Old Hat Creative recently launched the website RaiseUpCarolina.com.It was and is a unique project that had some interesting results.
First, while this is not always an option for websites, we were able to meet with the clients face to face and discussed the website. UNC has long been a friend of Old Hat’s, but this was the first website we would be doing with them. Zac and I went to Chapel Hill once together and then Zac returned with Dustin to shoot some of the footage used on the site. We were able to go through what they wanted out of the site and get a feel for what they envisioned for their athletic department over the next year. We do not always get to do this with clients, but when we do, it helps the process go considerably smoother. Plus, I always enjoy a trip to see our clients.
Once we have met with the client and received the content we start building out the site. Dustin is great at what he does and his ability to lay out content in an efficient manner is one of the things that take our sites to another level. Our process is another one of the reasons we are able to create amazing websites and working closely with a client on a website allows us to refine this process to match the goals of their website. UNC wanted to push season tickets for football and that is the main goal of the website. To accommodate this push, Dustin worked hand in hand with the marketing and ticket staff at UNC to make sure the content was laid out in an effective and aesthetically pleasing manner.
Combining marketing automation with a well laid out website can bring a whole new level of efficiency to your staff and this was one of the primary goals of the Raise Up Carolina website. We were able to target specific demographics of the fan base with newsletters and content, see how they reacted, and then adjust our focus to fit that specific demographic. This is something we work closely with UNC on and that is still going on at this time. When we know and understand the goals of our clients, we will adjust what we do to make sure we help them accomplish those goals. Ashley and Joel (from our OKC office) have studied the goals of UNC so much that they are starting to see things in shades of Tar Heel Blue, but this is what we mean we say we are here to help.
Deadlines and seasons change easily in our industry. Teams that we might think will be sitting at 2-8 end up sitting at 8-2 and looking to get into the playoffs. Our experience working on campus and in this industry has prepared us for that. We have our processes in place to handle these changes and are able to deliver for our clients when few other firms could. Every project will have these challenges, but that’s part of the process and another reason why we make sure we know everything we need to about your goals.
In the end, major projects like this are about the relationship. We got in on the ground floor with UNC for this site and it helped throughout the process. We are still working with them to target their marketing efforts, using analytics to study their fan base, and using marketing automation to make them as efficient as possible.
We are on the same team on projects like this. We will help you accomplish your goals.
Our 2016 New Year’s resolution: share more of what we know.
In the past 12 years, we’ve learned a lot about sports marketing and fundraising. In fact, we’re not going to be shy about saying this: we’re experts. And we’ve realized that our clients, friends, and fans would benefit from our expertise – so we’re going to start sharing more of it.
Over the upcoming year, you can expect to see more articles on our blog about sports marketing best practices, achieving fundraising goals, advice for common sports marketing challenges, marketing trends, and more. If you’ve got a sports marketing question or challenge that’s keeping you up at night, send it to us! We’d be happy to tackle it in our blog and give you some free advice. After all, our staff has a combined 482 years of experience in sports marketing and development. I know what you're thinking. 482 years? Seriously? No, not seriously. But it's a lot.
But don’t worry, if you like hearing about our antics and personal escapades you’ll still be able to read about them on all our various social media outlets. Robert will still run shirtless through the snow. Zac will still do uncomfortable interviews with the OH staff. And Geoff might write a haiku again sometime.
So buckle in. Twenty-sixteen is poised to be the greatest year in the history of years. And your best resource for making it the best for you is right here at the Old Hat blog.
As a sports marketer, what do you sell? The simple and obvious answer is, of course, tickets. Those game ticket sales in turn fuel other revenue streams: concessions, merchandise, and indirectly other types of program support.
But in reality, you’re selling much more than tickets. You’re selling an experience of your school’s brand and what it means to be a fan of your particular sports program. That experience means different things to different people.
Your entire target audience has one important thing in common: they’re all fans of your program to some degree or another. That means all of them are likely to respond to certain visual cues like your logo, colors, and images of your team, campus, or game venue. However, if you really want to market yourself strategically and effectively, you need to segment your audience further and get to know what drives them.
There are several ways to segment your fans: alumni, donor level, development group member, fan club member, season ticket holder, single game ticket purchaser, whether they’re die-hards or jump-on-a-winning-bandwagon fans, and of course the usual demographic indicators such as age, gender, and geographic location. One of the best ways to segment your current target audience is through market research surveys that enable you to understand their motivations for being a fan and what the game experience means to them.
Here are a few simple examples of what this might look like and how you could use it to drive tailored communication strategies:
·Students might value the fan experience because it reinforces their connection with the school and contributes to their sense of personal identity at this stage of their lives. What makes the student experience unique at your school? Think about how you can tap into traditions like these.
Alumni might be motivated by the opportunity to relive the fun and excitement of their college days, reconnecting with the brand through a combination of sense of tradition, nostalgia, and present day pride. Why not take advantage of opportunities like social media’s #TBT (Throwback Thursday) to help you reinforce that connection and encourage greater engagement?
Parents of students might see the experience as a way to strengthen their connection with their child and may feel a sense of ownership and pride based on their financial contributions to the school. Consider how you can encourage mom or dad’s commitment to the team.
