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The Football Association of Wales (FAW) has been governing and promoting football in Wales for over a century. As part of its commitment to embracing modern technologies and improving its relationship with fans, the FAW decided to introduce digital membership cards in 2022 using its newly introduced Tixserve-powered Cymru Tickets app.
This move was a significant step forward, transitioning from traditional plastic-based membership cards to a digital solution. The objective was to streamline operations, reduce costs, enhance communication, increase sustainability, and create a more engaging environment for their members, particularly the dedicated "super fans".
Cost of printing and distributing
Printing and distributing plastic membership cards and the accompanying fan information incurred considerable expenses for the FAW. Communication to members during their membership period was also expensive and frequently involved the creation, printing and distribution of members' offers and entitlements.
Traditional plastic membership cards limited the FAW's ability to communicate effectively with its members. Sending out updates, promotions, and important information was time-consuming, expensive and often ineffective, as many members might not receive or read the messages in a timely manner.
The FAW had no knowledge of the effectiveness of their mailed communication activity and had limited data on the effectiveness of email activity.
Data accuracy and verification
Maintaining accurate and up-to-date member data was a challenge with paper-based systems. It was difficult to verify the authenticity of the information provided by members, potentially leading to inaccuracies and complications in managing membership-related activities. Interaction with members keeping their information up-to-date was labour intensive, time consuming and costly.
Engagement and interaction
The FAW sought to create an "always on" engaging environment for its members. Traditional plastic membership cards and paper-based member collateral lacked interactive features, limiting the scope for fan engagement and participation.
The introduction of digital membership cards by the Football Association of Wales led to several positive outcomes:
By eliminating the need for printing and distributing plastic membership cards, the FAW have achieved substantial cost savings. The funds previously allocated for these processes could now be reinvested in other fan-centric initiatives.
The digital membership cards eliminated or reduced the following:
- printing and distribution costs
- reprint and replacement costs
- storage and inventory management
- the need to print and distribute accomanying written material associated with member offers, activities and entitlements.
The digital membership cards are facilitating seamless communication between the FAW and its members. Through the digital ticketing app, the organisation can send real-time updates and push notifications, exclusive content, and promotions directly to members' smartphones. This direct and instant communication channel keeps fans engaged and informed, boosting excitement and participation in FAW-relate activities. In contrast, traditional plastic membership cards were relying on physical mail which was slower and less efficient.
Verified member data
Digital membership cards enable the FAW to gather verified data from its members. Users now register and authenticate their accounts, ensuring accurate information and streamlining membership management processes. As new members sign up, this data is continuously updated, giving the FAW access to ongoing up-to-date information.
Richer sponsor proposition
The digital membership cards have significantly enriched the sponsor proposition for the FAW. By integrating sponsor branding, offers, competitions and promotions directly into the digital membership cards, sponsors now enjoy higher visibility and accurate engagement rates. The digital platform provides a dynamic and interactive space for sponsors to connect with the FAW's passionate fan base, offering personalised content tailored to members' interests.
With real-time data and insights, sponsors can accurately monitor the return on investment of their campaigns, enabling them to fine-tune their strategies and optimise their sponsorship efforts for maximum impact. The level of transparency and accurate engagement tracking opportunities foster stronger partnerships between sponsors and the FAW, driving mutual success and further enhancing the overall fan experience.
The digital ticketing platform creates an "always on" engaging environment for its members. Members can access exclusive "super fan" benefits such as updates on ticket sales, discounts to merchandise, and various affiliation links, fostering a sense of community and loyalty.
The digital membership cards also incorporate rich media content and interactive elements such as exclusive links and discounts. This multimedia approach makes membership cards more engaging and captivating, capturing fans' attention and enhancing their overall experience.
Convenience and accessibility
Having a digital membership card integration into the Cymru digital ticketing app offers unparalleled convenience and accessibility for members. They can access their membership details and benefits directly from their smartphones, eliminating the need to carry physical cards or remember discount numbers. This ease of access encourages higher engagement and more frequent use of membership benefits.
Ease of updates and corrections
In the case of changes to membership benefits, contact information or discount codes, updating a digital membership card is now seamless. The FAW can quickly push updates to all members, ensuring that everyone has the most current and accurate information. This eliminates the need for reissuing physical cards or dealing with outdated printed material.
Transitioning to digital membership cards align with the FAW's sustainability efforts. By reducing paper usage, the organisation has demonstrated its commitment to eco-friendly practices which garners positive recognition from environmentally conscious fans and stakeholders.
In conclusion, the Football Association of Wales' decision to introduce digital membership cards in 2022 within the digital ticketing app proved to be a strategic and impactful move. By addressing challenges related to costs, communication, sustainability, data verification, and engagement, the FAW demonstrated its commitment to leveraging technology for the benefit of its members and the organisation as a whole. The success of this initiative serves as a model for other sports organisation looking to modernise their operations and enhance their relationships with fans in the digital age.