Cover Story: Pats' Pact: Fans Are Family
"In the case of our new season ticket holders, a primary focus was educating them about all of the benefits they have as season ticket holders," Gelman says. "However, also, we needed to understand their expectations coming off the wait list and how we should tailor our efforts compared to more tenured season ticket holders."
The second group needing special attention was noticeably absent from the stadium: season ticket holders who had missed games.
"There were indications, based on their behavior, that they weren't going to renew," Gelman says, so the organization thought about how to generate excitement among these season ticket holders to get them back in their seats. "We defined messaging to help them understand both what they are missing by not attending a game and their alternatives, like posting their tickets to TicketExchange."
Emails alerted these season ticket holders that they were missed, that they're entitled to special privileges and that they could've sold their tickets to other season ticket holders and wait list members through the New England Patriots TicketExchange.
"Of course, we analyze their opens and clicks," Gelman says. "If people didn't open, then we knew we needed to make additional efforts to have impact. Regardless, after the first missed game, we wouldn't necessarily be concerned because there are a number of reasons why people miss games."
This first missed-game trigger email generated a 1.5 percent higher renewal rate than the control group, who didn't receive the email. Added in with the 55 percent open rate for this communication was the hot spot of "where and when" program winners, Gelman says. This most heavily clicked area of the message was where the Patriots reminded these season ticket holders, "'Hey, if you come to the game as a season ticket holder, you could win a pre-game field visit or an instant seat upgrade if we see you wearing your pin,'" Gelman says. "People are curious. They wanted to see who had won before."