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

Latest Videos

More Videos

Thank you for sharing your knowledge. Definitely bookmarked for future reading! Check this website https://a2designlab.com/ with lots of ...

Pierce Fabreverg

Study: Gen Z are huge opportunity for brands

Read more

Thanks for sharing. You might want to check this website https://lagimcardgame.com/. An up and coming strategic card game wherein the cha...

Pierce Fabreverg

Board games distributor partners with Deliveroo in business strategy pivot

Read more

Such an important campaign, dyslexia certainly need more awareness. Amazing to see the work Code Read is doing. On the same note we are a...

Hugo

New campaign aims to build understanding around scope and impact of dyslexia

Read more

Great Job on this article! It demonstrates how much creativity, strategy and effort actually goes to produce such unique logo and brandin...

Pierce Fabreverg

Does your brand need a personality review? - Brand vision - CMO Australia

Read more

Here’s an article on solving the most complex customer queries without a delay. Hope it helpswww.engati.com/blog/address...

soham

How to manage social media during Covid-19

Read more

Blog Posts

A few behavioural economics lesson to get your brand on top of the travel list

Understanding the core principles of Behavioural Economics will give players in the travel industry a major competitive advantage when restrictions lift and travellers begin to book again. And there are a few insights in here for the rest of the marketing community, too.

Dan Monheit

Co-founder, Hardhat

Predicting the Future: Marketing science or marketing myth?

Unicorns, the Sunken City of Atlantis, Zeus: They are very famous. So famous in fact, that we often think twice about whether they are real or not. Sometimes if we talk about something widely enough, and for long enough, even the strangest fiction can seem like fact. But ultimately it is still fiction - stories we make up and tell ourselves over and over until we believe.

Kathy Benson

Chief client officer, Ipsos

Winning means losing in the game of customer retention

At a time of uncertainty and economic hardship, customer retention takes on much greater importance. CX Lavender’s Linda O’Grady examines the big grey area between ‘all’ and ‘best’ customers when deciding who is worth fighting for and how.

Linda O'Grady

Data Strategy Partner & Business Partner, CX Lavender

Sign in