Breakfast With Bernie

Winning Strategies from Georgia Tech & The University of Texas to Boost Student Attendance 

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January 31, 2016

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When you are selling student season tickets this summer do not think just about the upcoming football season. Think about the 2021 football season. You are selling season tickets to the same person who will be part of two different generations of buyers: students and Millennials.

This past season, Georgia Tech set a new record for student season ticket sales. They also increased “new alumni” season ticket sales by 100 percent.

“If student ticket sales rise, Millennial sales will follow,” said Ryan Gottlieb, Director of Sales & Service at Georgia Tech. “Our best opportunity to get them to buy season tickets when they get off campus is having them buy tickets when they are on campus. It’s critical to sell to freshmen.”

Gottlieb acknowledges Tech was coming off an 11-3 season, a win over rival Georgia, and an Orange Bowl victory, but Georgia Tech and Aspire did not take the popularity of the football program for granted.

Here are some tips:

  • Georgia Tech and Aspire had their Sales Consultants at every one of the approximately 15 freshman orientation sessions from May to August. It was a chance not only to sell student season packages, but to sell parents season ticket packages. Gottlieb said Aspire sold at least two dozen “student” season ticket packages and an additional two dozen season ticket packages to parents at EACH EVENT.
  • Do not under-estimate social media. Use direct e-mail, but also use Snapchat to blare out, “One week to buy your student season ticket package.”
  • There were adhesive signs placed on the walkways leading up the freshmen hill on campus reminding students about buying their ticket package. Think local. Stay top of mind.

“We’re always trying to find ways to get younger,” Gottlieb said of the demographics of the fan base.

The Aspire ticket marketing, sales and service tactics were executed along the way: Capture the data of the incoming freshmen and their parents, Communicate the appropriate offer through the customer’s preferred marketing channel, and Close the sale through personal phone calls or appointments with Aspire Sales Consultants.

 

What if you are promoting student attendance for the Olympic sports?

The University of Texas had a surge in student attendance for volleyball in fall, 2015. How?

The Aspire Group works hand in hand with the creative, marketing and planning team within the Texas Athletics Marketing Department. That department is headed by former Aspire senior executive and ticket strategist, Mike Meitin.

Here are tips from the Texas Athletics’ team:

  • This is relationship building. Texas Athletics has a relationship with a student group called “Hellraisers”, athletic supporters that are influencers. There is also a relationship with the swim team, which involves the “Hellraisers” from the swim team removing an article of clothing for every Texas volleyball point scored until the team is down to Speedos.
  • Have a relevant giveaway. Texas had a basketball promotion for a “bucket hat”, which was worn by a prominent recruit when he announced he would attend Texas. The first 2,000 students who attended received the hat. The promotion was unique and a slam dunk.
  • Students at competitive academic schools are looking at the value on their time. You must have a pretty strong case why going to a sporting event is worth that time capital.

The Aspire Group teaches you that you don’t always want to pick a game for a giveaway that needs help. You want to build on a game that is already big to ensure that sellout, because then you have a better chance of people having a good time and wanting to come back. Sellouts bring more sellouts. The giveaway gets you from ‘almost’ sold out to sold out.

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