The German Football Association (or DFB, Deutscher Fußball-Bund, in German) is the world’s largest sports federation representing more than 25,000 clubs, boasts the number two men’s and women’s national footballs team in the world, according to the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). It’s an incredible achievement. But who wants to be number two? With the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil on the horizon, DFB has a strategic goal to become the leading football organization in the world, not just in terms of ranking but also fan experience.

Like many enterprises I talk to, reinventing the customer experience is a key competitive differentiator for DFB. But with 6.8 million members—nearly 10 percent of the country’s population—creating a unique and real-time experience for every fan was a daunting challenge. That’s where the organization’s implementation of SAP CRM powered by SAP HANA comes in. DFB wanted the ability to create one-of-a-kind experiences and provide individual attention to its fans, but it also required a speedy rollout. The new business platform enabled DFB to create a world-class fan experience with simpler communication, better campaign management, and personalized offers.

                                          

The first big test came in the form of a marketing campaign for the Women’s Cup Final. The campaign took only two weeks to launch, including individual communication to more than 8,700 fans. Marketing managers, taking advantage of real-time analytics, found that half of the fans read the emails and 7 percent clicked through to buy tickets. DFB reached out specifically to fans who lived nearby the stadium in Cologne. 

As DFB’s SAP project lead Daniel Gutermuth explained to us, the biggest benefit was the ability for DFB to manage a major marketing campaign on its own for the very first time. In addition, by deploying CRM to the SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud, Gutermuth expects DFB’s marketing and sales processes to become even more efficient and collaborative.

The scalable and flexible solution positions DFB to offer leading edge digital and mobile experiences as well. They’ll be able to inform fans of new events and tickets via smartphone apps—tickets they’ll be more likely to buy thanks to real-time analysis of customer data. They’ll give fans new social seating capabilities find and sit with their friends at a match, whether at home or away.

And, DFB is betting they’ll be able to create a number one fan experience and number one teams.

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