that were set to expire.

"We used a traditional direct marketing campaign and had a good response, but it was not 100%," said Frank Hubach, VP-premium sales at AAC. "We had about 50 accounts left that had not responded or had responded with a ‘no,’ " Hubach said. "We really wanted to go after these people one more time with some different benefits to see if we could save these accounts," he said.

Solution: AAC turned to MCD Communications, a Dallas-based e-mail marketing provider, to develop a three-pronged e-mail campaign for the ticket sales effort. The first e-mail was sent to the 50 accounts that had not renewed, with a personal message from Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, encouraging members to renew their platinum-level seats. A visual touch was a photo of Cuban that loaded into the e-mail when it was opened.

AAC followed up with a thank-you note to all platinum seat members and suite holders that had renewed, again with a personal message and photo of Cuban in the e-mail. The thank you message contained a viral component, asking members to forward the e-mail to a friend.

A third e-mail campaign to acquire new members was sent to about 5,000 leads obtained from AAC’s Web site, its sales force and from the Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Stars marketing efforts. The third e-mail contained a virtual tour of the stadium, with a call to contact a sales rep for ticket information.

Results: The campaign was successful on all counts, Hubach said. The first e-mail campaign, seeking renewals, had a 75% open rate and a 10% conversion rate. The second campaign allowed AAC to get some good leads through the referral program. The third campaign had an open rate of 50% and is still ongoing, Hubach said.

"The virtual tour really helped us to generate interest," he said. "We were trying to achieve a presentation, so people would come on down and have a look. We got a lot of people down here in a time when it is difficult to sell, with no basketball or hockey games going on. It was a good way to get the team and Mark Cuban back in people’s mind."

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