US Soccer Customer Data Platform Makes Marketing Automation Personal

At a time when sporting events were closed, the United States Soccer Federation focused its energy on a new goal: organizing its customer data in a way that unlocked a more tactical approach to marketing.

The first step was to set up a customer data platform. And as the world opens up again and football returns, US Soccer has a new approach to connecting with millions of fans while keeping a tight budget and personnel.

“In reality, we only have about 15-20 people working directly on our loyalty program between marketing and our product and business intelligence teams,” said Ross Moses, senior director, Analytics and Insights for the United States Soccer Federation. “We don’t have the ability to step in and activate campaigns every day for different types of segments.”

Implementing CDP helped US Soccer centralize its data for a more complex marketing automation strategy.

“We needed something that was going to update in real time,” Ross said. “It’s going to connect to all kinds of data sources and ultimately be able to react in real time based on who that customer is. If someone goes from a non-ticket buyer to a ticket buyer, the campaign needs to be updated accordingly, and the same goes for all of our lines of business. »

Removal of data barriers

Considering a CDP in 2018 was pretty forward-thinking for a nonprofit with a relatively small team. But to meet the demands of millions of fans, US Soccer needed to expand its campaigns and other marketing efforts.

The outdated infrastructure prevented the marketing team from running many other automated campaigns and sending personalized messages to fans.

“We were sitting on what was really outdated digital infrastructure, and I use the term ‘infrastructure’ very loosely because there wasn’t much there,” he said. “We had an outdated website. There was no mobile app. We had a lot of manual work to do to find out who our customers were,” Ross said.

“The whole issue around the CDPs was a key moment for us,” he added. Ross said the organization explored if a traditional CRM could solve this problem, but opted for a CDP because it was more focused on ingesting data from multiple sources and the ability to automate campaigns.

“We would do the data prep and data hygiene to run the analysis and then we would have to do it again and update a week or a month later,” Ross said.

Engagement via a customer data platform

With 80% of traffic to the US Soccer website coming from mobile devices, they needed to ensure they had a mobile-first experience, as well as a mobile app. And now that they’re equipped to digitally interact with more fans, they need to keep up with those consumers.

“We needed a 360 degree view of the customer and that tends to be the holy grail,” Ross said. “And how do you get there?” Easy to say, hard to do.”

They adopted single sign-on credentials for users across all channels, including website, mobile app, and online store. “It’s critical, but also behind the scenes, making sure we have an ID for one person and adding transactional and engagement data to one profile and not multiple users,” Ross said.

To break through with a more personalized experience, US Soccer has also implemented self-service measures so fans can personalize their experience. This puts fans in the driver’s seat and also relieves some of the workload from the lean marketing team.

US Soccer Customer Data Platform
US Soccer CDP, courtesy of Treasure Data

“People basically expect customization these days,” Ross said. “As far as the company knows about the individual customer, they should be able to tailor their messaging or their marketing or the content based on who they are.”

With a CDP in place to centralize and update customer data, US Soccer can orchestrate more personalized and effective campaigns with limited resources. And greater success meant more revenue to support football programs nationwide.

“We had to take this step and lay the groundwork for what we’re still working on every day,” Ross said. “We try to do more and more and lean.”

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Snapshot: Customer Data Platforms

Marketers today face increasing pressure to provide a unified customer experience across multiple channels. And these avenues are expanding every day. This is why customer data platforms, or CDPs, have become more prevalent than ever. These help marketers identify key customer data points across a variety of platforms, which can help create consistent experiences.

Cisco’s annual Internet Report found that Internet-connected devices are growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10% from 2018 to 2023. COVID-19 has only accelerated this marketing transformation. Technologies are evolving at a faster pace to connect with customers in an ever-changing world.

Each of these interactions has something important in common: they are rich in data. Customers tell brands a little about themselves at every touchpoint, which is invaluable data. Additionally, consumers expect companies to use this information to meet their needs.

Meeting customer expectations, dividing these segments and bringing them together can be challenging for marketers. This is where CDPs come in. By extracting data from all customer touchpoints (web analytics, CRM, call analytics, email marketing platforms, etc.), brands can overcome the challenges posed by multiple data platforms and use the insights to improve the customer experience. Learn more here.

About the Author

Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as Associate Editor, providing original analysis on the changing technology landscape of marketing. He interviewed leaders in technology and politics, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins to former Cisco CEO John Chambers and Vivek Kundra, named by Barack Obama as the nation’s first federal CIO. He is particularly interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the world of marketing as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “Theatre of Innovation” at Fintech Inn, Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades such as Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age, and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS and contributes fiction, criticism, and poetry to several book blogs. leading. He studied English at Fairfield University and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.