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Finding fans Featured

5:08am EDT November 1, 2005
Data is the lifeblood of any basketball coach.

Free-throw percentage, three-point percentage, turnovers and steals all are used to help take subjectivity out of decision-making and apply more science than art.

The Cleveland Cavaliers organization is taking a similar sort of approach to better targeting its sales efforts. Why waste limited resources on targeting consumers who aren’t very likely to attend a Cavs game? It would be the equivalent of taking half-court shots in a game of H-O-R-S-E: You might make one every once in awhile, but the odds are heavily against you.

Instead, the Cavs, under the guidance of Damion Chatmon, director of database marketing, are identifying the demographic groups that are most likely to buy a ticket and focusing sales efforts toward those groups. The organization took its existing databases and worked with Strongsville-based C.TRAC information solutions to develop a profile of both corporate and individual customers who are most likely to buy season tickets.

“The goal is efficiency,” says Chatmon. “By having a more targeted list of profiles to work off of, the more productive per call we are. Our call-to-sales ratio has increased.

“It’s like a la carte. We are able to provide SIC codes, income, ZIP codes, employee size or sales revenues generated by companies. We can say, ‘We want this sector in Eastern Cleveland or this ZIP code or this group of SIC codes and go after that. We’ve had very positive results. A lot has to be said about the direction of the team and the organization, because we’ve really taken off. The launch pad is hot, and we are going places that have yet to be determined. But a lot can also be attributed to our database collection efforts.”

As a result, when the Cavs buy prospects lists, they only need about 20 percent of the names they needed previously to achieve the same level of sales because they know exactly who is most likely to buy their tickets.

“Our motivation is centered on targeting a more focused prospect,” says Tad Carper, vice president of communications for Quicken Loans Arena. “Our advertising and internal marketing resources are becoming more and more dedicated to targeted approaches to consumers who are more likely to purchase tickets. The more targeted and pre-profiled the person we send the message to is, the more likely sales will respond positively. You are seeing this across the entertainment industry.”

Beside external sources, the organization is also constantly collecting data internally through contests and e-mail newsletters.

“The trend is online sales,” says Chatmon. “Folks are embracing technology, and it is extremely efficient. When news came of the collective bargaining agreement, within 15 to 20 minutes, we were able to blast that to our fan base.”

The data is also analyzed to develop links to related products. For example, those interested in Cavaliers’ games may also be interested in the Mid-American Conference basketball tournament. The arena is doing the same thing with other events: People interested in Shania Twain are likely to be interested in other country singers, so databases can be refined so direct mail and other marketing efforts are directed at those who have the most potential to buy.

“We are constantly looking for similarities in audiences and comparing that to our database,” says Carper.

The Cavs also have to make sure they are using the right medium. A focus group of kids between the ages of 8 and 18 showed that 70 percent were getting their event information through e-mail.

“It comes back to how we can most effectively market to the fans of tomorrow,” says Carper. “It makes all the data even more relevant.”

How to reach: The Cleveland Cavaliers, (216) 420-2000; C.TRAC, (440) 572-1000