What Zurich Wants You to Know About Centralizing Ticket and Hospitality Management
Zurich North America’s Will Trumbull, senior marketing manager, and Jean Adams, marketing events manager, graciously joined TicketManager clients and guests for a series of three All Access Round Table discussions last week.
Below are some of the takeaways from those interactive conversations:
As a leading carrier in the highly intermediated commercial insurance industry, Zurich partners with events to better develop and amplify relationships with its customers and distributors, including brokers such as Aon, Willis, Marsh and Gallagher.
Decision to centralize. Zurich recognized it lacked visibility into how corporate tickets were being used and that, apart from the company’s sponsorship of the Zurich Classic PGA Tour event in New Orleans, it was lacking a consistent approach to making investment decisions around which ticketing and hospitality assets to acquire as well as around managing and distributing tickets.
“We often were seeing investments made on personal preference, or anecdotal evidence about how much demand there was among customers to attend certain events,” Jean said. “We had no data to base decisions on and we were using really labor-intensive methods of managing tickets. Every region did things differently. If we wanted to aggregate any data—who was going, why they were going, how many events did any one person go to—it took months to do. It was not sustainable or scalable.”
Neutralizing the “ticket mafia.” Transparency, involvement and education are necessary to get the people who previously controlled ticket allocation within their groups, regions, etc. on board with a new system. In many instances, members of this group—dubbed the “ticket mafia” by one round-table participant—are reluctant to release their “death grip” on tickets.
At Zurich, it was especially important to communicate with and involve all stakeholders early on in the centralization process, in particular user groups, IT and senior executives. “In hindsight, we probably could have focused a little more on the people who would use the system—our regional teams, sales, the people going to the events,” Jean said. “This was a big change for people who had been used to managing tickets on their own. I would recommend having them involved in demos of the tool and giving feedback as to how it could be rolled out.”
Will added, “Having a ticket management system ultimately makes work life better for everyone. Operationally, it takes the decision on whether a Zurich underwriter in New York can take a broker to a Yankees game and puts it between the underwriter and their manager. Previously it was between the underwriter and a regional events manager who had the tickets. Being a gatekeeper is not the proper role for an events manager; they should be empowered to be consultative and able to make recommendations on allocation based on their analysis of usage information. Then the salesperson and their manager can make an evidenced-based decision.
Ticket management integration as the carrot and the stick in CRM adoption. As Zurich adopts a data-driven marketing and sales model, having high quality customer and distributor contact information is critically important.
Data not only defines the three-way value exchange between customer, distributor and carrier, but also allows the company to find new customers by deploying new marketing channels based on its knowledge of existing digital journeys and unique experiences.
Zurich has not been as successful as it would like in having its people use Salesforce, its CRM system. Ticket management can play a key role in making sure the right customer information is generated and updated in Salesforce, as it is necessary to qualify for company business-use tickets, not to mention properly distribute them to customers.
Three recommendations for any company about to adopt a ticket management system.
1. Have a solid communication plan in partnership with your internal communications experts. Zurich had two communication paths, one for the admins who would be managing tickets in TicketManager and one for end users.
A key element was to roll information out in increments. “We didn’t want to overwhelm people,” Jean said. “With companies adopting so many new systems, we wanted to avoid “system fatigue.” We were careful to give just the information they needed but also to make additional information available if they wanted it.”
2. Don’t allow anyone to circumvent the ticket management system. Resist the temptation to “do it for them” or permit admins to place orders for other employees, otherwise it will never be fully adopted.
3. There will be a lot of questions at rollout and as much as you try to anticipate them all and have pre-determined answers at the ready, you can’t cover everything. “Don’t think you have to have the answer to every question immediately,” Jean said. “It’s okay to say, ‘I don’t know, this is new for all of us’ and let them know you will discuss it internally or with TicketManager and get back to them.”