Arsenal China Supporters Club
Arsenal’s China Supporters’ Club on the team’s visit to the region last year.

The club is working to redefine what it calls a member and reduce the barriers to entry to join its scheme. Currently fans must pay a minimum of £33 annually to become a member, which gives them priority ticketing, access to Arsenal’s online video player and a welcome pack at the lowest tier.

Charles Allen, Arsenal’s head of marketing, told Marketing Week the club ideally wants to allow people to become members for a lower price, offering differing levels of information and contact.

He added: “If we stop associating members with ticket access that will change the game; it’s about fan experiences. We are investing in a CRM system to register interests and passions so we can then send those people on appropriate journeys of affinity and provide access at an appropriate level.”

The club is looking to pull together customer data from its customer shop, its 10.5 million Facebook fans and official Twitter account’s 1.5 million followers and target them with different offers and membership options as it changes its definition of club “membership”. It will also introduce social sign-ins across its digital platforms to help drive additional value through Facebook.

Allen says: “We have fans in lots of different pools and universes, but [our new CRM programme] will help us see them as one person, however they interact with us.”

Ultimately, he adds, Arsenal is looking to brands such as Tesco Clubcard, Amazon and Sky TV as the benchmark for its customer relationship management, rather than other football clubs.

Premiership rival Manchester United has previously been cited as a leader in CRM. The Manchester club’s chief operating officer Michael Bolingbroke said earlier this year that core fans are key to its marketing strategy, rather than looking to sponsorships for a “quick buck”.

Additionally Arsenal is also looking to drive fan engagement this forthcoming season by ramping up its digital, which will help engage both the club’s “weekend warriors” who attend matches and their “arm chair” fans who are unable to make it to the stadium.

The club did have plans to introduce location-based marketing to target fans with relevant partner offers on their mobiles when they were in the vicinity of the stadium, but Allen says current technology lags its ambitions and ideas.

“As soon as we crack in-stadium WiFi that will give us the flexibility to offer so much more,” he adds.

Arsenal’s current partners include O2, Emirates, Nike, Carlsberg, Lucozade and Citroen.

Arsenal Members Scheme