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How the NBA is Setting a New Standard in Email Personalization

/ Editor - 12 April 2023
The NBA boosted click-through rates on its email campaigns by 42% and conversion rates by 63% 

The NBA has found success in boosting click-through rates and conversion rates for its email campaigns by incorporating dynamic personalized touches.

Through a partnership with Movable Ink, the campaigns utilized real-time game content, personalized banners, image personalization, and gamification to keep fans engaged.

While personalization at scale has been a challenge for marketers, the NBA’s results demonstrate the importance of utilizing first-party data to better engage with audiences.

As the marketing landscape continues to evolve, finding innovative ways to personalize content and connect with consumers will only become more crucial.

“First and foremost, we want to make it easy to be an NBA fan, By creating a new platform that brings together all the things that make up being an NBA fan — whether that’s watching games, buying a ticket, participating in fantasy or buying merchandise, we can use that platform to re-imagine and diversify what it means to be an NBA fan. One of our key focus areas will be to innovate and rethink how we present NBA games to fans and to really leverage technology to personalize and deepen those experiences and make them more engaging.”

– Chris Benyarko, NBA Executive Vice President, Direct to Consumer.


In the world of email marketing, personalization is key. Consumers don’t want to be bombarded with irrelevant emails, and savvy brands know this.

As third-party cookies are phased out, brands may shift their focus to leveraging first-party data to build stronger relationships with their existing customers. And one way to do this is by personalizing emails with timely content.

For example, a sports brand could personalize emails by including the latest NBA scores, providing a blend of relevant and engaging content that will keep customers coming back for more.

Personalizing Their Email Communications:

The NBA has implemented a strategy of personalizing their email communications to engage fans with content that is relevant to their interests.

This has been achieved through the use of multiple elements, such as animation, countdown timers and a Twitter-based voting activation.

For example, when promoting double-header games, the league has used dynamic content like GIFs that feature team images, logos, cities, game times and broadcast logos.

Additionally, player images in the emails have been tailored to match the uniform that the team will wear for the game. By using timely content, such as NBA scores, the league is able to provide fans with a personalized experience that keeps them engaged and excited about the upcoming games.

Taking Email Personalization To The Next Level:

The NBA took email personalization to the next level by incorporating timely content to engage fans. Real-time information about a team’s record, leading scorers, and upcoming games was displayed in interactive banners.

To make the fan experience even more engaging, badges were awarded based on their level of engagement with the league, including favorites teams, season ticket holders, and streaming service subscribers.

These badges were then celebrated in a daily email newsletter, personalized for each fan. The NBA’s blend of timely and personalized content made the fan experience all the more exciting.

Personalization is crucial for businesses to connect with their customers effectively. According to McKinsey & Company, 71% of consumers expect personalized interactions, and it can be frustrating when they don’t receive it.

Businesses that excel at personalization even generate 40% more revenue than those that do not. One way to achieve personalization is through timely content, such as providing NBA scores in personalized emails.

This blend of personalized content makes customers feel seen and heard, resulting in increased engagement and loyalty.

Leveraging First-party Data To Create Better Experiences:

In conclusion, the NBA’s success with their email campaigns using personalized touches is an example of how leveraging first-party data can be used to create engaging experiences for customers.

By incorporating real-time game content and gamification, the league was able to create a personalized experience that kept fans engaged and excited.

In today’s marketing landscape, it’s essential for businesses to use personalization strategies to better connect with their customers. Implementing timely content and interactive elements into emails can help brands build stronger relationships with existing customers and attract new ones as well.

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