The Achieve By Unity Fans Partnership Meeting Minutes
22nd November 2007, Glovers Lounge, 5.45pm
Sara Bradley – Supporter Liaison Officer
Jean Cotton – Club/Company Secretary
Dave Linney – Commercial Manager
Peter O’Riordan – Accountant
James Hiller – General Stadium Manager
Ali King – Community Coordinator
Steve Hands – BSH Partnership
Ian Blackmore – Lottery & Promotions Manager
Rich Rendell – GWSC
Steve Watts – GWSC
Fiona Grant – GWSC
Sharon Swain – DSA
Cyril Pomeroy – Supporter Representative
Paul Morgan – Supporter Representative
Kim Vickers – Supporter Representative
Pete Brooks – Supporter Representative
Nigel Inggs – Supporter Representative
Dave Lilly – Supporter Representative
Tony Streetin– GWSC
Rod Hallett – VP’s
Martin McConachie – Supporter Representative
James Richards – Marketing/Business Development Executive
Adrian Hopper – Press Officer
Sue Parsons – Ticket Office Manager
1) Approval of Previous Minutes (18/10/07)
All present agreed that the minutes from the previous meeting were a true and accurate record.
2) Update on previous action points (18/10/07)
Action: Executive Committee to discuss Pre Match and Half Time Entertainment.
Dave Linney explained to the group that the Club were conscious of the fact that the Groundsman was quite rightly protective when it came to Half Time entertainment on the pitch. However, he was still looking into having a 5-a-side tournament in the centre circle at halftime which would involve the clubs Youth Development players. He then went onto tell the group that he was looking at re-introducing cheerleaders for next season but would welcome any ideas from supporters regarding what they would like to see at half time.
Action: Sara to arrange a meeting between Nigel Inggs and John Fry to discuss improvements to the Tea Bars.
Sara told the group that the meeting had taken place and that Nigel would discuss the outcome in Item 5 of the Agenda.
Action: Sara to ask Clive about implementing a queuing system in the Marquee and purchasing another till in order to improve service.
Clive told the group that the queuing system would be in place for the next home match to see if it made a difference on match days. Clive went onto say that this would stop people standing at the bar which would make sure that supporters were served quickly.
Action: Sara Bradley to look into devising a fair system which will give all supporters the chance to vote for Supporters Representatives next season.
Sara stated that this was ongoing; however a fairer system would be in place before the end of next season.
Action: Sara to look into obtaining the PTV Glovers World data, to send an e-mail explaining what is going on at PTV.
Action: The Club to ask a Representative from PTV to attend the next Fans Partnership Meeting.
Sara told the group that she had contacted PTV regarding both actions on numerous occasions and in the end only received a response regarding the Glovers World data.
She told the group that if the Club wanted the data in a CSV file from PTV the Club would need to pay £200.00 for the data. Both Sara and the Club were unhappy about this, so it was decided that an article would be put onto the Official Website asking for Glovers World subscribers to e-mail their details to Sara. Dave Lilly suggested that the Club should put an article on the Official website outlining the problems that they are encountering with PTV and see how long the article stays on the site for. Dave Lilly also suggested that the Club should look into the Contract given by PTV to the Club to see what is included in the levels of service section as it was felt that PTV not responding to e-mails could be a breach of contract on their part.
New Action: Sara to look into the Contract from PTV regarding the Official Website and Glovers World.
Action: Adrian Hopper to take the suggestion of a one off price reduction of the Match Day Programme to the Executive Committee.
The Executive Committee had spoken about this and it was felt that the programme was still cheaper than a lot of Clubs, as the majority of programmes in the League were £3.00.
To bring the price down to a £1.00 was a risk as the Club would need to order X amount of programmes and if they didn’t sell the Club would be back to square one. It was stated that the Club thought the LA Beckons competition would encourage people to purchase the programme but it hasn’t. Paul Morgan asked if the Club weren’t prepared to go ahead with this idea, what they would be doing in order to increase sales, as he felt that the proposal was a very good idea and a common marketing ploy. Paul then went onto say that he felt that selling more programmes was all about telling people what a good product it is and that unless you get that programme into people’s hands even if it is just for one week the Club are back to square one being unhappy with programme sales. Paul then stated that he was unhappy with the response from the Club as the Club had asked for suggestions last time and he felt that the group had come up with a very good suggestion.
