Why You Should Join a Professional Association

2012 NACDA Convention Credentials
Bill Peck’s 2012 NACDA Convention Credential

Have you ever thought of joining a professional association/body/organization? What made you think of doing that? Did you join? Most of these organizations do come with some sort of price tag, so maybe you decided not to because of the financial cost or time commitment involved with signing up and driving out to the meetings after a long day or work or on the weekends when you’d rather be golfing or doing something else. Does this sound familiar?

Well, let me try to outline some of the benefits of being a part of these groups. In my own opinion, the benefits outweigh the costs by a large margin, assuming you can cover the basic financial commitments. Here’s a list:

– Networking: If you’ve decided upon a career choice and are committed to advancing in that field, networking will likely be critical to your success. These professional organizations are always great places to meet other people working in your industry who are also interested in networking. In today’s digital age, personal touch and conversation is something unique and valuable.

– Personal and Professional Development: It’s in the name! These organizations are always trying to provide value for the people they serve. Whether it is formal classes taught by a senior official, discounts on courses at a local college or monthly book clubs and discussions about that topic, professional associations are a great way to learn more about the field as well as about yourself. Remember, the other people in the group are just that, people who have probably dealt with or are in the same situation you are who likely have the same concerns about work-life balance and other factors.

– Information and Advocacy: Professional associations are often a great place to exchange information about industry topics and connect with others interested in promoting and advancing that particular industry as well. Professional associations give you a place to engage with others who understand what you do and how you fit into the community.

Regardless of the profession, I highly encourage everyone I meet to join some sort of professional association and get involved with what they are doing. If you don’t get involved, you will still likely see some benefit, but certainly not to the fullest extent possible. If you end up not fitting in or agreeing with one particular organization, the great part about this is that you are learning. There are many different organizations that overlap in many ways, but with a different focus, so perhaps you just need to keep looking for something different until you find something that works. Don’t be discouraged, as there are plenty of opportunities out there.

If you found this post helpful or have enjoyed your involvement with a particular professional association, please leave a comment below. It would be great to hear what organizations provide value for their membership. Please also click “Follow” if you’d like to get updates via email.

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Sport Monetization

OSU Baseball Facebook Promo
Oregon State University Facebook Promotion – Baseball “Diamond” Giveaway

Are you looking for ways to increase corporate sponsorship revenue? Well take a look at this example from Oregon State University with their Baseball “Diamond” Giveaway. I thought this particular promotion was worth noting for three reasons:

– Social Media integration. In order to view and sign-up for the promotion, you’d have to be a fan or “Like” their page. This means more engagement with fans in the social space that rewards encouraged behavior.

– Sponsorship activation other than football. This piece works particularly well for OSU because of how well their baseball games are attended in addition to giving one of their sponsors a unique engagement opportunity in a diversified list of offerings. With a moderate capacity stadium and a team that performs well on an annual basis, their attendance figures are some of the highest in the Pac-12 Conference; this translates to a high likelihood of impact, especially with exposure during a time of year that sponsor might not otherwise be in front of OSU’s fans.

– Long-term buzz and game day excitement – Assuming OSU has a game day integration plan, this could turn into one of those season long promotions where the winner is announced at the end of the season and makes for a big splash. If the media gets involved and if you happen to have a really excited winner, this could make for a great celebration. Diving further into this particular element, the team could interview the winner in the Omaha Room and perhaps get some video of them shopping in the store. The sponsor could probably use this more than the team, but the team ought to be able to leverage their connection to encourage renewal of the deal.

I am a big fan of clever “play on words” games as it pertains to special events and giveaways and this sponsorship element really hits it out of the park. It’s a seamless correlation between what the company offers and the sport being profiled that really caught my attention on Facebook. Something I tend to talk about a lot with our staff is the imaginary “tool box” of options we have at our disposal to help us do our jobs. This promotion is one of those “tools” that can help us as sport administrators meet some of our financials goals while at the same time creating a buzz in the community. Keep this idea in your “tool box” and consider how you could apply the same principles to perhaps another team of yours that does well in terms of attendance.

Please leave a comment below – I’d love to have your feedback on whether or not you thought this post was useful to you. Or, if there is something else you’d like me to write about, I’m always taking suggestions. Click “Follow” in the lower right corner to get updates in your email inbox.

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Football 101 Examples

OSU Football 101
Ohio State Football 101 Email

After my last post generated some good interest, I wanted to share a few examples of various programs who already host their own “Football 101” event. This is nowhere close to being an exhaustive list, nor do I necessarily endorse any of these events, however these links are just meant to serve as examples of teams of various levels and types of sport. My first experience of ever hearing about something like this was when I was working at Notre Dame. Other college football programs that have similar events are Oregon, Wisconsin and New Mexico State. The above picture is an email I received from Ohio State promoting their upcoming event this summer, which happens to last all day.