Parents of younger children (whether they’re alumni or not) may value the fan experience as a means of creating memories, passing down a love the game, or teaching kids about teamwork. How is the game experience different for them, and what can you do to showcase the family-friendly side of your brand?
Locals who aren’t alumni and don’t have children attending your school may relate more to a sense of local pride or deep-rooted geographic rivalries. Think about what you can do or say that will recognize and encourage their continued support as honorary members of your organization.
When you understand what motivates your different fan groups to be part of the game experience, it’s easier to identify the right marketing themes. Some motivations or feelings will span segmented groups and resonate with the majority of your fans. Those are the themes you should consider for your overall marketing message. Other motivations will be specific to certain segments, and you should use those to tailor your engagement with each group.
Every ticket or season tickets package you sell represents a wide range of emotions and motivations that are felt by your fans as part of the game experience. So don’t just sell tickets: sell can’t-hold-us-down commitment. Sell remember-when-we nostalgia. Sell ours-is-better-than-yours rivalry. Sell this-is-our-house pride. Your fans will love you for it.
Football season is winding to a close and basketball season is heating up. No matter which sport you work with, these four tips will help you take your marketing efforts from having an average season to dominating your goals.
1. Talk smack.
As a sports marketer, you basically get paid to talk smack. How glorious is that? It’s a beautiful thing – as long as you get it right. Good smack-talk galvanizes your fans and increases ticket sales. Just remember that when you talk smack for your program, there are two groups who have to deliver on it: the team (of course) and the operations guys whose efforts ensure a good game-day experience for fans. Make sure you’re working closely with both. The other thing about talking smack is that in order for it to resonate, you have to talk the right smack to the right group. That can be tough if you’re new to a particular program, because every school and every sport is unique. When your messages are on point, you’re near the eye of the hurricane helping chart its path. If your messages aren’t on point, you’re going to be the guy getting crushed by the hurricane. To make sure you’re not that guy, follow the lead of your coaches and players: watch some tape.
2. Watch tape (a.k.a. do your research).
Do you know any college or professional football team that doesn’t watch tape? Yeah, us neither. There’s a reason for that. Watching game film gives players and teams insight into what went well (or didn’t go well) and what to expect from their next opponent. That type of research and analysis provides an important edge. Why not do the same thing with your marketing? Just like reviewing game film, there are two key areas you need to analyze: your brand and your target audience. When was the last time you thoroughly reviewed what your brand stands for, where it can improve on delivering the customer experience, and how strong your marketing strategy is? You also periodically analyze your customers: who they are, what they value most about the game day experience, how well their needs are being met, and what their satisfaction level is. The good news is that you can get away with investing in this type of in-depth analysis periodically (once per season) instead of having to do it for every game.
3. Develop your plays.
On the field or off, analysis is useless if it doesn’t translate into strategy. Use your brand and market research to develop your overall marketing strategy for the year, select the themes and media that are most likely to help you achieve your goals, prioritize your budget, and develop campaigns. Your marketing year can probably be divided pretty easily into its own set of seasons, and you need to have a solid campaign plan for each. Once you find something that works, there’s no shame in recycling it for the next year as long as you don’t get complacent. Complacency kills. You don’t want fans to be able to predict your next poster, email, etc. any more than your team wants the opposing players to predict their next move. So figure out what worked last season, make some adjustments to keep it interesting, and take the next year on like you own it.
4. Monitor the stats.
Ticket sales, game attendance, season ticket renewals, alumni contributions – these are all statistics you should be benchmarking and comparing to prior data. But don’t stop there: there’s more to measure if you really want to know how effective your marketing efforts are. While it can be difficult to measure the success rate of traditional marketing tactics (posters, print ads, billboards, radio, etc.), digital marketing offers a goldmine of statistics. Go beyond looking at basics like number of new and returning website visitors, and start measuring responses to calls to action and actual conversion. Incorporate a marketing automation tool so you can target your messages to different groups, move them along the conversion path, and measure the response you get to each email you send. Make your emails more personal and more interactive with videos that are customizable to each recipient – it’s more affordable than you think, and it helps seriously drive engagement and ultimately ticket sales.
I've been out shooting a lot of work for clients lately. In the last several weeks we've done video and photo shoots for Wyoming, SMU, North Texas, and Illinois just to name a few.
With football season well underway and basketball season ready to tip off I'd like to share a few things I learned during this season of Old Hat Capture shoots.
1. Every University has great student-athletes/coaches.
I guess this is the eternal question right? How do some coaches/schools maintain success while others struggle? I see amazing athletes, administrators and coaches at every single university I visit. They all want to win just as much as the next guy. I suppose that's why they pay some people the big bucks when it comes to coaching, some people just have it figured out.
2. 4 wheels for the win.
My trusty rolling camera bag went down for the count this year. It was a large, 2 wheeled Tamrac 5552 that I've taken all over the country for the past 6 years. One of the wheels finally fell off, well almost fell off. But it was getting pretty hard to drag it through airports with one good rolling wheel. I'd been looking at Thinktank Photo's rolling bags with envy and our replacement bag is the Airport Roller Derby.
