Pardon This Interruption

It’s a brisk, but muggy Sunday morning in Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park. There is what feels like an emotional weight covering the city – noticeably heavier than the humid fog. It is a feeling of anticipation and nervousness that is a bit suffocating as I walk down the streets. Even though I am aware of my unsettled feeling, I sense a certain buzz as a street grows crowded. All of us on the sidewalks wrestle with the competing emotions as we make our way to the NFC Championship game between the hometown Atlanta Falcons and the Green Bay Packers. Sports … Atlanta … Playoffs – I’m guessing you understand my anxiety.

The frenzy is building so my friends, and I participate in several pregame chants as we maneuver through the crowded security line before finally making our way into the warm Georgia Dome. Long suffering Atlanta fan that I am, I decided to keep the Atlanta mojo going by visiting the concession stand and get my souvenir cup filled with hometown Coca-Cola. Maybe Matty Ice or Julio would be the featured stars on my all-Atlanta beverage. I waited for my drink to be poured and noticed another Falcons fan ordering in the line next to me. He ordered two regular soft drinks and two hot dogs. As the cashier rang up his order, an Interruptive Marketing message flashed across the digital menu boards. You know, a message that takes over all nine of the screens in the concession stand for a few moments. The message was clear, succinct, and engaging … and it was an advertisement for the souvenir cup that I had already ordered. He immediately, shouted at the cashier, “Wait! I want that one.” Ahhhh, the power of good marketing … and a commemorative Falcons keepsake!

All of us, as marketers, need to pay attention to what just happened. A fan was engaged, influenced, and compelled to buy. He spent more cash willingly, simply because he discovered something that he wanted. Consider the sequence of events. By the time he looked up at the Digital Menu Board again, the brief Interruptive Marketing message already dissolved back to the initial menu. But the impression stuck long enough to influence him to change his order from the regular to souvenir size. By the way, the cost of a regular soft drink is $4.50, whereas that souvenir size is $7.00. The intelligent upsell added an extra $5.00 to the concession stand cash drawer. That’s good marketing. More importantly, that’s good business. Interruptive Marketing at its finest!

The stadium was packed, and I could not help but reminisce on the Georgia Dome – this was the final Falcons game to be played in the iconic Atlanta landmark. It led me to think: How many people have filled this stadium over the years? That answer – over 1.5 million annually. For all you concessionaires and stadium owners, consider the math. Over 20 years, and seemingly countless events, that one upsell transaction repeated once for every 100 fans would result in a cool million-and-a-half in profit dollars. And that’s only for a single featured product using Interruptive Marketing! There is some money to be made by using this engaging tool.

Content, optimization and analysis of transactions are vital in a Stadium Digital Menu Board strategy and wildly important to the success of the concession operation. In the case of the Georgia Dome – the number of impressions from their digital menu boards is astronomical – in the millions each year. Consider a data-driven design approach where revenues are maximized by influencing the buying behavior of customers. Are you using data, marketing, and analytics to make your menu boards more engaging? Maybe it’s overdue – just like a Super Bowl win for the patient Atlanta fans like me!

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