Catapult your supporter lifetime value

Author 22
Lorraine Moalosi
Feautred image catapult your supporter lifetime value

You love your supporters. They have been with you through thick and thin and they keep your sports organization afloat. Although you are grateful for them, you would also like more from them. They would preferably buy more season tickets, more merchandise and engage with your organization a bit more. As a result, you have been innovating and making sure that they get the best experience from you. So the question then is, how do you get your supporters to spend more in supporting your organization? That is, how can you increase your supporter lifetime value?

In this blog post we will be discussing:

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What supporter lifetime value is

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Why your supporter lifetime value matters

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And how you can catapult it to new levels

Before we dive right in...

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    Women holding a laptop next to a orange robot

    What is supporter lifetime value?

    Supporter lifetime value is a measure of the total revenue a sports organization can expect to bring in from a typical supporter for as long as that supporter keeps engaging and interacting with your organization. Simply put, it’s a calculations of how much a supporter is worth to the organization, monetarily. It is important for any organization to know the value of each supporter because:

    A graph showing the value of different supporters to the organization
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    It will help you with your marketing budget allocation

    The worst thing you could do is spend your limited budget on targeting a supporter who has no interest in spending much on your organization. And equally worse, not targeting that supporter who is constantly engaging with your organization. So knowing each supporter lifetime value will help you target the right supporter with the right message at the right time and through the right channel. 

    Furthermore, sometimes it’s not a matter of which people to target within your existing supporter base but rather, how much you should be spending to attract new supporters. That is, how much should you be spending on retaining supporters and increasing their lifetime value versus attracting and acquiring new supporters who could potentially spend more than your current supporters.

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    This will help you make better decisions

    Deciding the ratio of budget to spend on acquisition versus retention is not a decision you make willy nilly. You have to know your potential return-on-investment from each decision. Of course, it’s a proven fact that acquisition costs any organization more than retention. However, does this mean that you should not be trying to get new supporters who could potentially be high value supporters? Not at all. So you have to know your current supporter lifetime value in order to make better decisions.

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    It will help you stay profitable while giving your supporters a world-class experience

    In order to know your each supporter’s lifetime value, you need to understand your supporters. And then give them personalized experienced. The natural consequence of this is that you become more profitable. Especially because you would be employing fool-proof segmentation strategies and personalized targeting. Therefore knowing your supporter lifetime value is important because it helps you remain profitable without compromising on supporter experience.

    How to catapult your supporter lifetime value to new levels

    There are many creative ways of increasing your supporter lifetime value. But we would be remiss if we gave you only short team methods of doing this. That’s why we will first begin by focusing on the most important long term strategy. This strategy will give you a full understanding of your supporter lifetime value, not only at an aggregate level but also at an individual level. And what is this strategy?

    Using a sports CDP to power your supporter lifetime value goals

    Image of a sports CDP which organizations can use to get supporter insights - this is one of the biggest sports trends

    One of the biggest hurdles to enjoying all the benefits of knowing each supporter’s lifetime value is that, calculating supporter lifetime value can be hard. While tools like Customer Relationship Management systems (CRMs) claim to calculate this with ease, that’s not exactly the case. For example, a CRM relies a lot on manual data uploads. Plus it also has limited data collection ability and low data unification and consolidation ability. So with a tool like this and many others out there, you need to do a lot of manual work. Which will end up eating up a lot of your time and effort. Then enters a CDP. 

    Did you know that with a CDP, you can understand your supporter’s buying behaviour fully. You will get full insights on what a supporter buys, where and when they bought it, how often and to what value. Therefore effectively truely measuring their lifetime value.

    Let’s take at a use case – Supporter lifetime value ticketing

    How to increase ticket sales

    At an aggregate level

    It’s always great to have an organization wide overview of your supporters and be able to categorize them neatly into different groups. With our sports CDP, for example, you can have indepth insight on your supporters based on their ticketing purchasing behaviour. For instance, you can see your active supporters, idle supporters, potential churners and churned supporters. And why is it important that you know this? Because then you can act appropriately, taking your marketing from reactive to proactive. For example, if you realise that you have a lot of potential churners, that is, supporters who have not engaged with you in a long time, you can create a campaign targeted at keeping them as supporters. This kind of proactivity is important to sports organisations because the cost of acquiring a new supporter is much higher than retaining your current supporters.

