Experience’s resident baseball guy, Nick Arndt, has the privilege of working with our 26 MLB team partners. The hot topic he’s been hearing about most recently is Experience Pass technology to sell single-game tickets targeted at student buyers.
One such team, the Arizona Diamondbacks, leverage Experience’s flexible ticket sales to target this young, millennial demographic with the vision of creating lifelong D-back fans before they hit their prime earning years. Nick recently caught up with Kenny Farrell, VP of Marketing & Analytics with the Arizona Diamondbacks, for a brief Q&A about the team’s first year using Pass technology to sell tickets to students in 2016 as well as the early success they’ve already seen into 2017.
Nick: Kenny, can you explain why the D-backs decided to launch this student program through Experience Pass? What were your objectives?
Kenny: The Diamondbacks were looking for a flexible program that allows us to target our large student population with something special. The Experience Pass student program offered flexibility that was nearly impossible in the past. With Pass technology, we can add games, set seating locations and prices, and make changes to the plans very quickly if we need to. Previously, we had to set up discount dates and price offers in advance of the season. Now, it is much easier for us to pivot as needed and we can be spontaneous and receptive to fan feedback.
The Experience Pass student program offered flexibility that was nearly impossible in the past.
Nick: What were some of the ticketing offers you created using Pass technology?
Kenny: One thing that worked well last season was setting up some consistency or a type of schedule for our offers. For example, on Tuesday nights we created “Teal Tuesday,” which allowed us to send ticket offers to students that always included lower level bleacher seats and happy hour specials.
Another program that worked was offering upper level seats on Friday nights. We also celebrated “Schools Out” in May and “Back to School” in late August. During these weeks, we offered special pricing for this same targeted audience on tickets for the entire week.
Promotions like this have been a big hit and have increased engagement between our club operations and the fans.
Nick: Aside from increased ticket sales and operational efficiencies, have you recognized other significant benefits from this Pass program?
Kenny: Most definitely. Our ability to market the program to this highly valuable and important younger audience has greatly improved. Our marketing now focuses on the sign-up, meaning all a student needs to do is give us their name, email, and phone number to start receiving these tailored offers. It’s a much easier single step for a student to take before committing to buying tickets for an event, and it allowed us to keep consistent messaging all season long last year.
Nick: Have there been any lessons learned from the marketing process for this program?
Kenny: Interestingly enough, we’ve learned how to better time our tickets offers, both how often we send them and what time of day. For example, we found that Sunday morning text message offers are not popular. Also, knowing which texts lead to opt-outs is very important data to have as we plan ahead for future games and promotions.
Nick: Sounds like things have been going well, but what have been your results from this initiative?
Kenny: The final 2016 season results yielded a 160 percent increase in ticket sales over our college specific offer in the 2015 season. In contrast to our past efforts that were all focused on traditional walkup sales without data capture, we now have a healthy pipeline for future marketing efforts. We’ve grown our database by more than 18,000 names and a large base of those students have already opted in to receive offers for the current 2017 season.
We are thrilled with our year-one launch of this college program through Experience Pass, which allowed us to take our existing college ticket program to a significantly higher level very quickly and effectively. The success of 2016 has led to a robust student program for the current season.