As consumers continue to adjust their expectations around live entertainment, pro sports teams and venues continue investing in technology to stay one step ahead.
For the Milwaukee Bucks, that has meant leveling up its CRM (customer relationship management) process. The franchise recently struck a five-year deal with EngageRM, a sports and entertainment business technology services provider based out of Melbourne, Australia.
According to its website, EngageRM "utilizes artificial intelligence, machine learning, voice recognition and various datapoints to give clients a deeper understanding of their customers."
In this case, the Bucks will use the back-end platform across all lines of business - from ticket sales to corporate social responsibility - to collect and internally share data on fans, corporate sponsors and nonprofit partners in order to deliver on their expectations, said Robert Cordova, chief technology and strategy officer for the Bucks.
As Cordova put it, EngageRM is an "overlay" for the basic CRM database. It allows the Bucks to tailor its CRM approach to the sports and entertainment business and, even more specifically, to each line of businesses that makes up the franchise. He said one major draw of EngageRM's platform is its ability to "bundle" offerings as part of the greater experience a fan has with the Bucks.
"We have this intense focus on the event, on the Bucks game, on the concert and that's about a three hour event, right? Well, our customers, our guests, they might want a whole day of activities. They may want us to bundle in the hospitality because we're about to go live with (The Trade) hotel in the spring of next year. So, how do we make it easy to give the guest what they want? And so that's another aspect of increasing or bundling what we can sell for the benefit of our guest," he said.
Customers don't interact directly with EngageRM's platform. Instead, it tracks purchases through point-of-sale systems, websites and mobile apps and records the guest experience through fan surveys and both positive and negative feedback. In turn, allowing the Bucks "to provide what our guests want but also to understand what the experience was like so that positive feedback is reported next time around," said Cordova.
With a clearer picture of the type of customer attending an event at Fiserv Forum or spending time at Deer District, the idea is to think less in terms of selling the highest value seats and more in terms of best "use cases."
"In some cases, the use case might be something like a bachelorette party where it's more important to be a little farther away (from the court or stage) and be near the bars and restrooms - that might be a better use case for that group," he said.
The Bucks expect to go live with the EngageRM platform this fall, in time for the start of the NBA season. But until then, Cordova and his five-person team will be busy building and implementing the new technology across all departments.
EngageRM currently has contracts with several other pro sports teams and venues, including the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers as well as Melbourne Cricket Ground stadium in Australia and Co-op Live arena in Manchester, England.