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Golden State Warriors enlists mobile for fan engagement

The National Basketball Association?s Golden State Warriors are using a combination of mobile, digital and social marketing initiatives to connect with sports fans this season.

The Golden State Warriors are working with Phizzle to power the digital initiatives. The marketing is meant to appeal to fans both inside the stadium and at home.

"What we have seen is a natural extension of social with mobile," said Kevin Cote, director of digital marketing at the Golden State Warriors, Oakland, CA.

"Mobile is a huge key focus on what we do from here on out," he said.

"Everything that we do on the Web site, we have to think about how to translate it for the mobile site. It's a channel that is going to be increasingly important over the next few years, and it's something that we want to be known as a leader of in the space."

Mobile slam dunk
The Golden State Warriors are using a variety of digital marketing initiatives during the 2012-2013 season to spur engagement with its fans.

SMS, mobile Web, real-time alerts and a mobile app all play a role in how the team is using mobile to connect with consumers.

For instance, the Golden State Warriors? SMS program keeps fans in the loop with team updates, special offers and news.

To help promote the SMS programs, calls-to-action are placed on the team's Web site and in emails.

Examples of in-stadium interaction include polls, trivia and text-to-screen initiatives.

Social media also plays a big role in how the team is using mobile.

For example, giveaways and sweepstakes are cross-promoted between SMS, Twitter and Facebook.

The ?White Out? campaign on Jan. 2 encouraged users to text the keyword "WARRIORSWHITEOUT? to the short code 53548 for a chance to win two tickets to a game against the Los Angeles Clippers. The campaign was promoted on Facebook and Twitter.

The campaign ran from noon until 3 p.m. the day of the game. 4,023 total texts were received with 2,999 unique texts.

A bounce-back message encouraged users to opt-in to the team?s SMS program by texting "GSW" back, which helped the organization build up its mobile database. Per Phizzle, 21 percent of consumers that participated in the sweepstakes chose to opt-in to the Golden State Warriors' SMS program.

Deeper fan connection
Nowadays consumers are tied to their mobile devices while watching TV and at live events, giving marketers multiple touch points for engagement.

Sports fans in particular rely on their mobile devices to keep tabs on their favorite teams in real time.

The challenge for marketers is how to keep the conversation going for a long-term relationship.

Therefore, SMS tends to be favored by sports teams to send out time-sensitive messages and information that fosters a closer connection with sports fans.

"Everything has to work together - it is solidified proof that there is a desire in social media for SMS alerts," said Jeff Ryznar, vice president of marketing at Phizzle, San Francisco.

"While there are teams that have been doing mobile already, the Warriors are more calculated with their approach," he said.

"Instead of treating mobile as a noun, it is an adjective and describes the interaction between the team and fans."

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York