    Did you know that: 

    1. Acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer.
    2. Increasing customer retention by 5% can increase profits from 25-95%.
    3. The success rate of selling to a customer you already have is 60-70%, while the success rate of selling to a new customer is 5-20% (source: Outbound Engine)
    Graph showing the cost of acquiring a new supporter versus retaining current supporters
    Source: Nextsale

    At a micro level

    So now you the ratio of active supporters to passive supporters. Now what? A sports CDP has you covered on both ends because once you can discover the trend within your supporters’ ticket purchasing behaviour, you can act on this, at an individual level. Since the CDP unifies supporter data at an individual level, it means that you will have a clear picture of who it is exactly that belongs to the above categories we spoke about. And then you can segment them into specific groups. For example, those who once bought season tickets but haven’t bought any tickets at all in the last 12 months. You can drill down on this list and make sure that you give these supporters an incentive to actually buy a ticket this time. You can do this through personalization.

    a 3D dashboard from Data Talks CDP analytics framework

    To see how this would look in action, explore the Data Talks CDP demo >>

    How to increase your supporter lifetime value

    Now that we have covered the most reliable long term strategy to increasing your supporter lifetime value, let’s look at what you can do in the short term to get you results. These strategies together with the sports CDP are your winning combination.

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    Deliver a world-class supporter experience

    Supporters watching sports in the comfort of their home

    No matter how hard you try, you cannot get away from the fact that you need to give your supporters a world-class supporter experience. This is getting easier and easier nowadays. From delivering a seamless experience by ensuring that you have an omni-channel strategy to using technology to drive this, the sky is the limit. But whatever you decide to do, make sure that your experience is:

    • Reliable – simple things like punctuality at matches matter. 
    • Consistent – don’t provide high quality experiences one day and then poor quality the next day
    • Seamless – your online and offline experiences should complement each other
    • Convenient – if your supporters have to jump through hoops to experience your games, then the chances of them sticking around are quite low, right?

    Ways to ensure world-class supporter experience

    1. Can your supporters readily give you feedback? If you paused for even a second to ask yourself, maybe it’s time to revisit your feedback process. Surveys, reviews and ratings are a few examples of how you can get feedback. After games, a purchase or interacting with your content, are there ways for your supporters to tell you what they thought of the experience. Another excellent way to get feedback is to practice social listening. What are people, not just your supporters, saying about you online. Is it positive, negative or mixed? Never shy away from an opportunity to get feedback because this is your moment to listen and adapt.
    2. Are you delivering personalized content? We have written extensively about the importance of personalization, and for a good reason. You need to ensure that you deliver the right message to the right supporter at the right time and through the right channels. This process is what we call personalization in a nutshell. Personalization is a non-negotiable. This is something that the CDP can definitely help you with.
    3. Most importantly, are you working data driven to deliver your supporter experiences? Working data driven helps you understand your supporters deeply so you can really personalize your communications with them. Again, this is another area that the CDP excels in.
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    Email Marketing

    Did you know that email marketing yields 4x more return-on-investment than any other digital channel? And that supporters who purchase products through email spend 138% more than those who don’t receive email offers? With numbers like these, email marketing is a no-brainer.

    A graph depicting the results of using email marketing
    Source: Think3

    Remember that personalization we discussed earlier? Email marketing is where you can really use personalization to boost your supporter lifetime value. Many sports organizations make the mistake of assuming that their fans wil buy their “products” because “they want to”. The truth is, even if your supporters did indeed want to buy something from you, a ticket to a game for example, there are many things competing for your supporters attention. Think Netflix, museum, parties with friends. Whatever the case, there are a lot of other entertainment sources your fans can choose from. So leaving their purchase decision to whenever they are ready to buy is not a great strategy. Instead you should do what we call strategic marketing.

