Working closely with Goodform, England 2015 used innovative ways to firstly engage fans and then maintain their interest throughout the record breaking Tournament.

The Rugby World Cup emerged as the biggest single sport event ever for fan engagement.

Goodform, the CRM and research specialists behind several initiatives for England 2015, has revealed the staggering numbers from a range of projects before and during the competition.

Since Goodform first became involved with RWC 2015 in 2011, there have been 43.3million emails sent over 316 campaigns. Impressively, there were nearly three million click-throughs – an average open rate of 37% and a peak of 89%.

Survey responses have been equally impressive – pre-tournament surveys brought almost 100,000 responses, and total Rugby World Cup 2015 research survey responses amounted to 156,314.

Joanna Manning-Cooper, Communications and Marketing Director, England Rugby 2015 said, “We wanted to take rugby fans on a journey with us to Rugby World Cup 2015, and we set up our ‘Front Row’ database three years before the tournament. We built a loyal and committed customer base, and worked closely with Goodform to create engaging and dynamic content and strong and creative campaigns, powered by targeted analytics.”

Alison Dalrymple, Managing Director of Goodform, said, “It’s been a record-breaking tournament in so many ways. A highly successful engagement strategy, reflected in a substantial database growth, led to unprecedented ticket sales and attendances.”

Already, World Rugby and England Rugby 2015 have declared it the biggest and best tournament ever. Ticket sales reached 2.47m across the 48 matches, the official Fanzone attendance surpassed the 1m mark and Wembley Stadium drew two consecutive Rugby World Cup attendance records.

Alison added, “We believe that our figures set their own benchmarks for fan engagement.  The email click-through and open rates alone were double the industry average.

Personalised campaigns enabled us to fully engage with the audience which saw open rates of over 70% for priority ticket sales. This has undoubtedly contributed in securing the highest ever attendance at a World Cup.”

Head of Research & Insight at Goodform, Alexandra Kyrke-Smith, added, “This positive relationship between fans and Rugby World Cup 2015 is further demonstrated by the high number of responses to the customer surveys. This allowed comprehensive research and insight to be used as an evidence base for planning and match-day experience improvements.”

Goodform began their work in 2012 and went on to conduct pre-tournament surveys, which received almost 100,000 responses. It allowed organisers to shape ticket policies, provide comparisons between the different venues, and enabled the provision of detailed information specific to each venue.

Alison added, “By starting to engage with fans following the 2011 World Cup, we were able to build up a loyal and committed customer base. By the time the tournament came found fans felt they were part of an exclusive club and wanted to participate even more.”

Goodform’s targeted approach also included 16 different ticket buying guides. Fixtures Guides contained specific detail on the fan’s local RWC 2015 venues – matches, players to look out for and local attractions. Venue Guides were personalised with pictures of the area, information on Fanzones, and different category prices.

Applicants who missed out on tickets in the first instance were then approached with a ticket buying priority window. Fans were contacted based on their previously shown ticket interests, with more than 45 different versions of emails created. These dynamic emails suggested games featuring a previously chosen team and/or venue, or suggested alternative category tickets available to the originally desired game.

The findings showed the most important parts of match experience were the entry of the teams and the national anthems. Expert commentary and big screens were also crucial, and a fully functional RWC 2015 app proved very popular with fans.

Joanna Manning-Cooper, Communications and Marketing Director, England Rugby 2015 added, “We were delighted with the results, not just in terms of record breaking ticket sales, but also in terms of general engagement and connection with the fan base. Goodform were great partners, and a key part of our team.“

Alison Dalrymple added, “Given the sheer scale and length of the tournament, the organisers took an unprecedented approach to engage fans. Truly creative campaigns inspired people from all over the world, all underpinned by our CRM strategy which built and utilised a database of over 1 million sports fans.  This ground breaking approach to a tournament delivered tangible results in terms of ticket sales and engaging and inspiring not just sports fans but the sports industry.

The numbers are a great illustration of how the tournament captured people’s imagination.”

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