You know you need to be investing in data analytics in order to move the revenue needle. But if you’re like a lot of athletic departments, you might not know where to begin.
When it comes to using data, many collegiate athletics marketers are concerned about: • Only having old data. • Data that’s disorganized or inconsistent. • Not knowing whether the data you have is valuable.
Here’s the good news: you probably have better data than you realize!
One of the most common mistakes marketers make is thinking they don’t have enough data to do anything useful. In reality, even the most basic data can unveil some valuable insights. The key is keeping it simple and figuring out how to ask the right questions to get the most out of the data you have.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you have 3-5 years of ticket sales information, but the only data available is the addresses you mailed the tickets to. It might not sound like much, but that’s actually some great data.
If we were partnering with you, we could use your zip code information to map all ticket purchases or donations to specific areas and identify behavior trends. From there, we’d analyze census data to determine the demographic makeup of those areas and create a model of your current ticket-buying audience. Using that information for lookalike modeling, we can help you find more people like the ones you already serve – people who are likely to be interested in what you’re offering.
Old Hat’s 180º process uses many tools to harness the power of the data you have and help you move the needle for student attendance, ticket sales or fundraising. We know there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to your needs, so we’ll work hand in hand with you to support your sports marketing efforts.
For more information, contact us at (405) 310-2133 or email email@example.com.
We all know the movie and love the sentiment “If you build it, they will come.” Sadly, it’s not a magical corn field you are trying to fill with legends and a handful of local fans. Instead, you’re dealing with large facilities and fans whose attention is fragmented.
Facilities spending is one of the biggest reasons otherwise profitable or self-sufficient athletic departments run deficits, according to a Washington Post review of athletic departments at 48 schools in the five wealthiest conferences in college sports. Big-time college athletic departments are taking in more money than ever and spending it just as fast, yet we continue to see attendance decline.
Think about this: many of the most iconic college football stadiums have always been about volume rather than quality. Michigan and Tennessee — two schools with stadiums with capacities greater than 100,000 — counted on fans wanting to be a part of the general atmosphere rather than wanting Wi-Fi or the ability to post on social networks.
While the old saying “if you build it they will come” may not be true in this case, another classic is true: “where there’s a will there’s a way.”
Here are a couple of tips to consider as you look for ways to improve your game experience for fans.
• Simple improvements such as tidying up the exterior look of a stadium with new graphics, updating concessions stands and connecting concourses can make a huge impact on the overall fan experience that exists within a stadium.
• Focus on technology. Smarter, better, and more connected stadiums have the potential to provide a game day experience tailored for the 21st century fan who don’t want to just have an experience, but also want to share it on social media.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to the collegiate athletics attendance problem, there is an approach that can help any program overcome their challenges. It’s called the Sports180 process and it’s offered exclusively by Old Hat. Our proven, research-based approach helps you clarify objectives, analyze your playing field, and develop a winning strategy by getting to the heart of your program’s unique position.
Contact us directly at 405.310.2133 or by email to learn more or to request a demo of our Sports180 process.
With the start of each new school year, a crop of new potential fans is being introduced to your team. The good news is they are predisposed to love you. The challenge is getting them into the stadium - not just this year, but in the future.
So who will your fans be in 2022 when today's incoming freshmen graduate? The answer is largely up to you. You will always have your die-hard fans. We all know them – the fans who wouldn't miss a game for any reason, not even their own wedding. Then you have the casual fan, the new fan and the fair weather fan. Beyond the die-hard fan, everyone else is susceptible to distraction and nonattendance. They're the ones you truly have to win - game after game, season after season.
Collegiate athletic programs used to believe that stadium attendance was losing ground to the couch and cable TV. Well, that has changed. Did you know that more than half (55%) of teens believe they can access any content they want without cable? Millennials/students are not sitting on their couch watching the game. In fact, they probably aren't “watching” the game no matter where they are.
The reality is this: whether they are new, casual or fair weather, fans are more interested in the experience than the game. Creating an atmosphere of inclusion and excitement on game day is more important than your number of wins. Here's the proof: even winning teams lost attendance over the last 4 years. If fans cannot capture, share and tag it, it never happened - regardless of whether it was a win or a loss.
Follow these five guidelines to create an experience that every fan type can embrace. You’ll fill more seats at the game and your die-hard fans will love the company.
