Digital Sports Blog Part 3 Mobile, Fantasy and Print

Part three of my synopsis of Digital Sports Summit cover three speakers on mobile, fantasy sports and print media to digital.

Cricket Victoria

Anthony Harrison from Cricket Victoria took us through some mobile application and web side of things.

Mobile penetration in Australia is at 115% Internet is 80% mobile is clearly the future. The Bushrangers decided on an iphone app development to meet this growing marketing.  IPhone applications allow for offline usage, discoverability and push technology as opposed to pure mobile web which only allow for pull technology and you must be online to utilise the functionality

He took us through some examples of both Virgin Blue The Age Mobile site ABC IPhone Application for each he stressed you need to design for the mobile and not just copy for desktop interface. Mobile requires simplicity and function over form for a lot of the useability.

The Bushrangers application was developed for the Sheffield Shield finals it has player bios and news with real time stats and fixtures. The goal of the application is to help increase the team and player awareness so the top three players are known entities in Sport in Victoria.

Fantasy Sports Peter Jankulovski Vapor Media

Fantasy Sport came out of the US with model in baseball and American football. While it started in the offline world, the power of the internet has made it into a multi billion dollar industry. They have moved to be as much apart of the watercooler talk as the games themselves.

They ensure fans of a sport can be involved in all aspects of the game not just how their team is going. In Australia the market is made up of

  • 65% AFL
  •  20% NRL
  • 15% the rest horse racing and other sports

Dream Team had

  • 73k 2004
  • 294k 2009

Super Coach

  • 91k 2006
  • 350k 2009

According to the stats 52% play to compete 32% play to socialise with like minded sports people From these fantasy games other websites have been developed to support them such as and

Who play fantasy games and how are they playing?

  •  87% male
  • 13% female
  • Live in Victoria (due to AFL bias) professionals, skilled trades and students
  • 43% are aged 19 – 34 and 26% are under 18
  • 42% return 26 times during the season – showing its stickiness and involvement.

Schools are starting to use the fantasy games to help with maths classes, working with the trend rather than banning it. Mobile is the growing platform high number of the iphone app @ $3.99.

Future developments Ranking against facebook friends against each other Draft style application for ‘true fans’ which deepens the relationship.

Finn Bradshaw Super Footy

Finn talked about the requirements to teach journalists about new media, holding a story for the backpage now can mean you’re too late to market with the news. Also need to be convinced as to why they need to be on social media themselves connecting with readers on twitter.

Super Footy has seen 50% year on year growth and at the heart of this is Super Coach fantasy game. SuperFooty run live chat with journalists, it provides a place for people to share and also a focal point for where people can come. Finn believes people come to the because they are known to get the content right.

Journalists are learning a buy line isn’t everything – they can interact with readers for automatic feedback. Need to package up unique content, Supercoach has an exclusive online column with has over 60k readers. They keep coming back every week to read it.

You need to provide journalists/content providers with tools to provide immediate stories, IPhones, laptops and where applicable IPads and video so they can do on the spot stories and interviews. Even if you’re not first, by letting people back in the office know what’s going on they have time to prepare articles so if you’re not the first you can be the best still.

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Synopsis Jonathan Simpson Essendon Football Club

So part two of my notes from the Digital Sports Summit.

Jonathan Simpson had a great presentation which started out with us having a number of things under our chairs and he had people speak out each one and then related what each one meant for social media. He told us he wasn’t an expert at the beginning and like most of us has learnt on the run making mistakes but also wins along the way.

Note: Essendon Football Club is the only AFL club who chooses to remain outside the AFL/Bigpond/Telstra online network.

The Social Media Kit

Picture of Glasses

These represented vision and strategy. Essendon Football Club (EFC) set up Action Learning Groups who were given six months to work out two key projects set out by the board.

1)      Virtual Connection Strategy

2)      Match Day engagement

The best part about this was the involvement plus the mandate from the board when it came to implementation.

A letter of the alphabet ( I got H)

This is about the requirement for social media people to be multi-lingual.

1)      You have to be able to speak in ROI type numbers to the board

2)      Engage in two way conversations with Fans

3)      Deal with marketers and IT

4)      Educate all staff on the value of social media – why are you on Facebook again!

When you have 60k facebook fans you have to be able to take the rough with the smooth and respond to questions. Two way conversations mean you have to listen.

You have to explain to terms like CPM, SEO and what hash tags are and why they are important.

What is fan development how will help others  in your organisation reach their KPI’s and what it will bring to the business long term.