Clive Robinson told the group that the Club had to be very careful when implementing these types of offers due to the fact that they would be chasing themselves for the next 5-7 matches if the reduced programme still didn’t sell.
Cyril Pomeroy asked if it was possible to continue this discussion during the final action point as this was about the Club looking into another incentive for people to purchase the programme.
Action: Adrian to produce A4 and A3 posters advertising the LABeckons Competition
This had been actioned with posters being placed on the programme huts, in the toilets and around the stadium.
Action: The Club to look into another incentive for people to purchase the programme.
Cyril Pomeroy suggested that the Club could produce a numbered flyer that went inside every programme which could be drawn at half time. The prize could be £25.00 cash or a £25.00 cash bonus plus a voucher for the Club Shop. Cyril said that he has mentioned this to the Green and Whites Supporters Club who sell the programmes and that they would be quite happy to insert a flyer in each one in order to give supporters that extra incentive to purchase a programme.
It was stated that the Executive Committee would take that idea on board and discuss that at one of their meetings. Nigel Inggs asked if it would be possible for companies that advertised in the programme to offer discounts for supporters who purchased the programme. Dave Linney told the group that it could be a possibility and that he would investigate. Cyril then went onto say that whatever the Club decided to do; it needed to be well advertised in advance.
3) Glovers Football Campaign
Steve Hands from BSH partnership was invited to the meeting to clear up a few issues that supporters had with the Glovers Football campaign.
Steve stated that he had previously worked with Bristol City FC, Somerset Cricket Club, Bristol Rugby Club and currently Cheltenham Town on various marketing initiatives.
Steve started working alongside YTFC, during the Season ticket campaign back at the start of the season.
The whole essence of the Glovers Football Campaign is to use the Clubs data on a wider bases making sure that the campaign was very impactful and to focus on the 4 games during December to give people a decent reason to attend those games.
3000 posters were printed and sent to Pubs and Licensed Premises, Football Clubs in and around Somerset and all corporate contacts. The posters were in tubes accompanied with a letter from Russell and sent to them direct. A lot of posters were given out via supporters at the Gillingham game so a vast amount is out there. Personalised postcards were sent to 4,500 people that the Club are trying to get back to Huish Park. The whole idea behind this online initiative is to try to appeal to a wider audience who can now buy 24 hours a day. The club was originally restricted to selling 37% of the time; however we can now sell 100% of the time. Sara stated that the Club had received the following questions regarding the campaign and that Steve had the following answers.
Q. Club advertising ‘cheaper tickets’ isn’t true
1. Single Adult purchasing single ticket
2. Group purchases of a family ticket
The tickets are at a lesser value; therefore the position on ticket pricing is true. However, the club is promoting ‘Great Value’ and not a specific price position. Single Adult (committed supporter who attends selectively v. Season Ticket) is not the target market for this campaign. The casual audience would treat the opportunity to attend Huish Park as one of a number of leisure options and hence would be unlikely to attend alone. The average number of tickets sold per online transaction is 2.6; therefore there is considerable extra value for the customer in making an online purchase.
Q. The promotion implies that it gives universally cheaper tickets
A. It does not. The message is value rather than price. It is agreed that supporters need to work out the comparative benefits for themselves (like P&P costs for any online sales) but in most instances, the supporter will receive better value plus more convenience.
Q. Why has the club purchased another online system that again restricts purchases to specific blocks in the stand? The advertising claims these are ‘better tickets’ but that is misleading as they are actually corner block tickets and not the better halfway line tickets.
A. The club has not invested further capital in another system, yet has managed to negotiate a much improved online arrangement which significantly reduces booking costs for supporters, e.g. four adults in the Carlsberg Stand would previously have attracted a £5.12 booking fee. That is now £2.00.
