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Sports marketing with CRM software

I am researching CRM software for the sports industry. Can you give me some ideas on software that is well-suited for sports marketing? So far, I've been waiting for the release of the newest edition of the book Sports Marketing (by Mullin, Hardy and Sutton) to help me make this decision.

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To get you the best answer possible on this, I spoke with Dr. Jeff Tanner at Baylor University. Dr. Tanner is a Professor of Marketing, teaches sports CRM in Baylor University's Sports Sponsorship and Sales program, and is also a founding partner of BPT Partners, a leading CRM training organization.

Here's his answer:

"Surprisingly, there are a number of professional teams that use internally-developed software to track and manage relationships. Some, like the Dallas Stars (hockey) tried contact management solutions and found those too limited and too sales-oriented.

The most common solution is Axciom, which acquired SmartDM. SmartDM started out as a direct marketing solution and very early in the game, they developed a relationship with the Nashville Predators (also hockey). Through that relationship they developed a solid sports CRM product that is now used across the National Hockey League and the National Basketball League, as well as several universities, such as Arizona State. This product was a pretty good solution for sports when Axciom acquired it, and should be stronger now with the integration of products like Personicx (a product that adds psycho-graphics data to customer data).

A critical issue is [event ticket management], so ticketing software vendors have tried to move into the CRM space. Pacciolan has licensed email software from Axciom and is marketing it as Pac-Mail. TicketMaster has also introduced some CRM functionality but these are not particularly complete packages. It depends on the specific functions that you are trying to accomplish such as the degree to which you need contact management or are looking for campaign management tools, and so forth."

The only thing I'd add is that when it comes to the packaged CRM software that aren't "sports-specific," the one that I've seen most frequently used is Microsoft Dynamic CRM.

If you'd like to get further information on this, feel free to email either Jeff or myself.

This was first published in January 2007

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