Case: Personalized communications with football fans

A 360° view of football players, fans and volunteers

KNVB Crystalloids


  • Marketing database
  • Predictive modelling

With 1,2 million members and over 500 employees KNVB is the largest sports federation in The Netherlands. Through 3.000 amateur football clubs the federation is in contact with 400.000 volunteers, 80.000 coaches and 12.500 administrators. The federation also looks after the interests of millions of football-  and Dutch national football team fans. KNVB’s mission is to make and keep football as attractive, open and pleasant as possible and to create the best possible opportunities for sponsors, suppliers and (media)partners.

The challenge
To increase the number of active football players, fans and volunteers, and to focus on retention with people who are entering into the next phase in life.

The solution
A marketing database that provides a 360° view of all individual clubs, (ex-)members, volunteers and fans, combined with tools for segmentation and predictive modeling.

Detailed insights into behaviour, interests and motivations of fans that help to personalize all communications and the commercial campaigns of sponsors.


Collecting, governing and analyzing reliable data of players, volunteers and fans is of strategic importance for accomplishing this mission. “Efficient and smart monetizing of data gains extensive insights into the wishes, motivations and needs of football fans. This enables smart communications and offers our partners qualitative information to reach relevant audiences,” says Marion Massop, Marketing Intelligence Manager. It is not surprising that the theme  ‘a view on football fans’ forms an integral part of the tactics of KNVB. “The emphasis is not primarily on segmenting football fans into different groups but in the roles they play in their lifelong passion for football: player, trainer, administrator, volunteer and fan” Marion explains.


KNVB has a clear view of the ideal customer lifecycle of football fans, from beginners to seniors. Marion: “An important objective is to increase the number of active football players, fans and volunteers. Especially by targeting new youth members. However, we also focus on retention, especially with people who are entering into the next phase in life.

Besides we want to motivate fans to have multiple roles at the same time. We can only achieve these goals if we reach these people as personalized as possible, through a variety of marketing channels, with relevant information and offers.” Partners like Nike, Lotto and Disney are demanding this personalization to bring their messages to the right audiences.

“We can only achieve these goals if we reach these people as personalized as possible.”

Unique customer profile

Together with Crystalloids, KNVB developed a central marketing database that provided a 360° view of all the individual clubs, (ex-)members, volunteers and fans. The database consists of a variety of data of systems of records, but also data of several KNVB-apps, data of the KNVB Academy, survey results as well as demographical information of the CBS institute. Data that is all automatically integrated into 3,5 million unique customer profiles. Because of KNVB’s organizational character and the information which is used, a lot of attention is being paid to privacy regulations and reliability. The database is an integral part of the KNVB-football ecosystem that delivers and governs all digital services to clubs and fans.

Personalized communications

“The marketing database is the ideal basis for all possible selections and segmentations. Because we have historical data we can follow people in their customer lifecycle” explains Marion. “Advanced analysis provides us with detailed insights into behaviour, interests and motivations of fans to dramatically personalize our communications and the commercial campaigns of our sponsors.” An example is using predictive models to determine who should be targeted for a telemarketing campaign. Marion gives an example: “For a Lotto campaign we were able to predict that people who are both OnsOranje-member and referee, who also recently bought merchandise, who have a opt-in and who are subscribed to the newsletter, will have a 45% probability to respond.” SAS Visual Analytics and SAS Marketing Automation are used for analysis and campaign management. The most important channels for communicating are e-mail, direct mail and telemarketing.

“Because we have historical data we can follow people in their customer lifecycle.”

Online and offline

With the 360° customer view KNVB plays roles in all the needs of clubs, football fans, sponsors and partners. Online, by sending only relevant messages to footballers and fans with a tone of voice that fits their roles and lifestyles. But also offline, for example by using  specific sections in the stadium that are linked to the wishes of a particular segment. “In the family section we then hire a clown to paint the children’s faces orange“ says Marion. The marketing database also offers insights into the football clubs. The ‘club advice dashboard’ was launched to track and predict developments, and to benchmark results with other clubs. Besides a view to check achievements against growth targets is in place. Dashboards assist KNVB with insights in the number of members, participation rate per club and region. Next to this the number of ticket sales is predicted for the Orange team matches so that the campaigns can be adjusted.


Together with 40Beats, Crystalloids is responsible for the monetization of the cloud based marketing database. They manage maintenance, monitor and improve data quality and make selections, analysis and dashboards. In cooperation with the marketing intelligence team of KNVB they guarantee optimal communications with football fans and spotting commercial opportunities for sponsors and partners. This meets the mission of KNVB! The solution is unique and an example to the Dutch and European sports market.

Stay up to date with our industry insights
Receive our insights on big data, predictive analytics and marketing automation once every two months.

Follow us on: