An Industry Opportunity: Recapturing Individual Event Buyers with Data


Dec 27, 2018


Approximate Read Time: 4 Mins

In a previous post we wrote about structuring a winning sales organization when approaching with multi-event package sales and renewals.

If you’ve followed along with our lessons, your retention program is now dialed, and you’ve got a good idea of where it will get us in terms of filling stadium capacity. The truth is that you might lose some, but you will keep most. Industry averages for FSE (Full Season Equivalent) renewals are typically around 80% but by leveraging your data and taking action you will likely have that up to 85% or 90%.

So now what? You’ve probably already started getting to work filling the rest of those seats with individual game buyers and groups. The new sales cycle is a 365-day exercise and there is no off-season. So – how can you organize yourself to find and convert more fans into lifelong customers…or at least get them to engage with you more than they would otherwise? In this article, we’re focusing on the big ugly gorilla in the room – the individual game buyers that aren’t returning year-over-year.

Across the industry, the win-back rate for these fans is low, with an average of only 15% of individual event buyers returning year-in and year-out.

That is scary. But it’s also a major opportunity that you need to take advantage of.

So, what are the actionable steps you can take that leverages the data you have to recapture individual event buyers and get them to engage at a higher level?

The first place to start is calibrating on a few strategic items.

  • A – How many leads/ buyers do we have?

  • B – What are the most effective and efficient ways to drive up my conversion rates? How am I staffed to engage them?

A – Understanding the Lead Universe

Prospect scoring is a great way to help you understand your lead universe. It can save you a tremendous amount of time (which is money!) by encouraging you to focus on the active, interested prospects that have the best chance of converting into more engaged and frequent buyers. Leads are always entering the database, so it’s also important to account for those new leads coming in. It works like this.

4.0 – 5.0 Lead – High likelihood of conversion – likely a repeat buyer – in-market

3.0 – 4.0 Lead – Moderate likelihood of conversion – likely a recent purchaser – in-market

2.0 – 3.0 Lead – Low likelihood of conversion – likely purchaser with reasonable spend on tickets but aging beyond target zone – in-market

0.0  – 2.0 Lead – likely aging or out-of-market

Aside: One thing to keep in mind is that the most relevant and best prospects are always changing. Those using the StellarAlgo platform know that their scores are always current and optimized for what’s actually happening. Our current scoring is built around likelihood of a buyer to become a future member if nurtured correctly. In a previous post we discussed how to use data to identify the best candidates for specific, individual events.

B – Ways to drive up conversion rates

Your lead scores form an important, advanced form of segmentation that makes your data easy to use and actionable, which means that you should nurture them accordingly. High scoring leads in the 3.5 to 5.0 range exhibit behaviors in the data that make them similar to previous purchasers who went on to become more engaged multi-purchase – or even multi-event package – buyers. Take advantage of this using some of the important tools and channels you have at your disposal:

  • Inside Sales – If you’ve got inside sales reps it’s time to let them take the ball and run with it. Give them scored leads weekly or biweekly and let them do what they do best: contacting and engaging leads. We see typical inside sales ROIs increase by 4x per rep when using data qualified leads. Phone calls work great, but with data readily available don’t be afraid to surprise and delight with an in-event visit or pre-event special offer to these fans.

  • Email Marketing – If you’ve got enough inside sales reps you may be able to let them gobble up your 3.0 to 5.0s. Email marketing can be used in conjunction with other meaningful touchpoints help to build a relationship with those prospects through the process.

Caution: At some point there’s a law of diminishing returns on individually contacting all leads. We’ve seen success with multi-touch campaigns that involve an email touchpoint followed by follow-up touchpoints depending on behaviors. In other words, if you do some email marketing to your prospects and a group self-selects as interested, then follow-up with a phone call. This strategy or a variation thereof can be a good one for organizations with little or no inside sales presence.

Digital Support – Digital is another important leg of the stool and a great way to act on your scores. As we’re talking about retaining and maximizing the Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) of those individual event buyers, we will focus on that in this article. Now that you’ve got a segment of top scorers, let’s do everything in our power to bring them back. Digital marketing campaigns can yield up to 12x the investment when it comes to bringing back those individual event buyers. Pushing a “retargeting campaign” out to your segmented list via paid display or video ads (ex. Google Marketing Campaigns), or by using social retargeting (ex. Facebook or Instagram) we’ve seen big results in bringing back those audiences as nurturing them into repeat buyers.

Aside: In one of our next blog posts we’ll talk about using those same scores to find new buyers that look like your best prospects.

With inside sales, email marketing and digital pulled into a cohesive strategy you will accelerate revenues, generate ROI and make yourselves look good.

Important Note on Data collection throughout the campaign: One of the most important, but underappreciated areas of sales, is data entry training. In order to learn about your customers’ preferences and behaviors you must have the ability to collect and process information correctly. Keep it simple by tracking meaningful touchpoints (date, type, result) and reasons for lost deals will allow you to continue to evolve. It also makes scoring more powerful and improves our ability to help you win!

Important Note on Testing throughout the campaign: No market is exactly the same. The above are the tent poles that will give you the best chance to win with data. It’s up to you to test, learn, and evolve in order to maximize results and make your data work for you. In that vein don’t afraid to A/B test content, create the odd control group or think of new ways to test the boundaries of how data can work for you.


Do you have questions about how to recapture individual event buyers with data? Reach out to us today, we can help!


More fans.

Better Engagement.

Stellar Results.

Get Started