You’ve Gotta Friend

Finding More Prospects By Knowing Where To Look

By Julianne Corbett Waldron 

My dad used to say, “Show me your friends and I’ll show you who you are.” It usually had something to do with identifying people with good character, finding trustworthy companions or seeking like-minded business partners. However, the phrase also works with data analysis –especially in sports. 

With the goal of finding high-net-worth target prospects, it shouldn’t surprise even the most novice marketer that like-minded sports fans live similar lifestyles. Similar sports fans may have a shared interest in not only buying premium seats for games but furthering their investment by donating to the team’s athletics program. Luckily, often a donation and the premium seat purchase are intertwined anyway. 

So, how can you use this to your advantage? Well, traditionally development staff will cultivate a core set of donors 1:1 and then incentivize or just plain ask, “do you have any friends that would be interested in having the same high-touch experience that you enjoy?” This method works to suss out prospects while leveraging the most important factor in sales: relationships. But what if I told you there’s another way to find friends?

Using geolocational data, we can identify not only the unknown phantom fans in stadiums, but we can also mine the known database of donors, season ticket holders and find their “friends”. 


We know their household, we know what devices are commonly seen at the household over time and we triangulate it back to the venue, another high-net consumption location and the friend’s home too. 

Simply stated, let’s say John Smith lives at 123 Main Street and he has given 5 to 10 million in donations in his lifetime. Isn’t it true that the people who are in John Smith’s home, in his “circle of life” and are seen at your venue could be qualified prospects? We know the answer is “YES”! 

Recent work to find qualified donors shows us that just like the old school relationship referral process, finding friends of donors works with geoframing. The proven data through our matchbacks shows that friends of past buyers and top prospects were by far the most lucrative and voluminous group of buyers. These people are targeted in the same manner by one-to-one calls but now clients can digitally advertise to this group as well, furthering their brand awareness. 

Sports is a tribal experience and this method works hand-in-glove with that fact. From group entertainment to bitter rivalries — we come with friends. It makes logical sense that we also see revenue generated in the same way. You just have to know who your friends are..or rather where they are. 

college athletics marketing