Indian premier league commenced on 9th April this year. With nearly half of Indian TV viewers watching IPL, the excitement around this cricket league is at an all-time high.
Nail-biting excitement, high-spirited exchanges, crackling shots and superhuman fielding—the Indian Premier League has it all. It is the biggest celebration of emerging Indian talent in cricket, established cricketers and living legends from various parts of the globe. It brings together cricket and Bollywood, two of the most celebrated and glamorous industries of the country—making it an entertainment showstopper.
8 teams representing different cities, are battling it out for a gruelling 44 days till only one emerges as the champion. Will Mumbai Indians lift the cup for the 6th time or will Royal Challengers Bangalore finally break the jinx and win the tournament…only time will tell!
In spite of the overwhelming excitement surrounding this tournament, there is a pertinent gloom—COVID-19 and the rising number of cases. Because of the pandemic, the matches are being organised in empty stadiums, without the roar and cheer from the audiences.
Given the current situation, organisers need to find new ways to interact with the fans, give regular updates and overall, keep the cricketing spirit high. The technology, cloud telephony, offers an easy to implement and inexpensive method to achieve the same.
Let us look at some of the ways this technology can capture the IPL craze:
1) Engage the audience with bulk SMSes
Cricketing fans around the country and the world are now mere digital spectators, given the fact that matches take place in empty stadiums. Finding new ways of engaging with subscribers is a necessity. Further, flexible working hours bought in by WFH also means that audiences crave quick and succinct match updates.
Cloud telephony’s bulk SMSes help cater to both the needs. It offers instantaneous match updates—directly reaching the audience. Irrespective of one’s workload and prior commitments, people can always stay connected with their favourite team’s progress through live scores. This medium also offers greater penetration into remote areas even with an unstable Internet connection. Broadcasters can also use this medium to send notifications about upcoming matches, delays or cancellations owing to bad weather, etc.
Furthermore, interactive campaigns can be designed using this medium. For example, the audience can be asked to send their predictions about the toss, winner of a match, purple and orange cap winners and so much more.
2) Pump up the excitement with voice broadcasting
The voice broadcasting solution has been traditionally used by politicians and businesses to sell their products. But, what if IPL broadcasters used it to advertise using famous players and commentators?
One can only imagine a fan’s excitement if they get a call directly from MS Dhoni! Increased personalisation with text-to-speech and voice model functionalities or recording in a regional language can enhance the campaign multifold.
This cloud telephony medium is cost-effective and can help businesses reach their target audience seamlessly. Record a message, curate a database and done! Your service provider will facilitate the rest. The associated ease and high returns make this communication medium a dream come true for any marketer.
3) Create a dedicated IPL hotline
Avid fans wish to stay connected with all the cricketing buzz so what could be more exciting than a special IPL hotline?
Fans could get in-depth match analysis, run-down from crucial moments, fun insights, facts, statistics and much more. Broadcasters and organisers could also set up pre, during and post-match live sessions with experts, where fans could participate in interesting conversations or ask questions about anything cricket and get instant answers. This medium is guaranteed to increase the overall viewership, while substantially enhancing audience engagement.
Toll free or 1800 numbers are zero-cost communication medium for the callers. The call charges are instead borne by the receiver. Hence, apart from improving brand image, this communication channel also increases one’s reach.
4) Gamification with cloud telephony
Gamification is one of the best ways to capture the right attention. Although it cannot match the thrill of witnessing a live match, it is definitely a step up from watching one in isolation.
One way is to create engaging polls and surveys with cloud telephony solutions like IVR or bulk SMSes. Fans can be asked to call or text a number and answer a few simple questions via a virtual menu. For example, a caller is greeted with a pre-recorded message and then is asked to select the man of the series from a virtual menu or the top four teams to get into the qualifiers.
Lucky winners with correct predictions can be rewarded with a gift hamper or maybe a personal call session with their favourite player. Such initiatives not only give a big boost to customer experience but also increase brand loyalty.
Another interesting way is to establish a dedicated line for real-time match predictions. A missed call service can be employed for this. These easy-to-use and zero-cost solutions will surely drive interaction and provide interesting insights into caller preference as well.
IVR or interactive voice response is a smart call navigation tool, which redirects callers to the concerned departments, or agents based on a navigable virtual menu. Furthermore, a missed call service is a unique offering where callers can register their support or interest for a particular product or service by simply dropping a missed call on the promoted number.
Indian Premier League is a cricketing mega league with millions of fans pouring in from various parts of the globe.
It is also a unique opportunity to witness players from different national teams collaborate to get the best results and win the championship. Could one imagine Virat Kohli bonding with Glenn Maxwell or AB de Villers if it were not for the IPL?
Another reason this league captured the audience’s attention was its short format. Though the longer formats—ODIs and test cricket are still relevant, the thrill of a T20 is incomparable. Furthermore, this limited over format perfectly fits into the increasing hectic schedule of the audience.
IPL’s popularity has not dwindled even with the looming threat of COVID-19, thanks to its potential to cater to a remote fan base. However, in order to get the most out of this sporting extravaganza, broadcasters need to find new and innovative ways to engage the audience.
Reaching more cricketing enthusiasts and establishing two-way communication could not have been made easier. These channels facilitated with cloud telephony solutions not only enhance personalisation but also automate the process for greater efficiency. Products like voice broadcasting, bulk SMS, IVR, etc. are truly the MVP!