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Could you imagine being five years out of college and starting your own sports marketing agency? Forget even being that specific – could you imagine being five years out of college and trying to run anything completely by yourself?
I’ll admit, I was totally co-dependent in my 20's. I needed someone else, thank you Sandy Malcolm if you are listening, to steer me, guide me through my career decisions, help me focus and understand the larger business around me.
This guy – that’s my Jon Gruden impression, how was it? This guy, graduates from University of Oklahoma with a degree in advertising and starts working for a big advertising firm. I’m guessing he missed sports, so he left his big firm after two years and starts heading up the graphic design team for his Alma Maters athletic program.
Three years later – eh, I think I can do this myself – let’s start an agency from scratch.
Are you insane?
I’ve always thought I was a pretty motivated and confident dude, but I would not have had the ability to do what Zac Logsdon has. But then again, starting an agency isn’t the same as owning a successful agency. Many go under in a short time frame… but not Zac’s.
Fast forward 17 years and not only is Old Hat Creative still thriving in the sports industry, working with college athletic programs across the country, but he’s also written two books, hosts a podcast and every once in a while…sleeps.
Here’s the fun part – in this interview, we aren’t just going down memory lane discussing how he got where he is, sure we’ll do some of that, but primarily we’re talking about the now. Understanding fan behavior, marketing to today’s generation of sports fans, the direction of the sports industry and more…
After this podcast is over, if you are anything like me, you’ll probably subscribe to Zac’s podcast Winning is not a strategy, and buy one of his books… I did, and I’m not great at endorsing competing podcasts…it takes a lot for me to tell all of you to listen to someone else so you know I mean it!
Here’s Zac Logsdon…
1: Before we get into the finer details of sports marketing, fan behavior and your career, we’ll start with a little more of your personal story – the when and why.
When did you figure out you wanted to get into the marketing side of sports… and why did this become your passion and goal?
2: You were an advertising major and after graduating from University of Oklahoma started working at one of the largest advertising firms in the region – Ackerman McQueen – how much did this experience at a major firm help form you and your personality in marketing and advertising?
3: Pretty quickly you turned that big firm experience into a role with the Oklahoma athletic department as Director of Graphic Design...and then wham, just 5 years after graduating college started your own marketing agency, Old Hat.
How often did you cry yourself to sleep in the early days of starting your own agency?
4: Getting clients I’d imagine has to be the hard part – what was your approach to getting and growing your client base? And did your Oklahoma connection kick things off?
5: Marketing is such a broad term – there’s the creative, the activation, the tracking and conversion, the communication and copy writing side – the list keeps going! In your experience, do you think it’s better for someone to have a specialized focus and talent, or is it smarter to be a jack of all trades?
6: I love this saying on the Old Hat site:
“At Old Hat, we take our work seriously but definitely not ourselves. There’s no room for prima donnas or big egos around here – we all know how to roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty.”
How important is being transparent in establishing and maintaining a corporate culture?
7: You’re 15 years plus into running Old Hat, you’ve written two books – If Not for Athletics and Winning is Not a Strategy: A game changing approach to driving attendance – in your view and experience, is the sports industry headed in the right direction and if not, how would you suggest they change course?
8: You also have a great podcast “Winning is not a strategy” – I suggest everyone subscribe to it as I do, recently you talked about the “squirrel generation” and the challenges of marketing to this group and getting them engaged with sports events – first explain the squirrel generation, and then help us better understand what you have learned from this group as they relate to sports events.
9: As we’ve discussed, marketing is a lot more than the art of creative imagery and snappy copy – there is a science to it, you’re trying to influence fan behavior -- what is it most of us don’t understand about fan behavior and what motivates them?
10: Fan attendance at sports events is declining, and we can list off multiple reasons why. There is more competition than ever before for discretionary cash, the comfort of your home is a pretty good viewing experience, even though unemployment is low a lot of people are struggling to get by, the events are ridiculously expensive and prohibitive for families… we can go on. How does this momentum shift and teams drive more people to the games…or can it even be accomplished?
11: We’ll finish up with a softball – where can people get your book who do you define as your target market?
Listen in to this podcast episode to learn more about sports marketing from Zac Logsdon, Old Hat Creative!