The previous booking fee arrangements were also on a set percentage basis, therefore the more you spent, the more you were charged. Now there is a single, fixed per transaction cost which is very good value and in line with other clubs in Coca-Cola League One
• Bournemouth £2 per transaction
• Huddersfield £1 per ticket
• Millwall (Ticketmaster) £1.30 per ticket + £1.85 order processing
‘Better tickets’ refers to the inventory that was previously available online. This is now much improved – all stands and in from the corners. However seats at the half way line are largely taken by Season Ticket Holders in any event.
Q. Why does the promotion claim to be more environmentally friendly?
A. This was the positioning for the launch to underpin the strap line of Go Green Go Online. The environmental angle will not continue but Go Green Go Online will remain at the forefront of the online strategy.
The New online system is vital in extracting maximum value from the club’s investment in a CRM system which will largely operate online. This would mean that, were the club to ever experience another high volume, high demand fixture e.g. Wembley, then in-house capability would enable the club to offer a more direct service to supporters.
The online focus also opens the club up to a regional audience that can now purchase tickets 24 hours a day. The club has, therefore, increased its opening hours per week from c.62 hours to 168 hours.
It is important that all supporters embrace and use the new online service to ensure that the online strategy continues into 2008, particularly as this gives the club the optimum chance of attracting casual supporters to Huish Park. However, any continued implementation of this strategy is dependent on the level of uptake during December.
4) Categorised Matches
Nigel Inggs asked the Club if there had been anymore discussions in the Executive Committee meeting regarding categorised matches. It was stated the Club hadn’t discussed Categorised matches as yet but it was on the Agenda to be discussed in the next few weeks and their recommendations would be given to the Board of Directors in January. Dave Linney told the group that comments regarding categorised matches had been taken on board and would be discussed at the Executive Committee meeting. Nigel suggested that the Club could look into a similar scheme that Liverpool F.C. have where supporters have to buy two tickets at a time, that way the Club could link a premium game with a non premium game and encourage supporters to buy both matches at once. Alternatively rather than having categorised matches the Club could reverse the strategy with tickets being priced at a certain price with the Club finding excuses to discount the games bar 5 matches throughout the season so supporters can get value for money. Dave Lilly stated that casual supporters who turn up on a match day are confused about how much they need to pay when purchasing tickets. He felt that as from next season the ticket prices should go up by £1.00 across the board and that the Club should scrap categorised matches so supporters knew how much they needed to pay on the day in order to budget for it.
Paul Morgan asked if supporters could be given more notice when all ticket matches are changed because it causes confusion amongst supporters. James Hillier stated that this could be done and that he would endeavour to get answers from the police in advance in order to give supporters more notice
5) Tea Bars
Nigel Inggs stated that he had met with John Fry, Clive Robinson and James Richards regarding the Tea Bars and was very impressed with the outcome. Nigel went onto say that he had told them what areas needed to be improved and how to reduce queues, and as a result Nigel and a colleague were coming to the Hartlepool game to work alongside the Tea Bar Staff in the Carlsberg Stand in order to improve their working environment and to speed things up to improve service.
Once Nigel and his colleague had worked on the Tea Bars they would take a look in the Marquee and go from there. Nigel informed the group that he would report back at the next meeting.
It was suggested by Dave Lilly that the Club could operate a Hog Roast outside the Marquee on match days and advertise the fact. It was felt that this was a good idea and perhaps something the club could look into.
6) Marketing Update
VARIOUS MATTERS IN HAND:
a) Making tickets easier to buy: New outlets are being created within the Town Centre and we are currently piloting other ways in which the general public can purchase tickets. (online being one of them)
b) In a continued attempt to make ticket buying easier we’ve teamed up with the local tourist information centres to act as ticket agents. The Plan - One to be situated in Yeovil and investigating the possibility of another outside the Town Centre
Once finalised, a message will go out via the CRM and Official website alongside a photo call and press release.
c) The Apex trailer advertising board is now situated at the road exit of the Quedam Centre car park and updated on a regular basis. This shows the next match at Huish Park, and it will be changed whilst the game is being played to advertise the next home game however the graphics need to be improved to create a bigger impact.
d) We are investigating advertising space in the Quedam and Town Centre and are in discussions as to available sites.
e) Next Game posters are now being produced and we have negotiated advertising space at Asda and Tesco. This is an ongoing project to spread the word further afield.
f) Pushing for visible links with Yeovil Town Centre Partnership with regards to away-ticketing and fans in the town. To sell Yeovil as a place to shop, not just football, whilst the fan comes to Huish Park the partner goes shopping in Yeovil.
