Thinking of fans as customers: Australian Rugby Union's data journey

CRM manager talks through how ARU is better engaging with customers around the football game thanks to data analytics and metrics-based interaction

Football fans are used to putting up with a lot – poor weather, poor umpiring and for some teams, poor performances. But in an era where competition for fans – and their money – is fierce, football codes need to begin thinking of them more like customers than hardcore loyalists.

That is the task for Jade McAuslan, CRM manager at the Australian Rugby Union (ARU). A self-confessed ‘massive rugby fan’, McAuslan joined the ARU seven years ago after a period spent working in insights for PepsiCo.

It was in her previous job that McAuslan learned the value of data and metrics. But she found she had very little to work with at the ARU, where commercial decisions were being made based on ‘gut feel’ judgements.

“We had a bit of data on our customer, but we didn’t really know what they were doing,” she says.

This was despite the ARU having been the first sporting body in Australia to implement a CRM system in 2003. McAuslan says the system had been heavily customised over time, which both created a significant management burden while preventing it from being upgraded. Furthermore, the methods used for gathering data led to multiple records being kept for individual members.

What was needed was a single view of ARU’s customers. In early 2013 the ARU called in Accenture, which presented the options of either adopting Salesforce.com or Microsoft Dynamix. After four months of evaluation and some fierce negotiations, Salesforce was chosen.

“It really was the product that was going to get us a competitive advantage,” McAuslan says. “We could implement it quickly, and we saw it as an opportunity to leapfrog our competitors.”

The green light for the implementation was given in July last year, with a staged implementation completed by September. In the process the ARU reduced its customer records down from 1.1 million down to 500,000.

“We are now at a stage where we have clean, qualified members,”McAuslan says. “So now we can plan six months ahead, and that would never have happened before.”

The implementation has also led to greater accountability within ARU in terms of communications with members, and will lead to improvements in many of the interactions members have with the organisation.

The next step is to build on the clean contact data with relationship data about each member. McAuslan says that will give her the ability to analyse the reasons why members drop, and will provide information as to where the ARU should focus its growth efforts.

While her work has been well received within the ARU, McAuslan says the use of dashboards has really helped sell it to senior management.

“People love to be able to see what’s going on, and we’ve never had anything like that, ever,” she says.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia

Signup to CMO’s new email newsletter to receive your weekly dose of targeted content for the modern marketing chief.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Building a human-curated brand

If the FANG (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google) sector and their measured worth are the final argument for the successful 21st Century model, then they are beyond reproach. Fine-tuning masses of algorithms to reduce human touchpoints and deliver wild returns to investors—all with workforces infinitesimally small compared to the giants of the 20th Century—has been proven out.

Will Smith

Co-founder and head of new markets, The Plum Guide

Sustainability trends brands can expect in 2020

​Marketers have made strides this year in sustainability with the number of brands rallying behind the Not Business As Usual alliance for action against climate change being a sign of the times. While sustainability efforts have gained momentum this year, 2020 is shaping up to be the year brands are really held accountable for their work in this area.

Ben King

CSR manager & sustainability expert, Finder

The trouble with Scotty from Marketing

As a Marketer, the ‘Scotty from Marketing’ meme troubles me.

Natalie Robinson

Director of marketing and communications, Melbourne Polytechnic

It's a pretty interesting article to read. I will learn more about this company later.

Dan Bullock

40 staff and 1000 contracts affected as foodora closes its Australian operations

Read more

If you think it can benefit both consumer and seller then it would be great

Simon Bird

Why Ford is counting on the Internet of Things to drive customer engagement

Read more

It's a good idea. Customers really should control their data. Now I understand why it's important.

Elvin Huntsberry

Salesforce CMO: Modern marketers have an obligation to give customers control of their data

Read more

Instagram changes algorithms every time you get used to them. It really pisses me off. What else pisses me off? The fact that Instagram d...

Nickwood

Instagram loses the like in Australia; industry reacts positively

Read more

I tried www.analisa.io to see my Instagram Insight

Dina Rahmawati

7 marketing technology predictions for 2016

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in