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Is your growth strategy batting 1.000?

Lou Bellaire | May 5, 2017 Lou Bellaire 05/05/17

SurveyMini and BrandGeek are two powerful tools. SurveyMini lets you gather critical consumer behavior patterns, including those from non-purchasers, and BrandGeek helps you learn where your brand stacks up against the competition. When you put them together, you get great insights.

With Opening Day in our rearview, we wanted to see how we could apply their capabilities to compare baseball franchises across the country. We partitioned the US map into home regions for each team based on proximity to each MLB stadium. Then, we used SurveyMini data collected during the 2016 MLB season to identify geospatial patterns for baseball fans throughout the country. 
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We asked questions like:

  • What percentage of fans visit their home-field vs. a more distant favorite team?
  • How far do fans travel to attend games?
  • What factor does population density and distance play?
  • How can teams rethink their marketing strategy to draw more fans?

Friendly competition

Let’s take a look at two “beltway” rivals—the Washington Nationals and the Baltimore Orioles. Our data shows that Camden Yards (home of the Orioles) draws 22.72% of their attendees from the Nationals region, whereas Nationals Park only draws 4.34% from the Orioles region. Camden Yards pulls fans from all over the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area, whereas Nationals Park pulls almost exclusively from the D.C. region.
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Taking a closer look at the teams, we can make some sense of this trend. The Orioles are a longer-standing team, and have had decades to develop a fervent fan base in the area. The stadiums are  only 35 miles apart, so fans living closer to Nationals Park aren’t going too far out of the way to attend an Orioles game, either. That means fans aren’t inconvenienced enough to change their behavior, and their loyalty for the Orioles outweighs their desire to attend a game closer to their home. It will be interesting to watch this trend over the coming years and see if the asymmetry continues, or if fans start to change their visit patterns to reflect geographic convenience.

Going the distance

Measuring the distance fans traveled to watch their teams play revealed some interesting trends. When we looked at the average distance traveled, we noticed a correlation with an area’s population density. New York Yankees fans traveled a very short distance to watch their team play, whereas Atlanta Braves draw strongly from across their entire regional broadcast area.

Knowing what we do about each city, it’s easy to see that since NYC is densely populated, most of their fans live in close proximity to Yankee Stadium. It’s also more difficult to get to Yankee Stadium for fans that are further out since the city is so tightly packed. Atlanta, on the other hand, is more easily accessible for those traveling from the surrounding area, and their fans tend to live further away from the stadium since the city is more spread out.

How about where fans are coming from to watch the game? We compared the Kansas City Royals—the clear favorite among SMG headquarters employees, with our office favorite the Boston Red Sox—and the results were polar opposites. The Red Sox were in the top three teams who pull fans from the most diverse locations, while the Royals allegiance is more regional. Kauffman Stadium attendees tend to be very local, whereas the Red Sox are much more of a nationally celebrated team.

Looking at the two teams’ marketing examples, we can see that difference reflected. “Raised Royal” suggests fans are primarily born and raised in the Kansas City region, whereas “Red Sox Nation” speaks to the fact that their fanbase exists all over the country.
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Knocking it out of the park

What can these teams do to revamp their marketing to draw new fans? It might be tough to convince a fan to change their loyalties, but retailers should take note. You can use similar SurveyMini and BrandGeek data to strategize and grow your brand’s footprint, too. Thinking about where your locations exist in relation to your competition and learning about how far customers are traveling to visit your stores are great steps in making the most of your brick-and-mortars.

Want to know more about how we use BrandGeek and SurveyMini? Download the piece to find out how our researchers leveraged real-time consumer data to explore Chipotle’s post-health concern recovery.

Lou Bellaire, SVP of Mobile Technology
Dan Finkel, Principal Engineer