1. Create opportunities for students to have an “experience.” Create “party” areas, general admission areas where they can hang out with friends and just happen to watch the game if they want. Offer food/drinks. Make it memorable!
2. Give stuff away. Fans of all types love free stuff. Get creative here and look for sponsors to offer up the goods.
3. Make it a competition. Fans of all types are competitive. They love to win and love to rub it in…..
4. Make it social. Offer opportunities for fans to post to social and win something (they will post it anyway, so let’s get in on it).
5. Make it easy. Remember: if there is an easier option, they will do that instead.
A few years ago I took a vacation to Cabo. It was beautiful and relaxing…except that every time I tried to relax on the beach and enjoy my surroundings, somebody wanted to interrupt the experience and sell me something. Sombreros. Ice cream. Water sport activities. Colorful souvenirs. Beach blankets. And you know what? It was frustrating. It wasn’t the experience I had hoped for, and it’s one I’d prefer not to repeat.
Do you realize that same type of thing is happening to consumers every day when it comes to online advertising?
There are certain types of digital ads that are like those beach vendors. Instead of displaying their wares in an enticing way and allowing consumers to come to them (like the nice locals I actually did buy something from in Cabo), these ads get right in the consumer’s face and make it difficult for them to do whatever they were trying to do online.
Since advertising money supports more than just businesses (think social connections, valuable free content and journalism), there’s a group called the Coalition for Better Ads that has developed a set of Better Ad Standards to try to improve consumers’ experience of online advertising.
Here are the types of digital ads the Coalition’s research revealed as the most intrusive and disruptive to consumers:
This month, Google Chrome is rolling out an initiative to improve their user experience based on the initial Better Ad Standards. That means they’ll warn sites that display these types of ads and block ads on those sites if their concerns aren’t addressed. And Google isn’t the only one taking action – you can expect to see others following suit.
So what does this mean for you? Basically, treat consumers the way you would want to be treated. Be considerate of the experience they’re trying to have. Ensure that your digital advertising strategy is focused on adding value for consumers and becoming part of their experience rather than interrupting it. Think about what’s useful and relevant to them, then offer it in a way that’s respectful.
Just when you thought you knew what content performed well on Facebook, the social media giant is shaking things up. In early January, Facebook announced a reform to their algorithm that will make organic reach more difficult for businesses while improving the Facebook experience for consumers.
The adjusted algorithm prioritizes “high-quality posts” or posts that they believe people want to see. That means content from friends, family, and groups that encourages interaction between people will perform better, and posts from businesses, brands and media will be held to the same standard. Just getting likes on a post will no longer be enough to grow its reach; now brands have to get followers commenting and re-posting in order to build a greater brand awareness.
Now that they’ve changed the rules, marketers have to change how we play the game. But, you may be wondering, how exactly do you do that?
The “quick fix” answer: pay to play. Now that it’s becoming increasingly more difficult for marketing content to be seen, we will likely see a rise in the use of promoted posts. The problem here, however, is that you have to convince your higher-ups that social media is essential for brand awareness and, even more so, that these posts will give you a return on your investment. It also means rethinking what little budget you do have for social media marketing and getting even more strategic with your targeting and placement. Continuously evaluating and adjusting your campaign performance and spend will help you respond to this algorithm, but it’s something you should be doing anyway, and it’s not going to be enough on its own.
The more strategic answer: get better at posting content that inspires people to interact with you, and don’t be shy about asking fans to follow you on Facebook. That means consistent creative engagement with the small audiences you can reach. To Facebook, “meaningful interaction” means having a conversation; the more comments you can get, the better off you’ll be.
So what can you do to start conversations? Sports teams have some of the most loyal fan bases around, so there is hardly a limit to the conversation. Create a poll on Twitter so your followers can vote on their favorite player moment from last week’s game. You can also encourage them to post gameday photos or videos of their own using your team or university hashtags. Think about what you, as a fan, would want to talk about on social media and create content that facilitates that discussion.
Do you have new players or coaches? Introduce them to your followers. Use Facebook and Instagram to host live events when key individuals can sit down and answer questions from fans. Make sure that you’re creating a situation where your fans feel welcomed to talk to you as well each other.
