The Secret To Landing a Job in Sports Marketing - Work in Sports Podcast E008

By Brian Clapp | October 11, 2017

Spinning the Cam Newton Fiasco Forward and an Interview on Sports Marketing Jobs with Mark Crepeau, VP of Marketing Partnerships for the Basketball Hall of Fame

Hi, this is Brian Clapp Director of Content for and you are listening to the Work in Sports podcast.

Last week Cam Newton made sexists remarks towards  female reporter Jourdan Rodrique and the story has been covered form almost every angle, so I don’t want to re-litigate it. But I do want to spin this story two steps further than what has been out there, because it’s really important, albeit a little uncomfortable.

After Cam Newton said his words social media erupted.sports marketing jobs

In fact my good friend Laura Okmin, sideline reporter for NFL on Fox and founder of Galvanize sports broadcasting bootcamps for women, tweeted out:

Ladies - do not feel forced into defending our sports knowledge. This is on Cam Newton - NOT ON US. Unacceptable in 2017 to go back to this

There is nothing inflammatory about those words – nothing said in here that does anything but empower women. In fact, she could have taken out all the sports references and made this statement applicable to anyone in any field.

It just as easily could have been ladies do not feel forced into defending your business knowledge, or your science knowledge or your medical knowledge directed at any male who gave a woman a verbal pat on the head like Cam Newton did.

But here’s the scary thing – she was bombarded with hate. Twitter tough guys called her the B word the C word and blasted her for hours.

Now Laura is tough – she doesn’t need me to defend her. But in addition to my anger and disgust – I also find myself concluding something even more disappointing.

No one listens anymore.

No one stops to respect another viewpoint, puts themselves in someone else's shoes, listens to what they have to say and then interpret or consider their own perspective in lieu of new details. We all just rush to our corners and swing.

We don’t listen to conversation, we think about what we are going to say next. We don’t listen to opposing uncomfortable viewpoints, we shut them down.

So if there is one thing, one phrase, one nugget of advice you take from any podcast I have done or any of the hundreds of articles I have had published – please make it this: become a better listener. When you listen have an open heart and an open mind. You may not change your view, but you can at least gain some perspective outside your to prepare for your sports job search ebook

Being a better listener will make you better in your job, in your relationships, as a parent, as a friend and just as a human.

The second point I want to make on the Cam Newton story is how long words hurt in this era of social media. Jourdan Rodrique was the victim in this circumstance – the target of Cam’s patronizing.

BUT, in today’s world this is never then end of the story – the easiest, lowest hanging fruit of today’s journalism is to go back in social media time and find out what dirt can be dug up.

Black Sports Online dug into Rodrigue’s past and found gold in the form of racist tweets that she had posted 4-5 years earlier. Credit to BSO they did the legwork and found Rodrigue’s published idiocy.

She made stupid racists tweets years earlier that she should be ashamed of.  They weren’t “unfortunate” as some have claimed – she wrote them, she hit publish, she has to own her stupidity.

But let this serve to a warning to all of you out there – the internet is unforgiving. Social media doesn’t have a timer on it. If you are stupid, racist, drunk, idiotic and decide to share that with the will come back to bite you in the butt.

And just remember it doesn’t have to bite you on a big public stage like this. It can bite you without you even knowing it.

Say you interview for a job and the employer spent 30 minutes going through every tweet you have ever sent.

You may have been using the n word quoting a lyric, but the employer doesn’t know that or doesn’t care. You may have been celebrating your birthday with that vomiting keg stand, but again, the employer doesn’t care about nuance or context.

You may not even know you are missing out on opportunities because of your public persona – but you are. Like it or not your life is under a microscope nowadays – you have the choice for what you put on the slide.

Be smart, or go ahead and be stupid --- but don’t blame anyone else when life gets uncomfortable for you.

Look we’re going to tackle real issues here – we’re going to handle uncomfortable subjects like this, because it’s real. This is an authentic podcast, we aren’t skirting anything.

We’ll do a quick fan mail before we get into this weeks interview with Mark Crepeau VP of Marketing for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

This weeks question comes from Andrew in Nashua New Hampshire –

Hey Brian love the podcast – just wondering as a follow up to your interview with Zach Hall’s talking about networking – what is your follow up plan after you’ve met someone? I do an OK job talking to people at conferences and in social settings, but I’m terrible at the follow up.