CROSS SELLING PROMOTIONAL MATERIAL:
The first of the new wave of cross selling promotional material has been produced and distributed: This cost effective way of getting several messages across has also been translated into digital mailers and website advertising. All the items below have been included in this first promotional flyer.
1) Boot Sale advertising (telephone bookings received within 3 days of being advertised!)
We are now actively promoting the BIG Boot Sale at various sites
2) Sunday Carvery – (telephone bookings received within 2 days) the promotion of the Carvery goes hand in hand with the BIG Boot Sale. We’ve had an increase of Sunday Carvery’s week on week.
3) Bonfire Night was advertised at the ground and promotional boards were placed around Yeovil. A successful event
4) Xmas functions -
This cross-promotional flyer was distributed with the 4 main focuses in mind. The G&W’s very kindly distributed the flyer on the coach to away games and the Jolly Green Giant has distributed them in the Yeovil Town Centre and at various Carnivals in Somerset. Alongside this we have distribution outlets such as the Ticket Office and finally directly through our community programmes.
The poster sites around the ground are now being utilised more effectively to promote the current functions with the addition of 10 more being erected between now and January. The messages will be changed regularly to keep interest and forward promote our new events.
The Stadium is provisionally booked for a ‘Swedish Day’ / spring ‘08 and we have also secured an event for August 2008 more details to follow.
GETTING THE MESSAGE ACROSS:
1) Two advertising screens have been introduced to the reception area of the first floor. The purpose of these is to promote events at Huish Park in general these will also be used during the week to welcome delegates to conferences and will carry Huish Park advertising messages.
2) We are utilising such initiatives as the Community Centre of Excellence to promote Huish Park Experience via leaflets and posters. This advertising is directed at the parents who both drop off and pick up or for those who stay to watch.
We are currently investigating partnerships not only in Yeovil but further afield.
Investigating a stronger Partnership with the new marketing incumbents of the Somerset FA
CROSS PROMOTION THROUGH OTHER SPORTS / EVENTS / COMMUNITIES:
By nurturing relationships with other types of sport we can healthily cross promote. for example: Wincanton Race Course, Taunton Race Course, And for the summer Poole Pirates and Somerset Rebels (Speedway), Haynes Motor Museum, Fleet Air Arm Museum etc. This has been successful so far.
In the process of building strong links with RNAS Yeovilton. Advertising in their monthly booklet plus advertising within the Air Station.
EXCITING NEW IDEAS:
Season long competition this season and next to encourage more people on match days
Signs for next game are on the ‘Home of the Glovers’ sign at Western Avenue.
More events for local people are being introduced for 2008. The first of these is the New Years Eve Party.
An event calendar has been introduced to show at glance all forthcoming Huish Park Events. This will be produced internally and a variation will be posted on the website.
The long term Huish Park branding and marketing campaign to promote further in to Somerset Dorset and the West Country in general
In talks with different promoters to stage a concert within the Stadium Complex.
Business development plan using our existing database’s to identify business not yet using the facilities at the Stadium
Open day and Tour of Stadium scheduled for early next year to promote the whole Huish Park experience. Need extra manpower for this, any volunteers please??
More ideas are being discussed and as soon as they are cleared with the Executive and board, the relevant marketing initiatives will be shared with supporters.
7) Questions emailed by Supporters
Qu: Who owns the club and what has happened to the large amount of money generated by the sale of key players and the Wembley appearance at the end of last season. A huge amount of revenue was generated and it seems to have disappeared?
Supporter Representative Dave Lilly felt that it was none of the Supporters business as to who owned the Club. It was stated that the money generated from the Wembley appearance and the sale of key players went back into the playing budget.