Another smart approach is to make sure you’re aware of what’s going on locally and piggyback on current events, activities, and topics. As a sports team, this is one of your easiest methods for drawing engagement. You can use your social media platforms to host contests and giveaways for team merchandise and tickets to upcoming games. Even if there’s an event coming up that has nothing to do with your team, you can put a unique spin on it to make it relevant to your followers. Something as simple as asking your fans to come out and participate with the team in a charity event at the university is a great way to gain some good publicity.
Just be careful to keep your content and comments natural. Sharing something and inviting others to share back is appropriate social behavior; including things like “COMMENT on this post!!” makes you seem insincere and reeks of self-interest. Nobody likes making forced conversation in real life, so don’t expect them to enjoy it on social media either.
One thing that’s constant in the realm of social media is change, so don’t let things like Facebook’s latest algorithm adjustment stress you out. Look at it as an opportunity to become a smarter, more strategic marketer. Then look at the other social media channels you’re using and think about how you can improve your approach on those channels before another algorithm change comes along. By acting now, you can build a better knowledge base of what it takes to succeed on all of the social platforms you’re using and come up with your own creative ways to engage your fans.
#ExOps18 is in the books and by all indications, it was a rousing success. Huge thanks goes out to Brad Wurthman, Ryan Peck, Chris Ferris and Daniel Veale for traveling to Norman, spending a couple days with us and contributing great information to the discussion. Thanks also goes out to everyone who joined remotely. We were excited to see that people from the industry were tuning in, asking questions and participating in the discussion. We had a great time, learned a lot and have a lot of notes on ways to make #ExOps19 even more engaging and valuable for everyone.
We covered a number of topics during our day-and-a-half of discussions. You can watch it all for yourself on the Old Hat Facebook page or you can simply read my recap below.
An Unconventional Look at How to Drive Attendance We kicked things off on Thursday morning with a private presentation I've developed that addresses what I see as a new way looking at collegiate athletics marketing. The group in the room served as my test audience. I do a number of speaking engagements in the spring, and this will be a topic I cover when visiting with athletics marketing groups. In my opinion, we should take a much different approach if we want to fill our stadiums and arenas. In this presentation, I outline what I believe is that approach. Be on the lookout for a webinar of this presentation coming soon.
Major in the Majors Next up, we had Brad Wurthman of Virginia Tech walk us through a presentation called "Major in the Majors" where he outlined steps he feels we should be taking to focus on the things that truly matter. Brad pointed out that it's difficult to not get bogged down in the minutia and lose sight of the majors, or the big things we actually should be paying attention to. Brad asked questions like, "What's your why?" and "What are we chasing?" and also laid down some golden wisdom with comments like, "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it," and my personal favorite, "We don't want our staff to do more, we want them to do different." Check out his presentation slides here, but I also highly recommend you follow along by listening to the Facebook video feed for a more valuable experience hearing it directly from Brad.
Roundtable Discussion After Brad's presentation, Chris Ferris of Colorado State led a discussion on various external operations topics. One strong area of focus was that of student attendance. Everyone felt strongly that despite student attendance being a non-factor in direct revenue generation, there are ancillary benefits that cause indirect increases in revenue. The most obvious of those is the effect students have on the overall gameday experience. Games are more exciting and more fun if the students are there. That, paired with the idea that students are your future season ticket holders and donors, brought us to the conclusion that when the old fans are complaining about the loud music and song selection, but your students love it, you err on the side of pleasing the students. Those die-hard older fans aren't going to stop coming because of the music, but your students won't turn into die-hard fans if you don't give them a great experience.
Effects of the New Tax Code on Fundraising After a lunch break, we came back to another roundtable discussion led by Ryan Peck of North Texas. We went through what the old code states about tax-deductible gifts and what the new code says. We also talked through a number of things different athletic departments have done to try to prepare for the unknown, but "the unknown" was really where we landed on this topic. The fact is, no one really knows how, or if, the new tax code is going to affect the industry. After some initial panic toward the end of 2017, most of the people at the table agreed that it might not be a major issue. Toward the end of this discussion, we also touched on the topic of data analytics, predictive analysis, look-alike modeling and marketing automation.
Virginia Tech Ticket Sales Strategic Planning Session Having spent the past few hours in discussion, we turned the live-stream off to get our hands dirty with a little strategic planning for Hokies football and men's basketball. Due to the proprietary nature of both the client information being shared, along with wanting to keep our process for making strategic marketing recommendations under wraps, we didn't broadcast this part to the masses. However, I can tell you that ahead of time, Brad Wurthman gave us a goal he's hoping to achieve: increase non-season ticket sales for football and men's basketball. We dug through the data gathered from surveys we'd conducted, talked through some of the issues Va Tech is facing, and looked at census data and historical sales information before calling it a day. This part of the process was all about information gathering. We haven't completed our strategic plan yet, but we will be doing so in the coming weeks and delivering that to Va Tech with a full list of recommendations to help them achieve that goal in a targeted and strategic manner.
2018 Digital Marketing Trends We kicked things off on Day 2 with a live-streamed presentation from Old Hat's Director of Web/Digital, Kevin Kelly, on the topic of web and digital trends for 2018. Kevin shared some great statistics on the impact of video engagement vs. the traditional means of communicating on social media. Some of those stats:
- 4 times as many consumers would rather watch a video vs reading - 1 in 4 consumers lose interest in product if there's no video about that product - 4 in 5 consumers say video of how a product works is important in decision to buy - 95% of a message is retained when watched in video vs. 10% when reading
One idea that was thrown out as a result of this is that maybe instead of having our internal video production crews focus so heavily on high-impact, emotionally driven videos, we should ask them to produce more informational videos that actually communicate a message about our product.
Other topics that were covered are too many to name, but I'll be asking Kevin to develop this into a webinar in the spring - so stay tuned for that. There's some great information that can help us better engage with our fans.
Responding to a Changing Industry For the final segment of #ExOps18, we turned off the live stream and talked through ways Old Hat can better serve the industry. When I started Old Hat 14 years ago, we were a traditional creative production shop, and we were selling a service the industry was already buying and knew it needed. Old Hat just offered a better version of it at a competitive price. However, as I've seen the industry shift, I've realized the need for our marketing to be much more strategic. Therefore, we developed a wide range of strategic marketing services that include data collection, analysis and strategic recommendations that can help an athletics organization identify who specifically to target, where to find them, how to message to them and how to measure the results. Unlike posters, videos and schedule cards, this list of services is not one the industry already knows it needs. During this discussion, we talked through ways of shifting the industry's perception on what marketing should look like and how to convince athletic departments to look at the product they're selling the same way other industries view their own products and services. That is through doing research, developing insight into who to reach and how to reach them and then rolling out a strategic marketing message in the right ways to the right people.
Overall, it was one of the most fun and most valuable day-and-a-halves in my entire career. Outside the walls of that conference room, we ate a lot of great food, learned a lot about each other and enjoyed the company of some very progressive and forward-thinking minds in collegiate athletics. There were so many people that came together behind-the-scenes to make this a reality, and my sincere gratitude goes out to all of them. We can't wait to do it again next year.
After months of planning, we are excited to announce the first ever Collegiate Athletics External Operations Symposium, or as we like to call it, #ExOps18. What is #ExOps18, you ask? Great question!
#ExOps18 is an opportunity for anyone working in collegiate athletics to learn about and discuss the topics at the forefront of the minds of those charged with ticket sales, increasing attendance, game experience and fundraising - the "external operations" of collegiate athletics. We're starting small and because of the luxuries the web provides us, year one will primarily be an event you can attend remotely. No need to worry about getting approved to spend money to attend. That's assuming, of course, that your university isn't on AOL's pay-per-minute internet service. If so, maybe you can collect some "free trial" disks in the mail and attend next year.
Fortunately for you though, not everyone is attending remotely. Old Hat has invited four of the top minds from collegiate athletics marketing and fundraising to be on-site to present, discuss and field questions. Those minds belong to:
Chris Ferris Senior Associate AD for Sales, Marketing and Communications Colorado State University
Ryan Peck Executive Senior Associate AD for External Affairs University of North Texas
Daniel Veale Director of Marketing SMU
Brad Wurthman Senior Associate AD for External Affairs Virginia Tech
On January 25 and 26, these four people will gather at Old Hat world headquarters for a day-and-a-half to discuss the topics that are weighing most heavily on their minds. Portions of those discussions will be live streamed via Facebook Live (link: ExOps.live), and we're inviting you to listen in and be a part of the conversation. You will be able to send in questions ahead of time, ask questions live via Twitter using the #ExOps18 hashtag or submit questions in the comments on the Facebook Live video stream. Below is an agenda for the event and a list of topics we will be discussing, so mark your calendars and get ready to plop down in front of your computer next Thursday and Friday for some great conversation.
