Hello, from True Media and Friends & Neighbors.

How does a poor-performing, mid-market NBA franchise selling against four other major pro teams, a Big Ten University, and its own past work to instill belief in its fan base, increase in ticket sales by 18%, and realize a 358% return on ad spend?

It turns to a strategy, creative and connection super team.

Featured Case Story: The Minnesota Timberwolves

In nearly 30 years as a franchise, the Minnesota Timberwolves have had more coaching changes than playoff appearances. So, more than diehards, the fan base is understandably filled with skeptics, head shakers and non-believers. Put simply, the Wolves needed to find a way to inspire everybody – both inside the organization and out – to adopt a new, shared mindset and journey forward, together.

Here are a few of the highlights from that journey: from brand strategy and creative platform to connection planning, execution and measurement.

First, we gave the brand soul.

More creative highlights

Then, we changed the Wolves’ marketing, media and measurement mindset.

We started with audience-first planning.

We segmented the audience based on syndicated research and multi-channel media behavior, and applied a full-funnel approach to driving individual game ticket and multi-game flex package revenue, while also supporting season membership sales.

We added a new stat to the scoreboard: Persuadability.

After our first season, we began to take the guesswork out of the marketing equation by testing different digital partners, ad units, messaging, etc., with a focus on continual improvement of defined KPI’s. In time, this improvement led to plotting “persuadability” of our different target audiences based on known behaviors from research.

We brought method to their measurement.

In conjunction with our Audience First strategic planning approach, we spend a lot of time defining campaign KPI’s and how we will uniquely measure them. Below is just an example of the different digital and audience measurements defined for a campaign.

We added new data points to their dashboard.

Archiving our measurement strategies is a dynamic marketing dashboard that captures the performance of paid media against the specific KPI’s being measured. The dashboard helps us keep our finger on the pulse of what is working, what needs improvement, and what trends to pay attention to looking forward.

We tracked the Pack’s customer journey across channels.

Our full-funnel visualization helps to better align unique marketing strategies for each product we’re selling with paid media support, i.e. individual games, flex packs and season memberships.

We can now measure sentiment through social listening.

Beyond measuring paid social and programmatic digital, we also overlay traditional mass media that is running as well as monitoring brand sentiment across social channels to learn how each is affecting our overall goals in producing more revenue from paid media efforts.

Thought starters on being relevant during COVID and no foreseeable ticket revenue.

To remain relevant today, we believe we can align with popular culture moments and engage fans in new and different ways until a vaccine exists providing consumer confidence to return to all of the professional sports stadiums and arenas. We can track Google Trends and other technology platforms to monitor trending topics and quickly assemble and produce content aligning our sports brand with these pop culture moments in a positive way.

We’ve racked up some pretty big W’s along the way.

  1. – Over $10,000,000 in measured ticket sales revenue attributed to paid media
  2. – Equates to thousands of transactions tracked from initial consumer engagement of ad unit to actual sale via pixel and megatagging
  3. – Established baseline of media allocation maximizing revenue of both traditional and digital media, i.e. proper investments in both brand building and response tactics
  4. – More definitive timing sequence of ad unit deployment to maximize revenue opportunity and lessen production cost, i.e. AI dynamic creative
  5. – Leverage 1st party data to identify additional micro targeting opportunities

Sound like the type of sports marketing super-team you’d like on your roster? Let’s connect!

Charles Howe

True Media

VP Client Development/Sales



Mark Bubula

Friends & Neighbors

President & Co-Founder