NFL teams have recently gotten on board with doing these women-specific events also. One interesting piece regarding the NFL teams was that of the teams I looked at, they were planned during the actual football season. I thought that was particularly of interest considering the college teams all host these events during the summer. Two NFL teams to look at are the Chicago Bears and the Seattle Seahawks.

Baseball 101

This idea of bringing your product to a demographic that may not perhaps be very familiar with what you have to offer also translates well across different types of sport as well as levels of sport. In a recent edition of Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal, I saw an announcement that the Philadelphia Phillies were hosting a “Baseball 101” event. Considering their recent success over the last few years and strong fan support, I’m sure they probably had a great turnout. Another baseball example I found was that of a minor league affiliate to the Boston Red Sox, the Salem, VA Red Sox.

If I can draw any kind of conclusion regarding these events, it’s that there’s no real set format for success as long as what your organization plans out fits with your overall goals, whatever those may be. Events like these have the potential to be very successful in terms of engaging fans of a different demographic with significant revenue potential as well as just being a community outreach type event intended to engage participation from the community. Please leave a comment below if you’ve ever attended one of these types of events or have a particular example you’d like to share.

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Football 101

San Francisco 49ers Game Ball
San Francisco 49ers Game Ball

“Football 101” events are another revenue idea that seem to have some great potential in the marketplace. A Football 101 event is a typically a summer event focused on teaching the game of football to fans in a relaxed atmosphere, coached by the staff of the football team. (This could also apply to other sports depending on the team and the community) With the right sponsors, an outgoing staff and some good marketing, these events have the potential to be very well done. Typically, most of the Football 101 events I’ve seen have been geared toward women and connected to some type of non-profit, especially one that is closely tied in with one of the football coaches or the institution itself.

Admission fees for events I’ve seen range from the low-end of $50 up to $120+ with allowed registration of around 75-150 women or guests for an event that lasts only about 3-4 hours. The registration fee would include a swag bag that includes some kind of branded jersey or t-shirt to wear during the event, along with other sponsorship related items. Asked to wear workout gear prior to arriving, the attendees would first be introduced to the team’s  coaches and hear a short  introduction from the charity partner, to be followed by a football drills session. The participants would be broken out into “position” groups and make their way through various drills and light position-specific workouts, going through each position. Depending on the group, a short scrimmage could be set up between two teams of willing participants, once they’ve learned the basics of the sport.

After the workout session of the evening, a facilities tour would come next, followed by a cocktail hour and silent auction with dinner last. Formal or not, depending on the intention of the event and the charity group, there would be a formal presentation at dinner from both the university or team officials as well as the charity partner. As part of the dinner program, I have also heard of athletes from the team being a part of these events and, with the right players, some sponsorship activation ideas work really well here (think fashion show put on by football players).

So, if your organization is looking for another way to generate some revenue, while also winning hearts and minds in the community, a Football 101 event is a great way to do just that. You allow fans to get a more personal feel of your program while also building the community of fans and supporting a non-profit with local roots.

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Why Marketing Means Lifelong Learning

Bill Peck, SeattleU MBB, Winter 2010
Bill Peck at the Scorer’s Table as the Game Director for SeattleU Basketball, Winter 2010

To be a good marketer you must have a love of and passion for learning. Anyone involved in revenue generation must have some interest in learning, adapting and change. Society changes, trends change, people change. If you’re not actively involved in staying up on the latest trends, newest music or what people are interested in, you are quickly falling behind. In this digital age, things come up quickly and sometimes pass even more quickly than they arrived. If you’re not aware of these major shifts and how they fit into the bigger picture, then there is very little chance you’ll be able to capitalize on what is happening in the market place in terms of where your customers are located and what drives them to consume your product.

Marketing happens at the intersection of quantitative and qualitative research, or at least it should. It mixes the hard data of trends, time lines, and numbers with the creative and design processes involved in how we present our products to the marketplace.   Data collection and data mining go right along with the aesthetic presentation elements of whether or not your consumers are clicking and paying.
In looking at the sports and entertainment landscape, and specifically in college athletics, we work year-round to make sure our products, tickets and promotions are ready to go year round. We’ve got teams in season 9 months out of the year with something going on just about every weekend during that time. Gone are the days of an “off-season” – just as athletes specialize from a young age and train in the same sports for their entire lives, so must we work just as diligently and with as much focus on winning. Without everyone on board this ship, we won’t get there together – and it takes all of us.
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