FedEx Open House Takes NFL Sponsorship Local
FedEx became an NFL sponsor in 2000, and the delivery service has been successfully identifying ways to weave its positioning and brand messages through football ever since. But a few years into the partnership, one key challenge remained.
“The issue was that although the NFL is incredibly popular, and while we have a good program and good benefits from the league, we can’t touch as many people as we’d like to with [just] tickets to the games,” says Nancy Altenburg, FedEx’s sponsorship marketing manager. “We thought, ‘How can we involve the NFL at the local level, bring value to FedEx, and at the same time offer our customers a unique experience?’”
The answer was the NFL Open House, an event for key customers and new prospects that would take place at an NFL team’s stadium or practice facility. The Open House would be one part business seminar, one part football chalk talk—and all FedEx. The company has held 16 of the events, hosting groups of 400 or more at a time, offering guests behind-the-scenes tours of NFL stadiums, appearances by players and coaches, dinner and entertainment, and presentations by FedEx executives. “They allow our various operating companies to put on a mini-trade show and talk about the products and services we offer,” Altenburg says. “It’s a chance to demonstrate some things we can’t in awareness advertising.”
To help strengthen customer connections, FedEx doesn’t just bring its sales staff. Local operations workers also are part of the events, so customers can meet the people who actually handle their shipments. Nice touch.
FedEx estimates the program has helped generate millions of dollars in incremental business; its local marketing teams have reported the Open House initiative is the most impressive client hosting program they’ve ever had; and 87 percent of guests said the event made them feel like “important and valued” customers. Sounds like a touchdown.