Please note: Portions of the days' events will not be live streamed due to proprietary and confidential information being shared. The segments that will be live streamed are indicated below.
Thursday, January 25 - All times Central
9:00 a.m. (LIVE) - Welcome, Introductions and Icebreaker
9:30 a.m. (PRIVATE)- An Unconventional Look at How to Drive Attendance: An internal discussion on fan behavior - Zac Logsdon, CEO, Old Hat
10:15 a.m. (LIVE) - Major in the Majors: Filtering out the unimportant and concentrating on valuable metrics - Brad Wurthman, Virginia Tech
10:45 a.m. (LIVE) - Q&A session Brad Wurthman
11:15 a.m. (LIVE) - Marketing/Ticket Sales Roundtable discussion, led by Chris Ferris, Colorado State - Topics to include: Increasing Student Attendance, Growth Metrics that Matter, Data Analytics and How do you measure engagement?
Noon - Break for Lunch
1:30 p.m. (LIVE) - Fundraising/Development Roundtable discussion, led by Ryan Peck, North Texas - Impact of the new tax code on fundraising
2:30 p.m. (PRIVATE) - Strategic Planning Session for Virginia Tech Ticket Sales
5:00 p.m. - Break for the day
Friday, January 26 - All times Central
9:00 a.m. (LIVE) - Digital Marketing Marketing Trends for 2018 Presentation/Discussion - Kevin Kelly, Director of Digital/Web, Old Hat
9:45 a.m. (LIVE) - Q&A - Last opportunity to ask our guests questions
10:15 a.m. (PRIVATE) - Internal Discussion on new products/services, positioning and adapting to the changing market
Growing up in Texas, snow days were rare. Even just a little ice or a little snow typically resulted in everything shutting down. My friends and I would spend the day running, sliding, and eventually falling on the ice. It may have only happened once or twice in my entire childhood, which made it all the more memorable.
This last week it snowed in South Central Texas. Since I was in Oklahoma (where it did not snow), I received many photos, calls, and texts about the “crazy snow” that was happening in and around Austin: my nephews playing in it and building a snowman; my mom having to get a kitchen spatula to clean off her car windows to go to work; my friends telling me how hard it was to drive through all that snow.
From what I can tell, there wasn’t more than an inch. Making a snowman was way more work than it should be since snow had to be gathered from four different yards.Windshield wipers probably would have cleaned off the windows just fine, but that doesn’t matter to any of the people who experienced this event. The “blizzard of 2017” will be marked forever in their memories. I know my brother will be telling stories to his son about how much he hated snow the first time he was in it, that time it snowed in south Texas. Even a quick look at my “trends for you” section on Twitter shows what a big deal that little bit of snow was to the people watching it happen.
Why is this relevant to us as marketers? Events like these are rare, and while they may seem minuscule to some, the people who experience them will keep those memories for the rest of their lives. There’s a natural opportunity for you to connect with people in these moments and to become part of an indelible memory.
Whether the event that happens is a game, a freak weather event, or even just a spur of the moment gathering of people, there will be opportunities that you and your team can capitalize on. Here are a few things to think about if you ever find yourself experiencing a “snow in south Texas” type event.
1. Capture the moment. It seems obvious, but make sure you record it. Document the event as much as you can. Whether it’s snapping a few photos of the snow to use for holiday materials next year or making sure you capture the stories of people who experienced it, capture the moment and look for opportunities to share it again later on down the road.
2. Be timely. Timing can be everything. Just look at the impact Oreo made during the Super Bowl Blackout a few years ago. When unique moments happen, your ability to respond quickly can make or break your ability to connect with people. If you aren’t ready as the event is happening, don’t try to force it. Jumping on the bandwagon too late makes you seem less relevant .