Good question Andrew.

I like to turn things into task that I can put on my calendar, keeps me organized and repeatable. Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel each time I think of doing something, I create a process and then execute on it with consistency.

So here’s my basic follow up plan:

Within about 24-48 hours do 3 things:

#1 I write a hand written note. Yeah I know, sound like I’m an old man, but the truth is everyone writes emails – no one takes the time to be thoughtful anymore. Want to be disruptive? Sometimes you have to go old school. Write a quick note – loved getting to know you at the _____ event, you had great insight on the future of sports broadcasting technology – hopefully we’ll cross paths soon – stay in touch.

Boom – you stood out.

#2 I connect with them on LinkedIn, and see what groups they follow. I want to get into the discusssions they are having.

#3 I set up a google alert for their business and name.

All three of these things give me a reason, and material to have a conversation with them. If I get a google alert they get a promotion – I can reach out with a congrats. If I see they are in a good conversation on linkedin ar we know similar people, I can reach out.

It all works towards deepening the start of our relationship and I haven’t asked them for anything.

From there, I try to figure out reasons to talk to them once a month. Maybe it’s an article I found that is relevant to their field. Or some news about their business, or an event I want to see if they are going to.

The more you provide value, and listen, the more comfortable your conversations become and the quicker you get out of “I met this guy at a social event” to “this guy is pretty cool, I like talking to him”

The key is, don’t ask for things – let that come naturally down the lane.

Alright that should help a bit – if you have questions email me

And if you like this podcast, please give us a review on itunes or wherever you listen – the better reviews we get the more popular we become and the better and better guests I can get!

With that said, we scored a big fish this week – Mark Crepeau is the VP of Marketing for the Basketball Hall of Fame and over his 20+ years in sports marketing he has worked for agencies big and small so he has a wealth of great advice for you …listen in:

Questions for Mark Crepeau, VP Marketing Partnerships Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame

1: Sports Marketing is one of the more popular fields in the industry – over 25% of the 6k jobs we have on our website are related to marketing -- but it’s an extremely broad term, marketing covers a lot – we’ll get into your high level experience soon, but to start I want to understand what an entry level person should expect someone who just graduated with marketing degree – what are the opportunities and what would you imagine their responsibilities to be?

2: If you were crafting a sports marketing curriculum – what do you think are the most important things a young person should learn in order to thrive in today’s marketing world?

3: You’ve been in the marketing game for a long time – how dramatically have things changed in approach and delivery from when you started to today?

4: You hear all the time that social media and digital in general has cluttered up the conversation – there is so much being said so fast that attention spans have diminished – im this environment how hard is it to get your brand and your events to stand out?

5: In a way, with marketing and branding becoming so digital and focused on social media messaging, is this generation who grew up with this technology and communication pattern, really well suited for today’s marketing world?

6: On the flip side – as a writer I get frustrated with the lack of ability in todays youth to string together thoughts and write a compelling story.

7: What about your specific role in sports marketing – VP of Marketing Partnerships for the Naismith memorial Basketball Hall of Fame – tell us about your day to day role and expectations of your job?

So your partnerships are in a way mutually beneficial – they get brand exposure, you get revenue and event credibility – this isn’t the mom and pop store on the corner sponsoring the event, it’s NIKE – do I have at least a simplistic version of the formula down?

We talk about networking as a vital way of getting a job, but I would think in your role working with partners, building a network is vital to success – would you say this is true and important part of marketing success, a desire and ability to build connections and external relationships?

How did you get into this particular subset of the marketing world?

What is your next big event that you are focused on?

Work in Sports Podcast Lightning Round

1: Who was the Hall of Famer you were most geeked up to meet?

2: Dr. Naismith created basketball in Springfield MA – which is why it makes sense for the Basketball Hall of Fame to be there – any idea why the football Hall of Fame is in Canton, Ohio?

3: If you were going to tell a young person one thing that should work on that will lead to career success – what would it be?

4: You’ve spent most of your career in the Florida area before moving to Massachusetts for the Basketball Hall of Fame… how bad do you miss the beach?

5: Is there one brand that you haven’t worked with yet that you would really like to?

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