Email case study: Detroit Pistons sends self-updating emails to fan’s inboxes

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This NBA season the Detroit Pistons made innovative use of dynamic emails to keep fans up to date with the latest basketball scores. This case study looks at how the US basketball team got a 49% increase in mobile engagement with live updating emails.

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Case study summary

• NBA team used Movable Ink to send emails to fans that update every time the fan checks them

• The emails also include a live traffic map to help fans find the optimal route in and out of the arena

• Resulted in 18% increase in click-through rate and 45% increase in engagement time

The challenge

For many brands, email is still used a static means of communication. For those in the sports marketing, this creates a unique challenge. The content fans want access to ages moment by moment. Ticket sales and game scores are hot news one minute and irrelevant the next.

But for sports and entertainment companies that are using real-time like the Detrait Pistons, dynamic email allows them to gives them the superior reach of email with the up-to-date data of an app.

The solution

Palace Sports and Entertainment, the company that owns the Detroit Pistons using Movable Ink to send emails to fans attending games that update every time the fan checks them called the “Interactive Gameday Guide”.

The email goes out to ticket holder a few hours before game starts and uses real-time data. The email then updates every time a recipient opens or reloads it.

Before the game, the email shows team matchups, records, stats and info about attending the game. During a game, it shows live scores and stats for all 10 players on the floor at any given point. When the matchup's over, it displays the final box score.

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The emails also include a live traffic map to help fans find the optimal route in and out of the arena – dealing with a main pain point for event goers – ingress and egress

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The results

The campaign – which the team calls a “real-time, dynamic second-screen experience” – is meeting the goal of increasing fan engagement before, during and after games.

Palace Sports tracked the emails over a six-game stretch just after it launched the campaign and saw results that manager of e-marketing Jason Scott described as "pretty significant pretty quick.

The results from initial tracking of the emails show:

• 18% increase in click-through rate
• 45% increase in engagement time
• 49% increase in mobile engagement

“We always want to have a multichannel approach with Pistons.com, the mobile app, etcetera, but why not provide it, if we have the ability, within that email?” says manager of e-marketing Jason Scott, who adds that the stats continue to be strong, increasing slightly since the initial tests.

Movable Ink account manager Elizabeth Tashik said the Pistons' Interactive Gameday Guide was "a top-use case" for her company.

"Our goal is to make every email communication extremely relevant and one-to-one and personal and effective, and I think that we achieved that here," Tashik said. "Basically, we're trying to help marketers have those one-on-one conversations with their consumers in the consumers' way. We decide as consumers when to engage with a brand when it comes to email. Why not make that conversation relevant to what's happening to them at the time of open instead of at the time of send?"

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