3. Be genuine. This is a phrase that gets repeated in marketing conversations quite often, but with something like this you have to be genuine. A large part of that comes with being true to your brand. If the event does not fit or fall in line with who you are as a brand, let it pass. It is better to sit on the sidelines and watch things unfold than to put something out there simply because you felt it was required.
4. Tie your brand to the event. During the recent snow, a lot of the Twitter activity I saw related to snow at Kyle Field. Opportunities for photos of an Aggie helmet covered in snow on the 50 yard line are few and far between, but by capturing the moment in that manner, fans will forever remember the time it snowed during Aggie football season.
5. Embrace the moment. Often this type of event is unexpected and brings out a little bit of craziness. Embrace it. This is not something that is going to happen often and it might not ever happen again. As long as you’re reacting in a way that’s consistent with your brand, don’t be afraid to do something different to take advantage of a unique opportunity.
Duke Men's Basketball fans are used to seeing great basketball, and thanks to our partnership with Duke Athletics over the past 4 years on Countdown to Craziness, their fans are also used to seeing an epic floor projection show to kick off the basketball season.
Every year we work with Duke Athletics to come up with something that's bigger and better than what was done the year before. This year was no exception. Months of planning and discussions happen before we even begin the video production process. This is necessary so that we can determine a theme and concept that the show centers around.
The concept behind this year's Countdown to Craziness Court Projection was bringing Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium back to life. The basketball court had been dormant since its last game in March and it just needed the electrical switch flipped to charge it back up to full craziness. Deep in the inner-depths of Cameron is the storied program's history. The heart of Cameron. This is where you'll find all of the buzzer-beaters, dunks, blocks, hustle plays, and hugs. This is where you'll find the banners and trophies. As each highlight continues to build the electricity goes into a complete frenzy. Once you step on Coach K Court you BECOME a part of it all. See for yourself!
It’s a great conversation starter. Since we know a lot of credit union marketers want to start more conversations with Millennials and Gen Z – and that sometimes looking at research is exhausting when your day is already full of tasks and reports – we’ve put together a game of marketing “would you rather” for you. It’s the easiest game you’ll ever play, because we’ve provided answers based on statistics from 9GAG and GFK on consumers aged 18-34.
1. Would you rather have an easy job working for someone else OR work for yourself but work incredibly hard?
53% of those polled said they rather work for themselves but work incredibly hard. Millennials have taken some flak for being lazy, but they’re actually pretty entrepreneurial. Twenty years ago it was much harder to launch a business because you needed a brick-and-mortar location or at least a distribution channel, plus marketing yourself often meant pounding the pavement. Today, e-commerce gives Millennials greater opportunity to test the waters of self-employment and many of them are jumping in.
2. Would you rather be a smart person who’s never appreciated OR be an average person who gets all the praise in the world?
63% said they would rather be a smart person who’s never appreciated. These generations have grown up with unprecedented access to information at their fingertips. They’re used to finding answers quickly and learning on the fly. While they’d willingly give up recognition in favor of actual smarts, you can’t afford not to recognize them for who they are. Don’t make the mistake of underestimating them or talking down to them.
3. Would you rather gain 10 friends in real life OR gain 10,000 friends on Instagram/Twitter?
With 95% of those polled preferring to gain 10 friends in real life, we are seeing a shift in how the younger generations are interacting. Despite what older generations may think, Millennials and Gen Z see real value in face to face communication.
4. Would you rather lose the right to say anything on social media OR lose your right to vote in an election?
Younger generations want their voices to be heard, but you might be surprised to know that 67% felt the right to vote in an election was more important than being able to say whatever they want on social media. With all the recent attention on fake news in social media, there’s a growing recognition among Millennials that the real way to get their voices heard is by participating in politics and putting action behind their opinions.
5. Would you rather lose all your money and valuables OR lose all the selfies you have ever taken?
There’s no doubt that the 34-and-under crowd loves their selfies, but they’re also smart enough to realize that selfies don’t pay the bills for most people. A whopping 98% said they’d rather sacrifice their selfies than lose all of their money and valuables. So, you know money is valuable to them. How can you help them make more of what they have?
To build a stronger marketing strategy sometimes you need to have a little fun and get into the minds of those you are targeting. While some of these statistics might not be crucial to your marketing efforts, hopefully they’ve helped you get a better sense of what’s important to Millennials and the leading edge of Gen Z.