Digital marketing platform Tradable Bits has set the goal of serving as the central nervous system of fan marketing.
The company was founded in 2010 by Darshan Kaler and Dmitry Khrisanov and over time, Kaler, Khrisanov and their team has connected big name brands, events and teams with fans and customers in real time.
Sporting clubs and franchises who have utilised the platform include the NFL’s Washington Redskins, NHL’s Vancouver Canucks and college gridiron’s Florida Gators. It has allowed them to gain a bigger picture of their fans, help develop focused advertising and generate meaningful leads to enable them to market themselves smarter and limit wasteful spending on marketing campaigns.
To break the platform down, it provides tools to organise a team’s customer base, measure the effectiveness of sponsorship activations and social media engagement campaigns and aggregate user-generated content, all with the aim of personalising messages to fans.
Digital Marketing Manager Emily Taylor gave Bullpen an in-depth view about how the company’s platform fits into an organisation’s ecosystem and its plans for Australia.
Bullpen: Describe how Tradable Bits’ platform helps brands, teams or marketers engage fans? Of course, teams intend to develop evolved marketing campaigns, raise awareness, publicise ticketing information, or obtain greater fan data/merchandise data, but can you take us through some reasons why teams would integrate Tradable Bits’ platform into their fan marketing campaigns?
Emily Taylor: “With so much of fan engagement occurring on social media, teams often have a social network giant between them and their fans. Every interaction with their fans actually benefits that network, not their team, by giving it more information about their fans, that it then uses to improve ad targeting for itself and thus their own profits.
“Their ticketing data is often also locked within the silo of their particular provider, such as Ticketmaster, so teams don’t really understand which of the fans that engage with them online actually buy tickets. Email platforms and traditional CRM (customer relationship management) systems don’t take into account the social graph of a team’s fans, which is a hugely missed opportunity given most fans go to games with friends and family. Social networks have mapped out these relationships, and teams aren’t able to access this without a social login tool and a social-first CRM. This lack of insight results in a ton of wasted money on poorly targeted ads or just a generally poor understanding about who their fans are and what motivates them to come to games.
“Tradable Bits serves as a central circuit board for all fan data, from tickets bought, contests entered, emails sent, ads clicked and websites visited. Our integrations with all the major social networks and ticketing platforms allow us to link fan profiles across platforms and provide our teams with a crystal-clear picture of each individual fan.
“Our tools for contests, social login and social media aggregation bring every interaction between a fan and their chosen team onto one platform that the team completely controls. This helps them understand their fans so they can provide better experiences worth buying and sharing with friends.”
BP: Why is it important to personalise, and even leverage, how a team markets themselves or their product to fans?
ET: “Consumers are overwhelmed with information. Teams aren’t just competing against other teams, they compete against family photos, updates from friends, other events that have nothing to do with sports as well as the multitude of ads served to fans every day. The way to stand out is to serve fans content that is timely, relevant and contextualised in their social lives.
“Teams must act like trusted friends and thus speak to fans like they really know them. It only takes a couple fans reporting a brand’s self-promoting ads to be implicitly or explicitly banned from ever speaking to their fans again. Personalising communication with fans is essential to a team’s success if they ever hope to advertise on social media without paying exorbitant fees to reach their audience.
“Personalised ads not only convert better, they also result in organic reach from fans engaging with your ads. Sending a relevant, timely ad to a cluster of socially connected fans results in conversations in the comments of your ads.”
BP: Are you able to detail successful integrations of Tradable Bits’ platform by sporting teams, and what made it successful?
ET: “Amongst successful campaigns by the Florida Gators and Vancouver Whitecaps, I’ll give you two NBA team examples: The Dallas Mavericks targeted fans and their friends with relatable promoted posts instead of aggressive ticket ads, earning more sales while maintaining a positive brand experience.
“The Mavericks know that fans go to their games for an experience with friends, not just to see their team win. They wanted to use their fans’ influence to make their invitation to buy tickets go even farther for less budget spent.
“Combining sales data from Ticketmaster with real-time fan data from Tradable Bits Fan CRM gave the Mavs an ad audience of ticket buyers’ friends. Their storytelling video ads resonated so well with fans, that 46% of ad traffic was from organic shares from fans and friends. This extra boost from fans earned a 73% better cost per acquisition than the industry average, and a 46 times ad ROI.
“And secondly, the Portland Trail Blazers provided global awareness and qualified leads to their sponsor Alaska Air by empowering fans all over the world to show their ‘Rip City’ team spirit.
“Hoping to reach the globe-trotting Portland Trail Blazers fan community, Alaska Airlines partnered with the team to power a high-value engagement campaign. The Trail Blazers invited their fans from all over the world to share their team spirit photos with Alaska Airlines on the social network of their choice, for a chance to win the trip of a lifetime and tickets to their next game.
“Tradable Bits Stream (user-generated content aggregator) collected over 3000 on-brand photos that fans posted to Twitter, Instagram and directly to the contest through Facebook. The team then highlighted the best entries on their contest microsite, where fans could vote for their favourite after providing some contact information to the Blazers. Not only did fans enjoy it, but Alaska Airlines benefited earning a list of over 2,000,000 verified leads to contact about their Mileage Plan.”
BP: Citing such partnerships as the one with Football Federation Australia, can you describe a little bit about the motivations for entering the Australian market? And what is the company hoping to achieve here?
ET: “Australia has essentially come to us. We’re a global company with partners across numerous regions. We had made some connections at international events like South by Southwest and SEAT (Sports and Entertainment Alliance in Technology) Conference and saw it was a viable market.
“With our headquarters in Canada, Australia is a fairly compatible time zone, so we can still communicate well and provide excellent service. Australia is a passionate country that loves their sports teams, and we’ve seen their teams enjoy the same results as our North American partners. We have plans to continue to expand in Australia. If we gain enough traction over the next year, our plan is to open an office in Australia.”