Mark Cuban: Lessons In Loyalty From The Shark Himself
Looking Forward Mediaplanet had a chance to catch up with Mark Cuban, NBA owner of the Dallas Mavericks.
Mark Cuban filled us in on some of the ways he has created such a loyal fan base in Dallas and why Mavs fans keep coming back for more.
Mediaplanet: For the average North American, an NBA ticket is quite expensive — other than a winning team, to what do you owe night after night of sold out attendance?
Mark Cuban: We have lowered prices four times in the past five years. I want our tickets to be affordable. We used to have $2 tickets, but they got scalped too often.
We also know that we don’t sell basketball. We can’t control the score or our record, but we can do our very best to make sure that everyone has a great time at every game.
MP: Do you have specific incentives or programs that are offered to Dallas Maverick fans who are repeat customers at American Airlines Center?
MC: Yes. If you are a season ticket holder we have quite a few incentives and discounts we offer. You even get an exclusive bobble head to renew!
MP: These days brands are coming up with new and inventive ways to acquire and retain customers. In your opinion, what is the most important thing a loyalty program should provide these customers?
"We want to know as much as we can about our customers, but we also have to respect their privacy."
MC: Creating memorable experiences and making sure you don’t screw it up with less than stellar service and support.
We are fortunate that people create life time memories at our games. You remember the look on a child’s face, the joy they feel. The fun of taking a significant other, or maybe meeting someone at a game. There are so many rites of passage that are part of our experience that we just have to make sure we don’t mess it up.
MP: 2015 is showing loyalty programs that are more and more personalized. Is this the direction loyalty programs should be taking as opposed to mass incentives and offer?
MC: We want to know as much as we can about our customers, but we also have to respect their privacy. I think people are going to want to protect their privacy more and more, and shrink their digital footprint (disclosure, I have two apps that I have invested in; getxpire.com and cyberdust.com.) It’s a fine line to walk, so we look for as many ways as we can to create loyalty through activities. Rather than pepper them with too many emails, we try to attract them to events and upsell and engage them in sales there.
MP: Consumers are looking for more than discounts for spending. Sharing on social media or participating in programs is a growing reason to reward customers. Has the Mavericks organization incorporated these types of incentives for their fan base?
MC: We did early on, but those have reached a point of diminishing returns. Facebook doesn’t show promotional posts to all friends, twitter is more of a megaphone and not a social network anymore. Instagram is the most effective these days, but even there you are limited.
We are looking for new ways to have people share what they love about the Mavericks, but don’t push traditional social media.
MP: Consumers find it so important to be rewarded today instead of tomorrow. What are some great ways for brands to provide immediate rewards to their loyal customers as opposed to long-term point redemption?
MC: One simple thing that we did had a big impact. It’s typical for sports teams to give away t-shirts for games. Typically those are the least expensive shirts you can buy.
We turned that upside down and bought the most expensive and nicest feeling shirt we could find. Those shirts went from being left behind to being worn everywhere. People loved them. It cost about $4,000 more per event, but the impact was ten times that.
MP: You’ve already accomplished so much in your career. What’s next for Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks?
MC: Hopefully happy, healthy kids and more championships!