More from Episode 4
WillowTree + Braze
Learn about our partnership with Braze and how we leverage the platform’s full capabilities.
Meet the team
Introducing some of WillowTree's sports media marketing all-stars.
Room For Growth
Cast members from 2WTB share a deep-dive on their collaboration with Braze.
WillowTree - a Telus International Company

Teaming Up:
WillowTree + Braze.

Sports are the great connector. A shared passion for a team or player has the power to unite thousands of people — regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, geography, or any other demographic.

Unfortunately, modern sports can feel intensely disconnected, despite or even because of all the digital channels and devices at our disposal. Every sport operates differently, and it’s increasingly difficult to cut through the noise and keep track of the best ways to watch a game, track down player info, and connect with other fans.

Luckily, we can leverage a digital platform like Braze to personalize the sports experience and bring fans together again, so we developed the fictional “WillowTree Sports Network” app powered by the Braze platform to create a better experience.

We know sports media.

Integrated data across sources to fuel personalized marketing campaigns for WWE
Built mobile and OTT apps to stream Super Bowl, World Series, World Cup, and Olympics
Leveraged Braze to manage email, push, and in-app touchpoints during NCAA March Madness
Created second-screen experience cementing Pepsi as Twitter Brand Bowl MVP

Discovery + Ideation Phases

Audience Segmentation.

Sports fans are not a monolith. In any given sport, we find a wide range of audience personas, including:

  • Hardcore superfans (season ticket holders and analytics junkies)
  • Casual fans (who love the playoffs or a specific player)
  • New fans (still learning the nuances of rivalries and rulebooks)
  • Dormant fans (long-suffering folks ready to be re-engaged)

We identify differently with different sports at different times of life. Why not empower fans to tell us who they are and the information they find valuable?

Field Research + Fandom.

Through some (really fun) field research, our team caught some games at Madison Square Garden, Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center, and Fenway Park, analyzing in the in-person experience with fresh eyes. We also convened focus groups with fans — who expressed varying engagement levels and reasons for engaging with each sport, team, or player — to identify underlying motivations and pain points.

Personalized Journeys.

The sports experience requires some complex Journey Mapping. There’s an opportunity for brands to be more aware of whether a fan is watching a game live on their mobile device, watching on time delay at home, or watching in-stadium. Messaging should always be relevant and spoiler-free. And we have the tools to make this happen.

Prioritizing for ROI.

Budgets are tight, so it’s crucial to examine the technical lift and the potential return on investment associated with engaging these complex audience segments. WillowTree’s Prioritization Workshop charts these varied combinations to help clients understand the lowest-hanging fruit and the higher-lift, higher-ROI concepts. Given the time constraints of our two-week sprint, we focused on the hardcore and casual fan segments with the highest potential ROI.

Channel Strategy + Creative Concepts

Concept 1

A New Onboarding Experience.

Generic, impersonal pop-ups. Privacy concerns. Unclear value exchange for user data. Average app adoption rates are abysmal, but proper in-app onboarding helps boost long-term user retention.

With WillowTree Sports Network, we capture critical fan information, leveraging a robust preference center and well-timed in-app messaging to optimize user experience and boost long-term retention. We employ sport-by-sport customization of push notifications and email subscriptions, plus a personalized understanding of whether a fan wants in-depth stats and analysis versus basic information to learn the ropes of a new sport.

Most importantly, we honor these preferences and provide opportunities to update as user preferences inevitably change.

Concept 2

Spoiler-Free Online Streaming.

In today’s highly fragmented sports coverage landscape, fans consistently seek information on when and where to watch.

Using customer profile data, we can send targeted push notifications to ensure fans never miss a minute of the action. But for fans watching on time delay who are worried about spoilers, we can still make real-time messaging seamless while allowing users to “mute” notifications for individual games.

Concept 3

Keep the Focus on the Field.

For fans headed to the game, we need to provide differentiated pre-game and in-stadium experiences for first-time attendees vs. returning visitors.

Using Braze, we can surface critical information to new visitors, such as navigation assistance and travel tips, while creating “surprise and delight” moments for returning visitors, such as personalized merchandise recommendations or integrated Spotify playlists.

Above all, just because we have the tools doesn’t mean we have to use them. Let fans keep their focus on the field. Say less.

Concept 4

Hyper-Personalized Content Strategy.

Skip the impersonal content that ignores user interest and expertise. Customize and enrich content seamlessly using features like Braze’s Content Blocks, Liquid Logic, and Connected Content.

With a customer data platform (CDP) serving as a single source of truth across channels, we can serve users the content they crave, whether it’s a deep dive on sabermetrics or delightful insights into your favorite player's workout routine and walk-up song.

Measure & Learn

Marketing Should be Meaningful for Fans.

Most brands focus on improving campaign performance rather than boosting customer lifetime value. This episode focused on high-impact, low-lift activities that would address fans’ pain points and needs. We align on KPIs and craft dashboards carefully to ensure we can effectively measure how each tactic influences fan engagement over time.

Hit your hard-to-reach audiences. Book an Engagement Workshop.

  • Review data segmentation
  • Audit journey maps
  • Measure channel messaging performance
  • Analyze benchmarks against industry expectations
  • Recommend quick-win and longer-term priorities

More episodes.

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Season 1 | Episode 1

Watch as WillowTree designers Aubrie Phillips and Vagner Mensch race the clock to rapid-prototype a better end-to-end experience for air travel.

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Season 1 | Episode 2

Join WillowTree designers Ryan Davis, Maris DeBruhl, and Brogan Williams as they reimagine the BOPIS experience and enhance connection between shoppers and retailers.

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Watch as WillowTree’s research and design teams fuse community and communication to personalize end-to-end experiences for utility customers everywhere.

Let's talk.

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