Qu: I find the official site to be really uninformative and find out a lot more about the club from gossip and word of mouth sources, why is this?
Sara stated that Ali King was no longer the webmaster and that updating the website was being shared between her and Adrian Hopper. We cannot speculate about players because as an Official Site we have to wait until everything has been confirmed by the Football Secretary Jean Cotton. However if supporters had any ideas on how the Club could improve the website she would welcome them.
Qu: Why is the clubs official press day on a Thursday? That is the publication day for the major local newspaper and therefore all their YTFC news will be at least a week old. Surely the press day should be made to fit in with the major local newspaper whenever possible?
The Manager decided that he wanted the Official Press day on a Thursday, so that is why it is held then.
Qu: Traffic management-It can still take up to 45 minutes to leave the environs of stadium-What are plans to improve this?
The Club are constantly talking with the traffic management team about ways to improve the system. However it was felt by all present that the problem was the road system around the ground.
Qu: Players in the Community-My son who goes to Westfield has not had a visit from any player to school since Lg 2 end of season, this is a huge shame and could be an excellent way of building bridges with the community. What plans are there to develop this?
Players do visit schools through the Football in the Community, Community Sports Trust and the Soccer Skills courses. However the Club need to publicise this more.
Qu: Will YTFC encourage car sharing by allowing cars with 3 or more people in to park free?
This is a very good idea and definitely something the Club will consider and look into.
Qu: Has YTFC starting thinking about next season's ticket prices yet?
The Season Ticket prices will be discussed at the Executive committee meeting in the next few weeks with the recommendations taken to the Board of Directors in January.
Qu: Will YTFC consider adding an elected supporter’s rep to the Board, even if that position is non-exec?
All of the Board of Directors are supporters and have been for many years. However the proposal would be for the Board to decide.
Qu: When will the Ladies team website be up and running?
Ali King (Ladies Secretary) is building this website in his own time and it will be finished as soon as possible.
Qu: If appropriate could the meeting be given an update on the Boxing Day situation? What impact on the claimed likely bill from Avon & Somerset Police of up to £40K has the move of the game an hour to 2.00 p.m. had?
The Swindon Town match on Boxing Day is a priority with both the Club and the Police. Since the £40,000 police cost was advertised the Club has been in discussions with the police to look at ways in which to reduce the costs. Various ideas have come up with one of them being to bring the kick off time forward. The Club has spoken to Swindon and they have agreed to the earlier kick off time as it would give supporters an hour less drinking time. The Club is doing numerous things to reduce the levels of policing and it will be worked on right up until the game as it is all down to police intelligence but that changes all the time. We will be able to update supporters nearer the time but at the present time the police will not give us a figure, although we have tried to find out how much it will cost us. However the club anticipates that it will be less than £40,000.
Disabled Viewing Platform.
Sharon Swain from the DSA asked if the Club could publicise the fact that the Disabled viewing platform had been closed and that Disabled Supporters were informed of the fact that they could use the VP Lounge on a match day. However any Disabled supporter wanting to use the VP Lounge would need to contact the Ticket Office beforehand.
Qu: What is the situation regarding the supporters who were arrested at the Cheltenham game?
With regard the supporters involved in the incident at Cheltenham, any supporter who has found themselves being refused entry or banned from attending football matches as a result of this incident should write into the Club explaining their circumstances.
The correspondence will be then forwarded to the police for an explanation as to where the investigation currently stands with that supporter.
Unfortunately the Club cannot make these decisions without consultation with the police due to the procedures regarding the evidence and ongoing investigation.
Qu: What is the Club going to regarding the poor state of the car parks surrounding Huish Park?
The Club is aware of the poor state of the car parks at Huish Park, However the cost of tarmacing the car parks is extremely high and at the present time the stadium department has not got the funds to do this.
Christmas Raffle Tickets
If supporters are able to sell Christmas raffle tickets on behalf of the Club, could they please contact the Lottery Department on 01935 423662
Meeting Closed: 7.30pm
Next Meeting: TBC (however this meeting with be an Open Meeting)
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