How a sports and entertainment venue in Detroit uses email marketing to interact with fans


As the CMO for Palace Sports and Entertainment, Charlie Metzger is charged with bringing a packed house to The Palace of Auburn Hills, home to the NBA’s Detroit Pistons and a regular venue for top performers like Adele, Kanye West and SIA. In his role, Metzger drives a wide range of marketing initiatives.

“I oversee our club’s marketing, our production and programming, our public relations, community relations, what we call ‘brand works’ which is our digital, social, web and email, and retail as well,” says Metzger. “It’s a fantastic job.”


1. Know your audience.

2. Make sure your message is contextually relevant.

3. You have to maintain data — and you have to have it crisp and clean and correct.

According to the CMO, his big picture remains focused on bringing people together in the world, a vision he keeps front and center for his team.

Amy Gesenhues: To start, what role does email marketing play in your overall marketing strategy?

Charlie Metzger: Email marketing plays a vital role with us, and the reason it does is [that] we are in the relationship business.

We have members that have elected to join with us — whether it is a season ticket package with the Pistons, whether it’s the corporate partnerships that they’re investing with us, or whether it is music customers — we segment our lifestyles and our customers.

Relationship marketing, and specifically, email marketing, plays a very important role because, ultimately, we’re moving towards as much as possible one-to-one customization and being able to deliver value to all of those members. Email plays an important role because it’s a great way to keep people, obviously, informed on upcoming events, and to help them navigate through their busy lives.

Read the full interview here.

When is REALLY the best day to send out e-mail newsletters?

There are so many recommendations and statistics floating around about which day is the best to send out our e-mail newsletter.

We dedided to talk to communications specialist Tomas Kruse, who agreed to share his experiences about the subject.

Here’s his opening svada!

– You can stick those where the sun don’t shine along with the daily horoscope and other over-simplifying “facts”. Working out the best weekday and time for an e-mail newsletter is hard work with your own data, and not something you can learn from other peoples experiences. What you CAN learn from those experiences though is how and what to test, and not getting lazy when you think you’ve found the answer. But first and foremost, get to know your audience.

Which day do YOU think it’s best to put out your newsletter?

– It really depends on the segment. A good newsletter would be personalized as much as humanly possible to the reciever, and different segments will have different life-rythms, which means that the best time for THEM to recieve my newsletter also differ. But if you put a gun to my head and ask for one single answer, I’d say tuesday around 11.45 AM. Why? The work-week is well underway, lunchbreak is coming up and more people have time to actually read your message.

Is there anything special you should look for in your data besides days and times?

– As in all data mining you should be looking for general trends in your population. You might not have a lot of information on your subscribers, so a place to start out is to figure out if they are private or corporate. Private would be Outloook/Hotmail, Gmail, AOL and such, and corporate would be anybody with a company address. In my experience “privates” should recieve e-mails on evenings or weekends, while corporate should be contacted during working hours, not too early and not too late. And then, if for example you know their age, there will be diffences between young and old and so on. But really this is nitpicking and something you should only care about, when you master the basics: Really tight subject lines with a strong CTA and relevant (individualized) content.

What’s the status with HTML and text-only e-mail newsletters these days?

– Hubspot posted a study recently that I completely agree with. HTML e-mails are gaining grounds, but you should still keep the amount of HTML to a minimum. I can recommend reading their post:

Do you have any tips to connecting your e-mail marketing with social?

– First of all, do it! The more you can connect user data from different platforms, the better you can serve the right content to your users. I urge you to collect, connect and use data to increase relevance, but rather than pretending to be an e-mail/SoMe connection expert I’ll leave you with the advice of, which pretty much sums up my thoughts:

Which is your favourite newsletter (headlines, content, frequency, technical, value)?

– Can I pick only one favourite? I like What We’re Reading ( from NYT for general news of the World, Cook Smarts for my foodie-fetish (, The newsletter of Human Rights Watch for being newsletter industry leader in my current area of work (, and TED is just awesome in its whole scope ( But as an eye and copy candy addictive, I think I love the HTML-overloaded newsletter from The Cool Hunter the most (


Tomas Hillerup Kruse was born and raised in Jutland, Denmark but is currently residing in Copenhagen, where he works for the Danish Heart Association. He holds a degree in journalism and has been doing online communication and marketing for 15+ years. Tomas has a passion for easily digestable content, whether it’s mouth-melting copy, images or food. Motto: outside – in!

Here is Tomas’ view over Copenhagen from his office:

Illustration: “Hjertestier” is a project by The Danish Heart Association, where special paths are marked for good exercise to keep your heart healthy!