Key point  Content of Choice / Platform of choice – relish fans and the way they want to interact with you.

Toy Soldier

Be prepared for battle! With boards, staff and fans….

It’s time consuming, social media is 24 hours a day.

People will ask why are we opening up the voice of the fans?

You need to be able to harness twitter and facebook ( and other social media) to feedback to fans what they want.

For example EFC ask members what they wanted in their membership packs which helped develop the offering.


You have to make money!

While you have to show you are going to make money, social media is a long term vision for a long term sustainable transaction.

Collecting data through social media is vital to your success.

EFC gained 10k new contacts via social media and this was crossed referenced with their usual database sources. The value is in the data and understanding customer lifecycles.

EFC have done 20% offers to facebook fans and increased sales.

On Boxing Day they sent out an offer for merchandise to all members which resulted in a massive increase in merchandise sales online.


Remember your fans! Be fan-centric

This whole strategy is still about getting people to go to the football. You must have an offline presence which your online presence compliments and enhances.

Chocolate Heart


Be passionate, stay entrenched as a fan yourself!


Take Risks!

Social media is about taking risks, trying stuff out and being prepared to suck it and see. You will make mistakes but that’s OK as long as you learn form them.

Remind the board they asked you to go out and do this!

Make sure you do more than just PR on twitter and facebookyou have to engage!

Jonathan also explained the decison Essendon have made to stay out of the AFL/Bigpond/Telstra network. While they forgo significant revenue from the AFL, they believe their ability to service sponsors and their own advertising model as well as the flexibitily it gives them equals and outweigh the benefits of being on the AFL network.

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Synopsis of Jeramie McPeek at Digital Sports Summit

Wow I have just returned from Digital Sports Summit in Melbourne. What an amazing day…

It was great to be inspired by others, hear what they’re doing and for me thinking great I am going OK got a long way to go but on the right track!

I’m going for a synopsis of the day – I wrote copious notes…. and I think it’s going to have to be a few posts as this one is now pretty long….

First up was Jeramie McPeek from the Phoenix Suns who was the key-note speaker.

He showed us a shot of TV Companion which is what appears to be – and I’m not a basketball follower – an adjunct to you watching TV with stats and plays which you follow while you’re watching the game. It allows access to chat, social media integration and highlights.

The Suns use their Facebook and twitter pages to provide social media followers:

  • with money can’t buy experiences
  • the ability to vote for the MVP

On their website the Phoenix Suns they have created unique registration only content which includes behind the scenes look into:

  • team press conferences
  • post game speeches
  • draft night war room
  • team coaches
  • team on private jet going to interstate games
  • Suns players in their homes and with their families

Jeramie talked about their propriety fan site they built and giving fans the ability to upload their own pictures, videos and messages. This takes a lot of time and moderation and this was done because they wanted to have control over their own content and traffic.

It means you have the page impressions and can serve ads of your sponsors. Initially they didn’t’ have a big presence on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.

Over time his view on this has changed his view similar to that of @problogger use your website as the hub and the social media methods as the spokes. (more on @problogger later in another blog about the day)

Phoenix Suns have a twitter roster, with members of the adminstration team as well as players tweeting. This gives fans insights into:

  • How the whole organisation works
  • What players are doing out in the community
  • Photos from the in-house photographer

Eight of the Phoenix players are on twitter – this is a medium they find easier to embrace than other online media. Jeramie believes this is because it’s just an extension of SMS which all of them do on a regular basis and it has much lower barriers than blogging or doing web chats. Because they are answering personally they also have a higher interaction and closeness to their twitter fans.

In their twitter Phoenix Suns make sure they are engaging in two way conversations retweeing and answering tweets, not just broadcasting.

Their foray into Facebook started with them taking over an existing fan site. They worked with Facebook and the fan finding out who ran it and when they found out he was in Hong Kong sent a fan pack with signed merchandise and a game day shoe. By doing this and explaining to the existing fans what they had done they successfully took over the site with a large number of fans but where able to grow that fan base.

Suns post more on twitter than they do on Facebook, as people tend to want more personal posts in their Facebook than twitter. Also they appear to have more negative feedback from Facebook than twitter (note to me is that because ‘real’ fans are following on twitter and ‘lesser’ fans on Facebook? Different target markets different voice?).

While they don’t have a formal social media posting policy the general rule is as long as the fan is respectful and provides an honest opinion the post will stay. If they use profanity or get personal it will be deleted. Jeramie suggests your tone will set the standard and to maintain your professionalism and then fans will also.

