Removing hassles from segmentation and list building

We tried so hard to avoid the last-minute fire drills. Policies in place. Backup plans ready. Backups to the backups? Check!

And yet, every few weeks…KABOOM!

Colleagues would show up at my office door with an urgent communication request, their faces always red and their breathing heavy after the midday sprint from some other corner of the building.

We still have 12,000 unsold upper-level seats for Saturday’s game! We need to get a message out to anyone who has bought cheap seats in the last two years!

The game is tomorrow and the emergency repairs to Parking Lot X are not ready before the game starts! We’ll never hear the end of this situation if contact isn’t made with everyone who has a pass for that lot!

The Suite catering menu has major changes – and most suite holders have already submitted orders!

No one RSVP’d for the Letterwinner event because the printer never sent them! We need to get an email out ASAP!

For more than twenty years, I worked in a variety of leadership roles in a large university athletic department. During my tenure as Senior Associate Athletic Director for Engagement Services, I worked across departments to ensure our patrons were well informed and had an excellent experience. Effectively communicating with discrete audiences was key to maximizing attendance and ensuring the best possible game day experience for the thousands of fans who came to our venues on game day. Despite our best efforts to minimize emergency communications requests, they happened, and I needed to respond accordingly.

In these situations, other than the urgency of these types of requests, creating the email lists for the correct audience segments is the biggest challenge. The last thing we want to do is blast irrelevant messages to people who have no connection to the problem. Otherwise, we run the risk of conditioning our contacts to ignore our communications by flooding their inboxes with irrelevant messages. Where will we find the contact information for people who have parking passes to  specific lots for specific games? Who are the people who have suites and order food? What audiences are most likely interested in ‘cheap seats’? Which ticket buyers are affected by a special event?

I’d talk to marketing. Then to sales. Maybe to ticketing. Probably to operations. Sometimes, I’d talk to all four with the same urgency that I was given the directive. With the parameters ready for the specific audience, the database people now develop the list – as long as they can fit it into their work schedule. Almost certainly, they are already working through assembling a laundry list of other audiences, that also need scrubbing, for regularly scheduled communications needs.

Meanwhile, the clock was ticking.

During the lag time, the audience-building parameters often changed. The person who originally requested the list might have forgotten to include an important subset of contacts. They might have decided to de-prioritize another subset. The data team would have to rerun the report which would take more time.

Tick. Tock.

After a few iterations, I finally had my list. Woo Hoo! Except, occasionally when I spot-checked the lists, the numbers didn’t seem right. In their haste to get me the list, the data team didn’t de-dupe contacts that they had pulled from different databases! At that point came the trade-off decision to go with a “good enough” list or re-submit and potentially risk running out of time.

Request. Refine. Re-submit. Review. Re-submit. Send.

This was the endless loop. Obtaining the correct audience was a continual challenge and I became an acrobat jumping through hoops. I convinced myself that this was simply a function of the massive scale of our operations: 12 ticketed sports played in 6 venues, thousands of alumni, millions of contacts spread across disparate databases.

However, since coming to PILYTIX in 2021, I have heard from dozens of business leaders in roles similar to my former role; leaders in college athletics, college fundraising, pro sports, and live entertainment. The operational scale and databases vary from organization to organization, but the challenge of quickly assembling reliable lists for targeted marketing and communications is omnipresent.

In 2022, PILYTIX responded to this challenge by deploying the Audience Builder CDP [link]which allows non-technical business leaders in sports, entertainment and higher education to create and manage their own marketing and communications lists from multiple data sources – effectively removing all pain points that I struggled with in my previous roles.

Users define the parameters in Audience Builder’s intuitive user interface. They can add or remove as many parameters as they would like when building the list. They can watch the audience size change in real time with every click. When they have the audience they want, they can save the list, download it, or export it directly to their email engine. If they make a mistake, a simple click of the mouse fixes the issue. No more jumping through hoops. The endless loop if closed.

My passion for the Audience Builder CDP is rooted in my own history. This product saves teams numerous hours and plenty of heartache every week. It delivers more relevant content to better defined market segments. With the Audience Builder CDP,  communication and marketing teams are now available to devote their collective hours saved building lists to drive greater revenue.

Teri Pierce, VP of Marketing at PILYTIX, held several roles in marketing, communications, and data during her tenure in the Department of Athletics at the University of Texas – Austin.