In this interview, we sat down with Kevin Johansson, who works as the business to consumer manager at Västerås IK, an ice hockey club based in Västerås, Sweden. Why? To talk about how the Data Talks CDP has helped them on their journey.
Being one of several happy customers, we were excited, to say the least, to learn more about their story. So in our interview, we covered the following topics:
- What made them want to start working data-driven
- How their experience has been working with Data Talks up until now
- What amazing things they are up to and have been able to accomplish
So without further ado, let’s dive right into this exciting and inspiring meeting with Kevin from Västerås IK.
Before we dive right in...
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Introducing: Kevin at Västerås IK
Interviewer: Thank you Kevin for being here with us today. We are excited to hear your experiences and the story of Västerås IK and Data Talks. Please tell us a bit about yourself, who is Kevin Johansson?
Kevin: Being the business to consumer manager at Västerås IK, I’m involved in several different areas. This includes conceptualization of our marketing, product, development, and strategy. So it’s a role that connects a lot of different sources in the club.
My main responsibility in my role is to work with all the people that are somehow connected to our club. Our main product is of course our tickets. But we also place a lot of value on our memberships, in-arena sales, and merchandise. So these basically summarize our whole business. My role in all of this is to connect everything and develop our strategy.
“Our main product is of course our tickets. But we also place a lot of value on our memberships, in-arena sales, and merchandise. So these basically summarize our whole business.”
– Kevin| Västerås IK
What’s more, I’m also responsible for following up with the daily operative work such as selling our tickets, communicating to our members and supporters, and keeping everyone as satisfied as possible.
Interviewer: Could you tell us a bit about Västerås IK and how you run the club?
Kevin: Västerås IK plays in the second tier of ice hockey. We have the ambition to move up to the top league in Sweden known as the Swedish Hockey League (SHL). Västerås IK is currently ranked somewhere between 14 and 18 place. So top 20 in the Swedish hockey system which we are very proud of.
We are based in Västerås, which is actually pronounced exactly the same as Westeros in Game of Thrones. A reference that we are also very proud of. Västerås is in fact the 7th largest city in Sweden, with a population of over 150’000 people. So our ambition is of course to ensure most of them attend in the arena when we play our ice hockey games. Our attendance level is about 3000 people per game during the regular season. And during the playoffs, we can have a maximum of 4200 people attending in the arena, which is kind of the base setup of our club.
Life before working data-driven
Interviewer: What was it like before you started using Data Talks CDP? And what made you at Västerås IK decide to work data-driven?
Kevin: The strategy to start working data-driven is pretty easy to answer. I myself was born in the 90s, and I know that many people use digital services in their daily lives. Our whole society has changed over the years, and we as a sports business need to follow in the same direction.
At the same time, I realized how many people were involved in all our data sources. I understood that we needed a robust solution that could connect everything and keep it all in order. Because everyone at the club needs to have the right data about the right people. Only then would we be able to truly develop and grow our club. We have 150’000 people in the city and about 200’000 in our close region.
Obviously then, we needed the right tools and resources to reach all of these people and communicate with them in a way that was simple and logical. So from that point, it felt clear what we needed to do to get this going.
“Before I arrived at Västerås IK, I worked for another club in the top league which had a CDP. So when I got here to Västerås IK, which then was a club without a CDP that could unify all the club’s different sources, it was chaotic.”
– Kevin| Västerås IK
(Kevin continued): We probably had between 5-6 different systems. None of them were connected to one another and the database references were in excel files. Simply put, it was all a big mess. It was so hard to manage all our data.
To give an example, if one of our supporters would make some changes to their data in one of our systems, I had to manually update that same data in systems 1, 2,3,4, etc, accordingly. It’s both a nightmare and an impossible task to do timewise. We were wasting so much time and energy, which in turn was building up frustration within me since I’m the one responsible for all of this.
Fortunately, we realized that it wasn’t sustainable to keep doing things like this and that we, indeed, needed a CDP. And from that point forward, we became so much more efficient and so much better. Thanks to my own experience of working with a CDP at another club, I realized that we need a CDP in order to work data-driven. It was an eye-opener for me that I cannot work without a CDP.