    So you know that Meghan O’Donoghuey is your supporter. After analysing your CDP data, you realise that, Meghan used to buy season tickets regularly. But now she hasn’t bought any tickets from you in the last 12 months. You see however that Meghan is still subscribed to your newsletter and opens all your emails. Why not create an email marketing campaign targeting her. Instead of sending a random, buy a ticket now email once. You can really fine tune your messaging so that Meghan can feel a personal connection with your organization. Something along the lines of, “Dear Meghan, we have missed you at the stadium. Why not join us at our next game? Here’s a 10% discount just for you…” And then if Meghan doesn’t purchase you send another email reminding her of the discount some time later.

    You can be as creative as you want with email marketing. The more creative the better the results.

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    Have loyalty programs

    Loyalty card, ticket, basketball and a baseball

    Open your purse or wallet. Seriously, open your wallet now. How many cards to shops and stores do you have right now? Before you think, well I never use any of these cards, you have to first admit that loyalty programs work. Now think about the card you use most often. For me, it’s my local cafe’s loyalty card. You know why? Because:

    • I find the incentives relevant to me
    • They are also attainable 
    • There are a lot of options to choose from
    • I really like their products in general

    Now why not try to create a loyalty program like that for your sports fans? That would be the difference between your card ending up in the dark corners of someone’s wallet never to see the light again versus your supporters loving your program so much that they engage with you often. Go through your list of products. From the game day experience, to merchandise, the online experience and food and beverages, how can you create a comprehensive loyalty program your supporters will go crazy for?


    Use your CDP to uncover your supporters buying patterns. Which of your products do your supporters often interact with simultaneously? How often do they do this? Do your supporters mostly interact with you online or offline? It would be a waste of time to create a physical card if most of your supporters interact with you online. After you analyse your supporter data stored in the CDP, use it to help you create your loyalty program.

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    Drive value by cross-selling and up-selling

    An illustration showing the difference between cross-selling and upselling

    Do you know why your favourite takeaway place is always asking you if you want extra cheese? And why your local cafe barista is always asking you if you want something to eat with your coffee? Yep! Cross-selling and up-selling. This is something that you can do in your sports organization as well. This will help you push your supporter lifetime value. Which of products do your supporters often enjoy together? The obvious one is buying food and beverages at the stadium while watching your games. So why not make it easier for your supporters to buy merchandise and/or food beverages after they buy tickets from you?

    You can do this both online and offline. If your supporter buys a ticket online, ask them for their email so you can send them a voucher or discount code for a limited edition merch or for the meal of the day at the stadium. You do not even need to send them a discount code, you can send them a link to ordering meals in stadium so they can cut queues. Create some kind of value for them. I am sure your supporters will appreciate cutting queues just as much as a discount. If they bought their ticket offline, in stadium, you can offer them a free stamp on their loyalty card if they purchase a specific drink or meal, whatever the case.

    The main point is to ensure that you drive value for them.


    Creating maximum value for your supporters is a win-win situation. Catapulting your supporter lifetime value as part of your main strategy is one effective way to really create maximum value for your supporters. While there are numerous methods you can employ to do this, only one matters the most. Without it, everything else produces limited results. This one methods is using a sports CDP.

    The sports CDP will help you:

    1. Understand your supporters web and purchasing behaviour. This will give you the appropriate insights to help you make the right decisions when trying to find creative ways to increase your supporter lifetime value
    2. Take your strategic communications to the next level. With a CDP, you know the exact emails to send to your supporters and when, depending on the actions they take.  For example, if an supporter purchases a ticket you can use trigger messaging to thank them. However, if a supporter doesn’t buy a ticket, you can send them a reminder to purchase.
    3. Give your supporters the personal touch. A CDP excels at personalized communications so you can rest assured that you will always the right message to the right supporter at the right time and through the right channel.

    Now, doesn’t that sound fantastic?

    a 3D dashboard from Data Talks CDP analytics framework

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