How Notre Dame Transformed Their Mobile Strategy in Under 30 Days

Fred Villarruel’s title at the University of Notre Dame may be Digital Platform Manager, but if it was up to us, it would be Mobile Marketing Wizard.

In the last 30 days, Villarruel has created mobile app content for a variety of Notre Dame Athletics teams, from football, men’s and women’s basketball, hockey, and beyond. And we’re not talking about a little bit of content, we’re talking about 117 different campaigns.

Yes, you read that correctly. 117 well-executed and designed pieces of mobile content.

From interactive Cotton Bowl previews and women’s basketball game recaps, to engaging Notre Dame uniform reveals and football signing day recruit promotions, Villarruel and the Fighting Irish Media team have done it all, and they aren’t showing any signs of slowing down.

“We recognize that our fans are constantly on their phones so it was important for us to be able to create digestible content on a platform we know they are using,

“We started using Judo just over a month ago and since then it has completely transformed how effectively and easily we are able to send engaging content directly into the hands of our fans.”

– Fred Villarruel, Notre Dame’s Digital Platform Manager

Like other colleges and universities, one of Notre Dame’s top priorities is recruiting. As such, Villarruel has turned to his app to highlight current student-athletes as well as former student-athletes who are now competing at the professional level of their respective sports. Villarruel has even used sections of game previews and recaps as an opportunity to feature current players, which has allowed fans to connect with them easily on social media.

“One of our main goals is to elevate our student-athletes, while engaging our fans added Villarruel. Within a few days of using the Judo platform, we were able to create some awesome signing day recruit activations as well as mobile campaigns that highlighted former players like Kyle Rudolph and Quenton Nelson. All of these have really resonated with our app users.”

One of Villarruel’s job descriptions as M̵o̵b̵i̵l̵e̵ ̵M̵a̵r̵k̵e̵t̵i̵n̵g̵ ̵M̵a̵n̵a̵g̵e̵r̵ Digital Platform Manager includes understanding metrics for athletics digital distribution platforms. And while evaluating success on mobile can be overwhelming, Villarruel admits he’s never felt more confident in their mobile content. Notre Dame has even taken their analytics one step further and have created mobile fan polls to ask fans what they want to see.

For instance, the Fighting Irish recently created an engaging poll asking fans to vote for their top game from last football season. After the votes were tallied, Notre Dame followed up with a mobile experience focused solely on the moment, featuring game recaps, photos, and video.

“We’re happy to see high numbers with regards to open rates and click through rates. And even more importantly, it’s been great to see what kind of content has resonated most with our users. In the past month alone, we’ve had over 56,000 experiences opens, with nearly 13,000 clicks in the mobile content. It’s clear our users are really enjoying the new content. And it’s great, because I’ve enjoyed creating the content as well! It’s fun to be creative and think of new ways we can promote our teams and student-athletes.”

“The future for engagement is mobile,” concluded Villarruel. “And the Judo platform has made it easier and faster than ever before to foster those relationships. Recognizing that, I can’t wait to see what we’re able to do next with our app!”

Overall it’s clear that there is tremendous opportunity for college and universities like Notre Dame to market to their students and fans through their app. The Fighting Irish have done a great job creating engaging content for student-athletes and a large variety of their women’s and men’s sports. If Villarruel is able to create and promote as much as they have in 30 days we simply cannot wait to see what he does in the year ahead.

Spoken like a true Mobile Marketing Wizard!


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