What Does it Really Mean to Work in Sports Marketing?
But I’m going to break my own rule in this article, because in this case, it works. (And technically I just wrote 55 words so it’s not exactly leading off with a quote).
Now that I’ve built your anticipation…here is my opening quote from Joe Dupriest, Chief Marketing Officer, Monumental Sports and Entertainment (Wizards, Capitals, Mystics Ownership group):
“In my area there are about 50 people that report in to me, half of those work in the production department for Monumental Sports Network.
“Separate from that, we control the brand. Anything that you see that is a design or advertising, all of that is controlled within marketing…
“In addition marketing handles any fan development initiatives, kids clubs, Caps Convention, Fan Fest summer fest – anything that touches the fan and touches the brand…
“We also manage all digital media, social media, and community relations, anything that involves reaching out to the fanbase….
“Ultimately everything comes back to growing the revenue – so on my end my goal is really to implement programs that are going to generate revenue for us with sponsorship, ticket sales, both now and in the long term but in doing that with a focus of expanding the brand and creating fans for the future.”
Dupriest was speaking at the 2014 SINC conference and was asked to define his department’s responsibilities and how he interacts with other senior managers. His response was like the peeing scene in Austin Powers, every time you thought he was done – you realized he actually had a long way to go.
I counted at least eight major responsibilities ranging from producing valuable content and overseeing a sports network to community relations and kids clubs.
Do you really think you are ready for that?
Before you Hyperventilate…
Dupriest has been at this for a long time, he didn’t jump out of grad school and immediately begin running an entire operation from floor to ceiling. He grew into his role.
Ironically, Dupriest was an Industrial Engineering undergrad at Georgia Tech, and then earned his MBA at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. He wasn’t necessarily built to understand television production, branding, design or how to run a Kid’s Fest at the arena. Much of these skills he learned on the job.
His education served as a strong foundation which helped him make decisions based on revenue and overall impact. The main takeaway from understanding the scope of a CMO's job - sports marketing means more than one thing - and a proper education can come in more ways than one.
The Details Change the Preparation
Dupriest’s role isn't available, he’s comfortably occupying his office, so let’s analyze two entry level sports marketing opportunities and dissect their varying responsibilities.
Job requirements for a Marketing Manager position at a sports consumer goods company specializing in baseball and biking products:
This job appears different from what you may imagine a sports marketing role to be. This particular company needs someone to form relationships with signed athletes and then work to expand their brand and marketing reach.
Scouting talent, attending events, helping with social media marketing opportunities - there are marketing principles here that can be learned in school, but there are also personality traits necessary to thrive. Sounds pretty awesome right?
Job requirements for a Marketing Coordinator at The Golf Channel:
Talk about a completely different set of requirements!
This job has nothing to do with building relationships or really any branding or even a sense of traditional marketing. This job is a true entry level sports marketing position that will require tracking, reconciling and reviewing more than it requires creating.
It’s vitally important to walk before you run in sports marketing careers, and that is why you will often see coordinator roles like this which set you up with a strong foundation in tracking results and coordinating with outside vendors…before you get into larger initiatives.
Example #2 is more the reality of entry level sports marketing jobs, I could have picked out 20 of these with ease that were variations on a similar theme.
What have we learned about Sports Marketing Jobs?
Positions in sports marketing are varied, so you need to be too.
Some jobs in sports marketing will require an extrovert who can build relationships and help their client become a star. Other roles will be a creative force visually from more of an advertising standpoint, and other roles will require more writing and content creation.
But the majority of entry level sports marketing jobs will be like example #2 – tracking results of campaigns, reconciling accounts and reviewing copy, not quite as glamorous but an important stepping stone in your career.
A solid foundation is important – attention to detail, writing, branding, business sense and knowledge of tools like Photoshop and Illustrator will go a long way towards sports marketing success, but more and more will be required of you as you advance, so remain open to learning and willing to break from your comfort zone.
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