Shaquille O'Neal's call to Cleveland Cavaliers fans on July 2 held double meaning for the NBA franchise. That day, phones rang for 32,595 Cavs fans who then learned from The Big Witness himself that they could come watch the new center in his quest to "Win a Ring for the King."
While more than 75 percent of the mobile and landline numbers matched to already committed courtside spectators of the King—or forward LeBron James—and were simply receiving Shaq's "thank-you" for welcoming him to Cleveland, Shaq asked the remaining 7,300 landline call recipients to press "1" to be transferred to a sales representative to buy 2009-2010 season tickets. Ticket packages range from $440 to more than $7,000. Those prospects still are calling in a month later to buy tickets, says Jeff Ryznar, the Cavaliers' director of strategic marketing.
The team tapped Indianapolis-based Vontoo, an opt-in voice message marketing service provider, to complete 12,918 landline and 19,677 mobile calls immediately after Shaq's first news conference in Cleveland. (In which Cavs fans learned that his four NBA titles aren't enough—he wants to help James win a championship ring.)
Target Marketing: Were the calls part of a larger campaign?
Jeff Ryznar: It was part of an entire campaign with the announcement and the press conference of Shaquille O'Neal being brought to our team. We videotaped Shaquille O'Neal in a video message that went out to our e-mail subscribers, and then we also recorded [him] doing a voice message that went out to our season ticket holders, our corporate partners as well as our suite holders, our opt-ins for our mobile text alerts program, as well as prospective season ticket holders who we have been working with or had worked with in the past. ... It was more of a thank-you to our fans and as a way for them to have a little more interaction with our team and with our players. So the main goal of this was just to introduce Shaquille O'Neal and to get the buzz in the marketplace with his presence on our team.