NRL tackles national CRM project to replace standalone systems

Proposals from 16 vendors makes selection tough

National Rugby League (NRL) is implementing a CRM solution to strengthen customer relationships and improve its ability to market games and merchandise to more than three million fans that attend games each year.

The NRL's director of strategy and special projects, Shane Mattiske, said the focus was on finding a system that could provide a "whole-of-league solution" so that not only the activities of the NRL itself can be enhanced but also make available a fully functional CRM system to clubs and possibly other rugby league bodies.

"We believe we will be able to drive strong efficiencies in areas such as marketing, operations and human resources," he said.

"NRL and club resources will gain efficiencies through access to one CRM system rather than maintaining bespoke standalone systems."

Mattiske said the contract was awarded to StayinFront Australia after a stringent selection process which involved reviewing proposals from 16 CRM vendors.

The solution is based on StayinFront CRM Web, StayinFront Analytics and StayinFront Marketing Centre.

"It will enable the growth of a game-wide database and will allow for more efficient marketing efforts across clubs," he said.

"Our fans and the game will both benefit through the implementation of the CRM. Fans will receive more focused and relevant information and special offers, while the NRL can learn more about what our fans like and reduce the instances of fans receiving the same information from two or three sources."

Mattiske said the system will combine and centralise the diverse sources of data from the NRL and the NRL clubs into a single data warehouse, while allowing for different levels of security between clubs and access governed by ownership and need.

"We can also drill down and analyse customer needs," he said.

"By improving our ability to understand the wishes of our fans and corporate customers, we can initiate more targeted communications with different customer segments and analyse our effectiveness to inform future efforts. The StayinFront solution will also enhance our effectiveness in corporate sales and sponsorship, tickets sales and club memberships."

Eclipse, which is a Web development subsidiary of professional services firm Deloitte, assisted the NRL in creating a CRM strategy and implementing the StayinFront solution.

Eclipse has also commenced assisting the NRL in planning and delivering an integrated direct marketing program throughout the season, working with clubs and utilising the system's marketing functionality.

StayinFront's managing director, Andrew Campbell, said this contract allows the company to leverage its expertise to member-based organisations including clubs and sporting associations.

He said the NRL is taking a phased approach to implementing the new CRM system, and plans to have a number of clubs using it during the 2007 season.

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