Suns have started to monetise some of their tweets, by doing tweets on the match day game board with the sponsor logo at the end of each tweet.

Applications Sun developed have included answering a few questions about yourself to determine with Suns Personality you are, including the Gorilla mascot which was then posted to fans Facebook pages helping to build more fans.

Jermaine then talked about the tweetups Suns have set up for tweeps where they can purchase tickets to all sit together and then meet with Sun’s personalities after the game including the coach, the players and the CEO (president probably sorry can’t read my notes!). All these events were also sponsored giving sponsors a more one on one relationship with fans as well.

What next?

Foursquare applications – check into sponsors/partner locations to win prizes

Keep up with trends on mashable and other social media commentators  

Look at what others are doing in your sport and other sports

(I said similar to this in my digital life blog)

Question time answers

NBA have a rule players can’t use social media 90mins before and after a game.

Suns have taken players through guidelines for social media – based on common sense remember what you’re saying is going to the world.

Posted in brand promise, customer loyalty, digital life, Facebook, keeping it simple, social media, social media policy, sports marketing, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Digital – live it, love it!

A friend recently said to me she wanted to learn more about digital marketing and the digital world in general. She asked what she should read and how I got so involved in it.

Her questions made me realise digital isn’t something you learn, it’s something you live!

I first got online in 1991 at university talking to people within my own campus and then across campuses. I also wanted to find out what was going on in The Bold and the Beautiful in the US (I was at uni, OK?) and the Soap News group was great for that! I was then meeting people through a friends group and talking to them on email (wasn’t I excited when they introduced PINE mail!), via news groups and then snail mail as well.

I met one of my best mates at uni when we got chatting to each other in separate computer rooms on campus. One day I missed the last bus home and he offered to give me a lift. Seventeen years on, we’re still really good friends, living less than 1km apart.

Over the years my online world and socialising have continued to grow. A friend I met online in the US came over to visit me 1997. I went on my first online date with RSVP in 1996/7 and was probably one of the first people to be on RSVP (not that it did my love life a lot of good).

I realised how normal this must be for me now because when I told my parents recently I met someone via a blog, they didn’t bat an eyelid.

This high level of personal involvement in the online world led to an interest and passion for it in my working world. I was involved in BigPond when it was still On Australia, helping with Springboard, Addicted to Noise and other Telstra forays into the online world back in the mid-late 1990s. I also helped to develop an online Youth Calendar for Telstra. I was fortunate enough to work for in London in 2000/01 and I now work in horse racing developing customer databases, social media and websites.

How did I get into it? Just by doing it – no one really gave me a text book, although I did do e-marketing as part of my masters. You learn about what you want to do online by trying out what others are doing, not by reading about it. You need to be:

  • on Facebook or Twitter because this is predominantly where everyone else is
  • putting your photos on Flickr
  • checking out stuff on YouTube
  • reading the paper online – this is where a lot of stuff happens
  • viewing your competitiors’ websites
  • checking out what the innovators are doing online, both inside and outside your industry
  • doing most/all of your banking, transactional life online (I am currently on a mission to never go into a bank again  – I haven’t set foot in one since 2003)
  • researching and purchasing
  • blogging yourself or contributing to blogs
  • using an iPhone or Android or similar for mobile internet
  • using an iPad (OK, I need to do this one for myself, but can’t justify the functionality for the price at this stage)

You don’t need to be doing all of these, but I suggest to get the most from your online experience you need to be doing at least three or four of them. Getting digital is all about doing digital – it’s very hard to create something you don’t understand or live.

If you want to get digital, you have to be digital.

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Your brand – your customer problem!

One of my staff – we’ll call him Bruce – recently had a flat battery and called the RACV for assistance.

The RACV mechanic came around and took over an hour to replace the battery because one blew up and he had to install a second battery.  By the time he was done, it was about 10:30 on a Sunday night in Melbourne’s outer north-eastern suburbs.  Finally it was payment time.  Bruce was asked how he was going to pay. He said, “By credit card.”  The mechanic replied, “Oh, sometimes the machine doesn’t work. Do you have cash?”  Bruce:  “Sorry, I don’t have $150 on me. Can we try the card?”  

Needless to say, the card didn’t work and Bruce was asked if he could go to an ATM to get money out. Bruce said he wasn’t going out to an ATM that late on a Sunday and asked the mechanic what else he could do.

The RACV battery man called his boss, who insisted Bruce pay cash now or they would uninstall the battery. There was no attempt to put the card through manually over the phone then, and when Bruce asked if he could call head office to make the payment by card, he was told: “No, we’re subcontractors to the RACV, so they can’t take payment.”

