Winning the NCAA Men's Basketball March Madness tournament takes a lot strength, determination, and...a successful mobile app. Well, maybe not the app, but it certainly helped the Villanova University community stay abreast of all things basketball leading up to their team's tournament win against Loyola University Chicago in 2018.
In episode 5 of the Aventri podcast, we spoke to Sandy Upton, the Assistant Director for Development Operations at Villanova University about how using the event mobile app from Aventri helped keep students, alumni, parents and friends of the university engaged and informed in the weeks prior to and during March Madness this year.
Check out a couple excerpts from Sandy's interview and download the full episode below!
Can you walk us through the high-level process for developing the app? Who were the stakeholder groups that were involved in the development and how did they help?
March Madness is very much a university-wide collaboration. The primary stakeholders were the offices of the President, Athletics, University Advancement and Alumni Relations. We began in January in preparation for the Big East tournament, which took place prior to March Madness, and then those departments coordinated together to develop what the app content would be throughout the tournament, and how to prepare for the eventuality of moving forward to the next round.
When we started, the primary content in the app was Big East-orientated, but in the back-end we built additional modules with information regarding each subsequent round of the tournament and each potential location it could be in. Then the content was updated on a rolling basis and was activated as each game was won in the tournament. People in each of the departments I mentioned were in constant communication so that we were all on the same page of what information would be made public and when.
Once the app was live and the tournaments were ongoing, how did you promote the app and ensure your audience was engaging with it?
We launched the app in early February, ahead of the Big East tournament, and we promoted it on the event website and in all the confirmation emails. We also sent out several rounds of marketing emails to alumni, parents and friends in our database to keep them up to date about what was going on with the tournament and to continue to encourage them to download the app.
With that being said, I think the biggest promoter of the app was via word of mouth, as it was useful to people as they attended each round. Once March Madness started, there was a major uptick in downloads and it continued with a trajectory of a few hundred downloads after each round we won up until the championship in San Antonio. Overall we ended up with just over 3,300 downloads and we definitely considered it a success.