Cronulla Sharks to expand marketing automation efforts

Digitisation manager shares how the club is utilising digital and technology to build out its single customer view and better engage with fans of the game and club

The team behind the Cronulla Sharks is extending its application of marketing automation from membership to commercial and merchandise divisions as it aims to improve engagement across every touchpoint.

Speaking at last week’s Marketo Executive breakfast in Sydney, Cronulla Sharks head of digital commercialisation, Scott Maxworthy, described how the premiership winning club has been investing in digital and technology innovation over the past two years as it strives to build brand engagement.

The club won its first NRL Rugby League premiership in 2016, just two years after being the wooden spooners on the league table, and 49 years after formation. In the week’s lead-up to the grand final, Maxworthy said the club signed up 3500 new club members, a great opportunity to gain further data insights around individuals.

Cronulla brought on Marketo’s marketing automation in February in order to achieve a single customer view, then to use insights effectively to improve communications and interactions with both known and unknown fans of the game. Simultaneously, the club rolled out Tealium’s middleware solution as the conduit to unite data sets and plug in different vendor offerings as it expands its martech stack.

The club represents the football team, as well as owns its homeground stadium and leagues club, presenting a unique opportunity to gather customer information, Maxworthy said. With lots of industry stakeholders, including Telstra, NRL, and Fox, the solution is also allowing Cronulla Sharks to feed in external data, further enhancing its customer view.

“Having that underlying architecture and the ability to feed in that data allows us to build that single view,”he said. “We also have a host of gaming regulations to deal with, so there’s a lot of integration that needs to happen.”

To build the business case for automation, Maxworthy said his team had to find a suitable pilot area. It chose the membership base.

“We get 1.2 million website visitors, but our fan and member database was only 42,000, so there was a disconnect,” he told attendees. “We wanted to identify people coming in, but then put lead scoring around those visitors to then feed to telemarketing to follow up membership.”

To date, the club has seen a 36 per cent net increase in membership revenue, a recorded 91 per cent member retention, and a number one Net Promoter Score for NRL research, and an increase in ticket revenue.

“The ROI on Marketo was three months and that proof of concept allowed me to do more stuff,” he said.

Outside of the martech implementation, there’s been a wider transformation occurring. Over the past two years, the club has installed a new CEO, issued a mass customer research project through fan forms, brought in a high-performance coach, appointed Maxworthy to lead its digital strategy, and recruited another manager for community engagement and to build that lifetime customer connection.

From a technology point of view, the emphasis has been on improving customer experience across key engagement moments such as social, mobile and video, and via personalisation, Maxworthy continued.

As an example, he pointed to the club’s use of Stackla to share user-generated content across screens in the clubhouse around the grand final. The club saw more than 6500 pieces of content generated by fans within 12 hours of winning the grand final, while its own video footage of the team singing in the change rooms post-match reached 1 million and had 460,000 video views within hours.

In addition, the club has invested in the ability to geotarget fans within the stadium and is now looking to expand Wi-Fi capability within the homeground, again with the intention of capturing every touchpoint. It’s also building out a stadium app, which will be personalised, Maxworthy said.

Over the next 12 months, Maxworthy said the club’s commercial division will build out a similar range of programs to what the membership has built through marketing automation, so they can identify who is coming to the page, and if they’re known, feed leads to the sales team to help conversion.

“Sharks media will do more and more production types of services and building new content for new audiences, and merchandise is putting in Marketo to help with shopping cart abandonment,” he said. “The leagues club will also look to put it in [the platform], based on understanding what people are buying, such as if someone is buying coffee, what can we do around that to build loyalty and activation programs around fans.”

But while the best tools in technology are crucial to orchestrating better engagement, Maxworthy reiterated that nothing happens without the desire and passion of your people.

“Tools are important, and tech is important but what’s fundamentally important thing is the people,” he said. “If you have a passionate team working towards a common goal, you will achieve big things.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu

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

Well done, team at Larsen. Fantastic story of how to continually invest in customer experience.

Adam Frank

A designer jewellery brand's take on customer relations

Read more

Great piece Katja. It will be fascinating to see how the shift in people's perception of value will affect design, products and services ...

Paul Scott

How to design for a speculative future - Customer Design - CMO Australia

Read more

Google collects as much data as it can about you. It would be foolish to believe Google cares about your privacy. I did cut off Google fr...

Phil Davis

ACCC launches fresh legal challenge against Google's consumer data practices for advertising

Read more

“This new logo has been noticed and it replaces a logo no one really knew existed so I’d say it’s abided by the ‘rule’ of brand equity - ...

Lawrence

Brand Australia misses the mark

Read more

IMHO a logo that needs to be explained really doesn't achieve it's purpose.I admit coming to the debate a little late, but has anyone els...

JV_at_lAttitude_in_Cairns

Brand Australia misses the mark

Read more

Blog Posts

Why marketing technology utilisation is taking on new urgency

Disparate data sources, fragmented technology and a lack of funding has left many brands struggling in the battle for online customer attention amid a global pandemic. Now more than ever, brands need to focus on unlocking the value of their marketing technology.

Suzanne Croxford

Marketing technology partner, Wunderman Thompson Australia

How to design for a speculative future

For a while now, I have been following a fabulous design strategy and research colleague, Tatiana Toutikian, a speculative designer. This is someone specialising in calling out near future phenomena, what the various aspects of our future will be, and how the design we create will support it.

Katja Forbes

Managing director of Designit, Australia and New Zealand

The obvious reason Covidsafe failed to get majority takeup

Online identity is a hot topic as more consumers are waking up to how their data is being used. So what does the marketing industry need to do to avoid a complete loss of public trust, in instances such as the COVID-19 tracing app?

Dan Richardson

Head of data, Verizon Media

Sign in