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Delivering Data-Driven Experiences

The World Champion CubsMy grandpa was a kid the last time the Cubs won the World Series. My dad was a young man the last time they played in the Fall Classic. But the Chicago Cubs are champions at fan loyalty.

Three old friends

Years ago four young men met while working in the music industry. They became great friends, traveling together, working together, raising families together. When one of the gang died in his forties, the others decided that no matter what, they’d get together every May, the month of their birthdays, and meet in some American city to eat, drink and take in a ball game. Although they live far apart – one has lived in Shanghai for the past ten years – they meet up every year; San Francisco, Boston, L.A. This year they met in Chicago.

I’m one of those three old friends.

“Friendly Confines,” indeed

Legendary little Wrigley Field is nicknamed the Friendly Confines. There’s usually not much to celebrate on the field (this year’s rookie phenom Kris Bryant aside), but Cubs fans remain optimistic and friendly. So does the staff. And now technology is helping employees deliver an even better fan experience.

We three met up in Chicago this past May to see the Cubs play the Nationals. After spending the afternoon checking out the Wrigleyville pubs, we walked to the ballpark. While Mary the ticket taker scanned our tickets, one of my friends told her it was his first time at Wrigley and we were celebrating our birthdays. Mary called out to the other ticket takers and together, they sang Happy Birthday to us.

We didn’t notice, but she must have entered something on her hand-held device.

About the fifth inning (and the third beer) a Cubs guest relations person approached us and asked if we were the gentlemen celebrating their birthdays. She invited us to come onto the field after the game and have our photo taken in front of the Cubs’ dugout, which we very happily did.

What a wonderful example of the data-driven, customized experience great marketers want to deliver! Enabled by technology, with minimal operational impact and virtually no cost, the Chicago Cubs gave us an experience we’ll talk about for years.

Learning from the Cubs

Not every business has the emotional connection of a favorite sports team. But every company can learn from the Cubs. Every company has something that can turn customers into loyal fans, and it doesn’t have to incur a hard cost or be part of a structured program. All it takes is technology, commitment and creativity.

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