Interviewer: What made you choose Data Talks?
Kevin: I want to see myself as a first mover at the front edge of development. So I was obviously searching for someone with similar qualities. A partner that could provide a service where I would feel like, okay, this is a company with people at the forefront of development. I want to be in an environment where I feel like we are in a top league. That we have the best service and tools.
“I want to see myself as a first mover at the front edge of development. So I was obviously searching for someone with similar qualities. A company that could provide a service where I would feel like, okay, this is a company with people at the forefront of development.”
– Kevin| Västerås IK
Function-wise, we needed a solution that could unify all our data streams into one. My dream scenario was to have one data stream that connects all of our product lines and communication lines. Because I don’t want to sit down and work in 2,3 or more different systems.
I also share a passion for design. So it was essential for us to choose a solution that looked and felt professional. Having a user-friendly interface was a must. I know that there is software out there that probably has okay functionalities but does not look like they are a top-of-the-league service. So that is what I was searching for. Also, we wanted to find a partner that could work with us on the level that we are at as a club. Both in terms of understanding our customer base and within our financial grasp.
So when I identified all of those cases, I began my quest for a solution that could deliver this. And so today, here we are with Data Talks CDP, a CDP that has delivered beyond our expectations.
“[…] so today, here we are with Data Talks CDP, a CDP that has delivered beyond our expectations.”
– Kevin| Västerås IK
Life after starting to work with Data Talks [up until now]
Interviewer: If you were to choose one thing that made you choose Data Talks, what would that thing be?
Kevin: After our first meeting with Data Talks, I already knew that this was the partner we needed to work with. The quality of the service, such as the scope of the service and the design, in combination with their expertise in sports, made choosing Data Talks a given. It is, of course, hard to choose just one thing, but in general, it was the overall feeling of the service.
Interviewer: What have you been able to achieve since using Data Talks CDP?
Kevin: The Data Talks CDP has helped us connect all our data sources from our ticket system, membership sales, and merchandise sales. On top of this, the CDP combines that with providing us with two other functionalities, an email and SMS builder. This means we’re able to collect, unify, and analyze all of our data and then act on it via these tools. We are basically able to communicate the right messages to our supporters using insights from our data. We can now rely on having it all in the Data Talks CDP instead of depending on other multiple services, which is obviously the dream situation for us.
Interviewer: How do you use Data Talks CDP, and how do you find that process?
Kevin: The support from Data Talks has been tremendous. I really appreciated the support from the Data Talks Customer Success team all the way in this process. In all aspects of our partnership so far, which is soon a year from now, the support has always been perfect. I mean, I do feel like members of the Data Talks team are people who really care about their work and their customers. They have a solution-minded approach to everything and want to help us and fix things for us.
“The support from Data Talks has been tremendous. I really appreciated the support from the Data Talks CS team all the way in this process. In all aspects of our partnership so far, which is soon a year now, the support has always been perfect.”
– Kevin| Västerås IK
Our experience with other data suppliers has been that they don’t share the same commitment and customer engagement as Data Talks. But thanks to Data Talks, we have been able to make everything that we wanted to do happen. We have now been able to connect all our different data sources into one place, analyze each supporter’s specific needs and behaviors, and then deliver communications to them that have been created just for them.
What accomplishments have you made using Data Talks CDP?
Interviewer: How have you benefited from using the Data Talks CDP?
Kevin: One of the most powerful capabilities of the Data Talks CDP is the segmentation capability. It has allowed us to use our own creativity or imagination to make things happen.
Two successful use cases
Hyper-targeting supporter segments
Kevin: One of the things that we have done is that we made a cross-reference segment with our ticketing and merchandise. I have been eager to find out what kind of people buy merchandise but never buy a ticket and what kind of people buy tickets but don’t buy merchandise. But now, thanks to the Data Talks CDP, we have been able to separate these two groups of people into two different segments. This has in turn let us explore how we can approach them. This has been extremely useful since we obviously want all our fans and supporters to buy all our products and offerings. So this is one use case.
