Atlanta Spirit brings personal touch to marketing

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In an effort to improve its customer communications, Atlanta Spirit LLC — owner of the Atlanta Hawks, Atlanta Thrashers and Philips Arena — has signed a three-year agreement with NCR Corp.

Atlanta Spirit is using NCR's Aptra eMarketing tool to create personalized messages for customers over e-mail, print, online and other media. The program allows consumers to choose preferred contact channels and incorporates other personal data, such as interest, favorite players and activities. Aptra eMarketing also provides online analytics, helping Atlanta Spirit track its e-mail programs.

“The Atlanta Spirit is multiple sports, so they have to know which sports I'm watching and how and what my preferences and interests are,” explained Sundeep Kapur, head of strategic marketing for the online group at NCR. “So what we are doing is targeting people with relevant messaging via e-mail, which is now growing into other channels, so we can get the entire story. If you go to the game, an e-mail may ask you how you liked it, who you brought with you or what your other interests are. It's not a one-way e-mail push; it's a round robin stream of communication.”

NCR and Atlanta Spirit are working to expand their mobile marketing capabilities as well and are improving Atlanta's collection and analysis of ticketing data, said John Curnutt, NCR's business development manager.

“We want to make sure that as many people as possible pay attention to the campaigns, and the only way to do that is to make them really personalized and drive that across multiple channels,” Kapur said.

The next step, Kapur said, is to identify what NCR is calling “green channels” or social media channels to establish deeper two-way communication.

The focus there will be on blogs, Twitter and membership-based sites like Facebook and Ning. Atlanta Spirit caters to NBA basketball and NHL hockey fans as well as showcasing concerts and live events. Seating capacity for Thrashers hockey games is 18,750, Hawks basketball seats 18,729, and concerts reach capacity at 21,000.

Representatives of Atlanta Spirit could not be reached as of press time.

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