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San Diego Chargers tackle fan engagement with pumped-up SMS strategy

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San Diego Chargers

Mobile messaging is playing a bigger role for the Chargers

The San Diego Chargers team is revamping its mobile messaging strategy with the goal of making it more interactive and enhancing the overall fan experience.

Fans who sign up will receive interactive mobile updates during the season and in the off-season as well about games, players and other news. The interactive offerings include messaging that can be integrated with polls and trivia quizzes as well as providing direct links to Twitter and Facebook in a message.

Our subscriber list was growing but I felt there was a lot more potential for it to grow quicker, said Nicoletta Ruhl, business development manager for the San Diego Chargers, San Diego, CA.

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The way that you get people to sign up is not just by sending them news here and there but with some unique offerings and interactive-type things, she said.

The more efforts we can put behind it this year, our subscribers are going to grow significantly.

Interactive messaging
While the Chargers first launched a mobile text messaging program two seasons ago, until now the program mostly entailed sending out the occasional alert.

Going into the upcoming season, the team wanted to expand its efforts with a strategy more focused on retaining subscribers once they have signed up to receive alerts.

Fans can choose to receive team news, caps, photos and game and player updates, including scores, statistics and player injuries.

Messagesfrom the Chargers include photos.

The messaging will be integrated in the stadium during the games, for example, by putting responses on the scoreboard.

Fans can join the mobile program by texting the keyword CHARGERS to the short code 48307.

The Chargers are working with mobile marketing firm Vibes on the messaging strategy.

What I really liked about Vibes is that its not just about sending people news it is becoming as interactive as a computer can be now, Ms. Ruhl said.

Everybody is on their phones to browse the Web and read emails, she said. With that in mind, Vibes offered a robust menu of different things we could integrate that would be interactive for fans.

You can send out messages where you can get a response from people – that makes it more interactive and helps for doing things like contests and promotions.

Mobile relationship strategy
While the new program will really ramp up in the fall when the football season begins, the Chargers first starting working with Vibes a couple of months ago around the NFL draft. The campaign gave fans an opportunity to sign up to receive draft alerts with the results showing that fans like to receive photos.

The San Diego Chargers are one of a growing number of brands using mobile messaging to engage with fans on a more personal level while also giving fans control of the type of content updates they receive.

We are seeing more and more brands decide that they need a mobile relationship strategy, said Jack Philbin, co-founder and CEO of Vibes Media, Chicago.

The Chargers are really trying to up the ante on creating a relationship with fans they want to get more personal and more targeted.

It is beyond SMS they really want to engage fans.