Finally sharing exclusive content with passionate members
Kevin: Another use case involves the SMS function in the Data Talks CDP. We have a lot of passionate members. And one of the most valuable things for them in their membership is our exclusive communication. Before we had the SMS function, we could not leverage this type of communication approach. But today, we can send out exclusive information about our team and our players to specific members and segments. In fact, we shared a big message yesterday about our star goalie, one of the biggest names on our roster, who has made a comeback. He was injured for a month and is now back practicing.
If we would go back five years, […] we would have never been able to connect it to a revenue stream. But thanks to the Data Talks CDP, we are now able to create messages that both generate revenue and create customer value.
– Kevin| Västerås IK
If we would go back five years, we would have just put out the word about this news on our webpage. We would have never been able to connect it to a revenue stream. But thanks to the Data Talks CDP, we are now able to create messages that both generate revenue and create customer value. So with this news about our star goalie making a comeback, we sent this message via SMS. And we could choose to send this information to our members only and not to everyone in the database. So today, we have a strategy in our club that involves that we want to do things for those who invest in our club.
Interviewer: How has Data Talks CDP improved your day-to-day life?
Kevin: Once again, life before the Data Talks CDP was a lot of chaos. I invested so much of my time in unnecessary tasks or tasks that should be done automatically. Today with the Data Talks CDP, my working life has become so much more effective and so much easier. I can now put my energy where it needs to be and automate everything that had been done manually before. The CDP does it for me. So from previously having a stressful day-to-day working life where I had to be hands-on in everything, I can now set up whatever I need in the CDP which then does all the work for me.
Just yesterday evening, we released our tickets for our playoffs, our biggest game of the season so far. In the evening, I sat on my computer and worked in the Data Talks CDP. I made a couple of segments and also prepared some emails. So instead of having a bunch of manual work that I would have had to have done before, today I played hockey with my colleagues. Then I went to a tennis partner tournament. So the Data Talks CDP has given me time to do things that matter to me. It has really been a game-changer.
Interviewer: How effective were your campaigns, and how much revenue did they generate?
Kevin: Västerås IK has set a club record in all our B2C revenue streams this season. We have increased our B2C revenue by 30% during 2022 so, and the Data Talks CDP has, of course, played a pivotal role in achieving this. And without Covid, this number would have been even higher. So on our single ticket sales, we have set a new club record. On our season ticket sales, we also set a new club record. And the same for our membership sales. This is something we are very proud of.
“Västerås IK has set a club record in all B2C revenue streams this season. We have increased our B2C revenue by 30% during 2022 so far, and the Data Talks CDP has, of course, played a pivotal role in achieving this.”
– Kevin| Västerås IK
Another success is that our supporters now get the correct information. Our emails and SMS now reach the right people with the right message. We have also seen a strong correlation between big email send-outs and ticket sale conversions. Because we convert many ticket purchases straight away right after the email send-outs.
Interviewer: What made you the happiest about working with Data Talks?
Kevin: It is the simplicity and the effectiveness of the Data Talks CDP and what it does for my everyday life that makes me the happiest. I am very happy with the support I have received from the Data Talks team.
It is the simplicity and the effectiveness of the Data Talks CDP and what it does for my everyday life that makes me the happiest.
Conclusion and key takeaways from the interview
From having their data scattered across different sources to having all their data assembled in their very own data arsenal, it’s safe to say that Västerås IK is now officially a data-driven ice hockey club that can proudly stand on the podium among other innovators in sports. They have seen and understood that data is the key to:
- increasing and maximizing revenue generation
- finding new revenue opportunities
- working more efficiently than ever before
So what are the key takeaways from this interview? Many of course, but here are the ones you shouldn’t forget:
- Working data-driven is crucial for sports clubs that want to grow and thrive in a sustainable way.
- To work data-driven and eliminate time-consuming manual work, sports clubs need to first and foremost connect and unify all of their data in one place – which a CDP has been specifically built to do.
- Moreover, when searching for a CDP partner, sports clubs should seek a partner that is specialized in sports and understands their specific needs.
- When working with the right Sports CDP partner, not only will you optimize your current revenue streams, but you can also create new ones.
Want to learn how your sports organization can optimize its current revenue streams all while creating new ones? Then check out our free demo and see the Data Talks CDP in action.
After all, seeing is believing, right?