The Athletics department at the University of South Carolina was looking to level up their tech stack by finding an email service provider (ESP) that offered a seamless integration with Ticketmaster.
After evaluating various tools, USC Athletics opted for Marketing Cloud for its smooth integration and robust offerings.
Below, Eric Nichols, chief marketing officer at USC Athletics, and Dan Stahl, general manager for USC at Learfield IMG College Ticket Solutions, share their insights into why they prioritized the Ticketmaster integration, the implementation process and why they chose Lev, and the road ahead for USC Athletics.
Let’s start with the "before Marketing Cloud." What were you using before, and why did you decide it was time to level up what you were doing?
Our previous email service provider was Emma which served our needs very well for several years. As we grew, and our appetite for more advanced email communications grew, we needed to find an alternative. Our desire to directly integrate our ticketing system with email functionality was the critical need. Not only did we want to enhance the buying experience, but we also had a desire to trigger automations from ticketing behaviors.
Why did you choose Marketing Cloud?
We have been an existing Sales Cloud client for a few years and have been pleased with what the Salesforce CRM provided. Our assumption was that we could limit the integration headaches by selecting Marketing Cloud. After researching with other sports colleagues, SFMC was one of two or three that continued to surface as a reputable service robust enough to fit our needs.
Why did you choose to work with a partner, and more so—why Lev?
The integration with Ticketmaster was the driving factor for the change, so when we learned that Lev had experience integrating SFMC with TM we were excited. The Ticketmaster data structure is relatively complicated so having existing knowledge eased our concern significantly.
Obviously, COVID-19 has led everyone to have to adapt what they were doing in some way. How has COVID-19 impacted your team, and more specifically, your use of Marketing Cloud?
Covid has significantly altered our core business activities which has limited our ability to hit the ground running as expected. The pace at which our business has been changing has affected the utilization of some of the more advanced features we were excited to implement. However, we were able to trigger an automated email with Covid waiver details, from not only online sales, but also when one orders through the box office by phone. This cohort of people would have been unattainable in the previous system without heavy manual lifting.
How do you expect your adoption of Marketing Cloud and its integration with Ticketmaster to impact your fan experience?
We expect to deliver more personalized information reaching the right people at the right time. For instance, we catered game-day communications for our first football game with information for those watching at home and those attending the game with appropriate information. We also ran a journey to ensure our fans received the pertinent information on how to use their mobile tickets as this was a new change due to Covid. After the journey we were able to get 75% of our population to open the communication which played a part in very few mobile ticket issues on gameday.
What’s ahead on your Marketing Cloud roadmap (i.e., journeys, maximizing use of the platform, etc.)?
A few ideas on the roadmap include an onboarding email series for those joining our Gamecock Club, postgame emails based on attendance, and season ticket renewal journeys.