It’s spring training time, which means the Colorado Rockies and the Arizona Diamondbacks are limbering up at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Meanwhile, fans are flocking to this picturesque Scottsdale complex to catch their favorite players in action. It’s not just the sportsmanship that’s stunning. From the 11,000-seat ball field, fans can see Camelback and the McDowell Mountains, Red Mountain, the Superstition Mountains, and Four Peaks.

If the landscape is breathtaking, so is the facility’s young history. As Chris Bonnell, Director of Marketing for Salt River Fields tells ToneDen, this isn’t your average spring training locale. “We’re the only Spring Training facility owned and operated by an Indian Community, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community,” Bonnell says. When it opened in 2011, Salt River earned a LEED Gold Certification for New Construction from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), making it the first LEED Gold-certified sports venue of its kind in the United States.

While Salt River Fields hosts events year-round, Spring Training is the busiest time of the year. Bonnell finds himself helping to “facilitate our game day production, game entertainment, and media communications.” He also oversees social media marketing, which is where he trusts ToneDen.

“With regards to baseball, we’re one of the best in all of Spring Training,” Bonnell admits. “To see the potential of ToneDen gets me excited. Every day as marketers we have to prove how we’re spending our budgets. To have actual analytics behind social media spends is helpful with proving that it’s an important marketing avenue, especially since it keeps evolving. It’s very hard to argue against hard numbers and money being brought in.”

The Definition of a Game Changer

Bonnell’s been with Salt River Fields for going on five years. He understands just how tricky social media marketing can be, especially for someone without the time to “dabble and hone in what works and what doesn’t in your market.”

That’s why he thought ToneDen would be useful. Every baseball enthusiast knows the value of tracking stats. That value applies to marketing, too.

Bonnell discovered that ToneDen let his “operation [track] how well our social media dollars were actually doing.” With the platform, he was able to gain fresh insights into the advertising plays that led to conversions.

And that’s what even the sports-phobic call a game changer. “Seeing the actual conversions of people who have bought tickets and how much money was being spent (not a whole lot),” Bonnell says, “was definitely an ‘aha moment’ and made me think of what a larger budget might bring in.”

“ToneDen Makes It Easy When You Have a Lot of Games to Market”

Salt River Fields decided to give ToneDen’s dynamic event ads a whirl. An upgrade to calendar ads of yore, dynamic events ads — or DEAs — are perfect for the marketer who has an entire season to sell tickets for.

Check out this daunting line-up below. Marketing all those games at once might have seemed impossible, but not any more. ToneDen’s DEAs and the Spring Training catalogue are a match made in heaven.

“ToneDen makes it easy when you have a lot of games to market,” Bonnell says. What does easy look like by the numbers? How about a 154.9x return on ad spend, an ROA that knocks it out of the park and then some? Bonnell has spent a mere $213 marketing about twenty games — and brought in more than $33,000.

The returns are impressive, but so is Bonnell’s audience targeting plan, which has been augmented by his use of ToneDen. “Right now I’m running two campaigns, a Remarketing DEA, and a Prospecting DEA. Both are yielding great results. I’m glad we’re getting in front of new people who are interested in baseball and I’m also glad we’re targeting people who have visited our website or have been interested in purchasing a ticket.”

“ToneDen makes it easy when you have a lot of games to market and promote through social media. It’s very easy to get integrated with our games and produce campaigns that get in front of targeted demos, and retarget folks who may have been interested in purchasing a ticket.”

With ToneDen’s DEAs, Salt River Fields can optimize its advertising strategy — and its budget. Thanks to ToneDen’s budget optimization software, Bonnell’s investment is constantly being retargeted to feed ads to the best-performing audiences. The DEAs also insure all the games are being promoted. As Bonnell says:

“In the sports world, we’ll have a ton of games to promote and market and ToneDen helps market them all versus only doing the ones that need the most help. This makes it easy to capitalize on the games that are doing well and really push those to being sold out and helping really move the needle on games that are less attractive to the casual fan.”

This is why he believes that ToneDen is a “must in the sports world.” For facilities and franchises that may not have a designated social media guru, the platform gives “any professional team (pro or minor league), college/university — really any other sports teams — the help needed to push multiple games and sell tickets.”

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