So the payment problem was not resolved and yes, the battery was uninstalled…only for Bruce to ring the RACV again the following day after he had been to an ATM to get cash out.

Bruce called the RACV head office to complain, but they confirmed that the mechanics were subcontractors and head office couldn’t take payments.


  • The service guy should have asked at the beginning about payment and, given the amount of time he was there, Bruce could have gone to the ATM to get the cash out while he worked.
  • If your brand is RACV, your RACV battery brand and other services should all be able to take payment for all your services. I don’t care that it’s a subcontracting arrangement. As far as I’m concerned, you’re one brand and you’re all the same company.
  • Surely the boss could have taken payment for his contractor over the phone using his machine?
  • It was a waste of time and resources for Bruce and the RACV – two phone calls and two call-outs for something that should have been resolved in one.
  • RACV should have taken the complaint on board and offered a solution.

It seems the RACV wants the benefits of appearing to be a full service business but with none of the hassles. If it was truly putting the customer at the heart of the business and creating great customer experience, all this would be seamless: “Yes, sir, let us take your money in an easy and simple way.”

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Keeping it simple and direct

Wow! I was blown away yesterday. At work we had sent out a regular email to our customer database about various things going on in the industry with a link to subscribe to our monthly magazine. There was no special offer – just the usual stuff.

But this was the first time we had included a link to an online form for our customers to purchase a subscription to our monthly magazine. Previously we only provided a phone number. These are industry participants who get an ‘industry rate’ and we didn’t have an online form for that special rate. A couple of months ago I thought we needed to change this, so I organised it with our developers and really didn’t think about it much after that.

This week we sent out the first email with the link to the new form and the response to it was amazing. It was probably our biggest sales day ever!  I wondered what caused this and then I remembered – oh yeah,  that’s what’s different. We had included a link straight to the ‘buy now’ page.

With just a teaser article in the email and a link straight to the online form where it only took one click to purchase,  we had our biggest sales day.

Not rocket science and no amazing offer with steak knives… It’s a great reminder of the power of keeping things simple and easy.

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Playing dumb – making it work for you

Much of my career has been spent liaising between marketing/the business and the IT department in number of industries I knew nothing about until I was part of them.

With CRM and web being my major specialities since my first marketing job back in 1996, I have a real respect for IT departments/outsourcers and the pressure they face. That being said, they can also frustrate the c**p out of me…but patience is generally the order of the day when dealing with them.

My favoured strategy is to say, ‘I’m just a non-techie fluffy marketing chick. Can you please help me?’ and it has served me extremely well in getting exactly what I want from developers. I have had people tell me I shouldn’t be so self-deprecating and that I’m not asserting my authority. What I have found is, if you ask people to help you, generally they want to and will. Playing dumb gives people the opportunity to think about solutions and not be intimidated by you or the process.

Working in the horse racing industry as I do now, it’s also served me well. I had been to one race meeting in 20 years before I got the job and knew nothing. I’ve had a really steep learning curve. Saying I had no idea about something meant people would take the time to teach me. I now know how to read a form guide and can talk about jockeys and trainers and the races in general. Compared to Average Joe Public, I know heaps. Compared to those I work with, what I know could fit on a postage stamp. But people are always more than happy to take me on the jounrney with them when I ask.

I also worked for MYOB for 3.5 years despite accounting being the only subject I ever failed at university in my undergrad or postgrad studies. I probably opened the software twice the entire time I worked for the company. But not knowing things actually helped. When we got a list of all the new features in the software, I would ask:  so what does it mean to me? Technical people would talk about a feature, but all I wanted to know about was the benefit. A laundry list of 10 new features could generally be categorised into two key benefits: saving time or saving money – or both. By being dumb about the actual products, it forced technical people to explain to me in layman’s terms what they had done, which I could then interpret for customers.

Playing dumb also lets you ask about and question the status quo. I will often say I have no idea about the current processes, but then ask why they do things that way. If you go in and say, “I think that’s rubbish. Why do you do that?”, you put people off side. Admitting you have no idea, for me, can also be a strength – most of the people I work with now are passionate about horse racing and understand all the ins and outs. With me not knowing much about horse racing, the business gets a greater insight into how non-racing fans will react to situations.

This is very much a personal style, but I find it works for me. Of course some disagree with my approach. I believe in admitting I don’t have all the answers, I don’t know everything and I need help. You need to let others shine.

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