When Experience needed a better way to communicate with fans at live events, the company knew text messages were the way to go. By integrating text messaging into its fan experience app with Twilio's SMS API, Experience created a mobile marketing machine. The best part? The whole thing was up and running in a matter of days.
Experience’s mobile application gives sports teams, venues and live event promoters the ability to enhance a fan’s experience at live events by offering VIPs and season ticket holders "experiential" rewards—like the opportunity to run the bases after the team has left the field—or, for fans, perhaps an upgraded seat location.
When it launched in 2011, Experience could only deliver these offers through a mobile website. Experience currently works with both national and collegiate sports teams nationwide, and the teams also market the offers via email, signs placed throughout the stadium and occasional ads on the Jumbotron.
Fans who saw the offers and wanted to upgrade their seats, used to have to navigate to the team's website on their mobile browsers, find the seat upgrades they wanted and pay for them. This approach worked, but Experience knew that text messaging would greatly enhance the offering.
The challenge was to find a way to integrate text messaging without bogging down the company’s development team. Experience also needed a short code—the five digit phone numbers required for high-volume, text-messaging applications—but knew that the process of getting one was usually burdensome.
I looked at the Twilio API and saw how easy it was. I realized that we could be up and running in minutes.
As Experience's vice president, Garrett Langley, says, "We tried to take on the SMS challenge ourselves at a previous company. We went through the short code process ourselves, and it was a nightmare. I vowed to never do it again."
Experience decided to use Twilio to solve the SMS challenge.
"I looked at the Twilio API and saw how easy it was," Langley says. "I realized that we could be up and running in minutes, and that with Twilio the short code process would be simplified."
With Twilio's SMS API, Experience added text messaging to its application in a matter of hours and moved the new feature into production in a matter of days.
"Twilio is now the backbone of the way we communicate with fans," he says.
Experience's mobile app lets fans at a game or live event pay to upgrade their seats in real time.
These seat upgrades can be something unique—like moving from the sun into the shade—or something premium—like moving right behind home plate.
Experience's technology predicts which ticket holders are likely to not show up to a given event, then uses text messages to deliver upgrade offers to people in the stands who have opted in to receive them. Fans can subscribe to these notifications on a per-game basis, or for the entire season.
When a fan receives the offer via text message and chooses to upgrade, Experience's system instantly knows that their seat has become available and proceeds to offer it to someone else.
With Experience's real-time communications system, fans get access to otherwise inaccessible seats and the teams, venues and promoters can make make money on unused inventory. Teams also are able to sell the same seat more than once. It’s all made possible by Twilio.
Teams with VIP programs use Experience to communicate with their VIPs, offer them loyalty rewards and upsell them on memorable activities like sending a message to a friend via the Jumbotron or receiving a special delivery of swag at their seats.
The process works like this:
These custom-tailored tailored VIP offers would have been much harder to deliver without Twilio. As Langley puts it: "If, for example, you were a sports team and you wanted to offer personal service to your tens of thousands of season ticket holders, it was almost impossible. Twilio makes it easy."