One of the most important items a football club should have and build effectively is a very good database of your fans. A comprehensive database of your fans is probably next to having a very good coach.
A good database of your club’s fans and prospective fans is gold to a football club, because it gives you an opportunity to target exactly those people that will be most receptive to your offerings.
A very good database of fans that you as club has interacted with and have a good relationship with is a boon for sponsors. Sponsors want these kind of prospective customers that can easily buy offerings from them at the recommendation of a football club. All that a club has to do is demonstrate ability relate and influence these fans with ease and you get sponsors falling over each other to come on board.
A good database means that you will often fill your stadium over and over again through the year. That is why I find mass advertising club offerings to the general public wasteful. I think mass advertising is wasteful because there is no way a fan of a rival team will take up what you are offering even if you bend over backwards. They will never come to the stadium to support your club, unless it will benefit their club in some way. If rival club supporters come to the stadium to lend your club support it is calculated to benefit their club and it is never based on your advertising. So, why waste time and money with mass advertising, use your database and target only the right people.
It is therefore very important for marketers at your club to spend every working day of their lives designing and building a very comprehensive database of all fans and prospective fans. It does not matter whether the fans are paid up members or not. Keep every one on the database. People are not the same, some will pay easily others will not. With time you turn unpaid fans into paid ones as long as you know them and build a relationship with them through constant communication. This is what internet businesses know best. They keep in touch with you even when you are buying nothing. They know it will be a matter of time and you crack. This is true with football fans. A club must keep in touch, when a fan is ready to buy it is the club that should benefit first.
Build a comprehensive database that is more than a simple list of names and addresses. What turns a list into a database is the additional information, coupled with your ability to select names from or report on the list using any combination of data elements. For example you should be able to easily select all your fans that reside fifty or so kilometers around your home ground. These should be your major target for home games.
What do you include in a football fan database?
The most important thing before you start to design and build a database for your football club is to give it a critical thought. What are you going to use this database for? How will you expand it? Plan your database before you start designing and building. This will ensure that you avoid expensive mistakes.
1. For basic information for a fan base, you will need to include the following fields for each name on your list:
a. A unique Identification number.
This is similar to the Identification Number that we get from government. It should be unique per fan and should only be tied to one unique fan. This number should not be tied to any other information because most other information changes for example an address will keep changing. A unique fan identification number should therefore be static. A sequential numbering system is simple and effective.
b. Name of the fan. You will realize that many fans will have similar names. You can differentiate them by the unique account number above.
c. Street Address or Home Address.
d. P.O. Box, if necessary.
f. State or Province (whatever you call it in your country)
g. Zip Code, five or nine digit – (If used in your country)
h. Phone number (with area code), email, and their preferred mode of communication with the club.
i. Employed – type of employment
j. Income Range
k. Membership Paid Up or Unpaid
l. Level of support – v strong, strong, prospective fan
n. Further information like communication with the club – indicating whether the issues were resolved or not.
i. gender – male or female
k. Marital status
l. Number of children – dates of their birth – (aim?) to be able to target them and turn them into fans.
m. Any further information that will help you understand a fan deeply.
2. Data Elements to evaluate for a football fan – Recency, Frequency and Monetary Value
You should know the value of your fans. Different fans have different means and also different support levels. If a fan’s level of support for the club is not very strong, you need to spend a bit more time to build this relationship from an arm chair fan to a revving fan. This information is demonstrated by – recency, frequency and monetary value of each fan’s spend on the club’s offerings. How often has the fan bought club offerings? When where they last at the stadium? This kind of information helps your marketers know the most valuable fans and also try to find out the problem of other fans and decide what to do with them, if any thing at all. If a fan is not employed no amount of marketing to them offerings will make them buy. They just can not afford, but that does not mean that you do not keep a relationship with them. When they get employed or get money you should be there at the forefront of their thoughts.
a. Recency refers to the last time a fan responded to an offer from the club.
b. Frequency is the number of say matches or responses that the fan has made since becoming a fan within a specified period of time.
c. The monetary value is the amount of money fan has spent on a football club since getting on the database.
The three factors above will show you the value of a fan. The more frequent a fan buys the more he will be able to buy again from the club in the future. This is valuable information for you when selling say merchandise or tickets. If a fan was at the stadium recently it is likely that this fan will come gain soon. Look at the stadium during a match you see the same faces over and over again. A football club should be on top of this information.
3. Collecting this information: People have very short attention spans. It is very important to fill this information gradually. Find the basic information and fill the remaining gaps as you interact with the fan over a period of time. By doing this you are sure that you will get all the information and you will not over burden the fan in one sitting. You can even offer incentive in return to get this information in full.
4. Get professionals to help you design and build your database. They will advise you on what you should and what type of software to use that will assist you grow your database.
You must remember one thing, think about what you need and then ask for help. Do not listen to vendors as they will always sell you what they have and what makes them money. Software should fit into your needs and not your needs fitting into what the software can do.
This website is built for the benefit of football. The thinking behind it is that if football understands that the currency that runs football is fans then the game will be able to lure untold success. Players will be able to succeed economically right in their home countries.
If you know a club, organisation or any person who would find this work useful please past it on.