You may not think this is a big deal, but if I could put everything on 4 wheels and roll it upright for the rest of my life I would. This thing is awesome and it's saved my back and arm on multiple shoots so far this year. Here's to another 6 years and beyond with this baby.
3. Where there's smoke, there's cool shots. And sometimes firemen.
I like smoke. It adds atmosphere and can make for some epic looking shots. It's not right for every shoot but it sure makes stuff cool on other occasions. But you have to make sure the fire alarms are turned off and the proper people alerted. We did those things recently at Illinois but we still had some firemen show up. And if that happens, just make sure to include your local heroes. They'll be way more likely to forgive you. ;)
There is a chance we will have our first frost this weekend. It is actually a little late in the season for this to be happening, but I am still bothered because my garden is still growing and producing. Once the frost starts to become more and more frequent, that is done and I will have to rip my plants out of the ground. It is kind of sad considering how much work and effort I have put into keeping those plants alive. It was worth it, I have loved to be able to harvest vegetables every day after work or be cooking, run out of something, and only have to walk outside to get what I need. The harvesting is the easy part.
I do not mind putting in the work at the beginning of the season. The stress of spring rains and tornados ends up being worth it, but I am still going to be annoyed at the present time. That is kind of what our busy season at Old Hat is like. It is stressful, it is annoying, and it can be a pain, but in the end it is worth it. We create some amazing pieces for our clients and we do things that should make all of our staff proud. We are not completely through the busy season, but check out some of the cool things we have done below.
You like that play on words? There's a lot more where that came from... well, no, not really. I just realized today was my blog day so I'm keeping it super short (you're welcome).
So today we held the first of many Old Hat/Third Degree productions, and probably one of the most important efforts by both sides. I'm talking about the Chili Cook-off Contest!
I don't want to brag too much about the Old Hat side, but we did take 1st place (thanks to Tanner) and also a share of the 4-way tie for 2nd place.
Here are the final results:
1. Tanner Naeher
2a. Katelyn Drake
2b. Kriste Day
2c. Zac Logsdon
2d. Deb Livingston
3. Misty Copeland
Here's a look at the chili, after we ate it all.
In other unrelated news, I just got back from a shoot in Orlando for the American Athletic Conference basketball media days. We had a good time- got to talk with the WBB coaches and players, and the MBB players from around the conference too. I'm looking forward to the PSAs we put together for both sides.
Here's a creepy painting that was at the end of the hall at our hotel... pretty cool though.
And to tie in videos and painting, I heard Bob Ross' entire collection is now available on YouTube. It's the gift that keeps on giving. I hope you'll find your inner artist and paint what your heart desires.
Ok, so I'm not really on the road right now, I'm actually back in the OH offices. I've spent the last several weeks doing shoots for clients near and far.
All of the shoots have gone well but it's been quite a bit of work. Sometimes going on the road shooting video and photos is a little like going to a surprise birthday party every week. You've got a vague sense that something is going to happen, but you don't have any details.
Since there's so many variables that take place during a shoot it's important to have things that make my life easier when I'm out there. Here's a couple that I depend on:
We shoot quite a bit of green screen and this app can be very helpful when you're trying to even out a background. Your eye is a great tool, but add this baby to your arsenal and you'll be pulling clean keys like there's no tomorrow! (Out video effects peeps might disagree with me...but I'm looking out for you guys and gals the best I can!)
I used to roll with a 2-wheeled bag and let me tell you, there's no comparison. 4 wheels for the win everytime. This thing has so many different pockets and handles and things that just plain make my life easier when I'm on the road. It's a bag that goes with me everywhere, from the plane to the location and back again. 4 wheels make for upright rolling and save my arm and back. (Camera gear is not light...) The handles on all sides make for easy loading in and out of tight spaces like overhead bins on the plane and packed tight with gear in the back of a car. It also holds a ton of stuff.
That's two quick ones for today folks. I've got a ton of stuff to get to from all the shoots we just got finished with. Have a great weekend!
Monday, Dustin, Stevie, and I flew out to Laramie, Wyoming, for a video shoot with Wyoming men and women's basketball. Dustin and I went for the first time last April, and we were excited to bring Stevie along this time. The weather was BEAUTIFUL! Although, I did have to put on my (The) Northface fleece for the first time this fall season...
Anyway, I got the chance to meet/see again my new contacts at Wyoming - David, Felicia, and Dennis (Hiiii!) They helped organize the shoot and fit both men and women's basketball green screen player features AND intro video footage on the court in one day. Everything ran super smoothly, and we had a lot of fun.
In previous videos we have done for Wyoming, we noted the altitude - 7220 ft. above sea level. We even asked, "How's your oxygen?"
Well let me tell you...not good. Even just walking up the stairs, I would get winded. I was able to get a quick workout in, and oh my gosh it was hard to breathe. I don't know how they do it up there.
You might have seen some of these on Facebook, but here are some photos from our adventure.
As Stevie would say - Photoception! This is from my perspective while being a "test model"
No joke, the MBB team started doing handstands on their own! Then I joined them for a picture...I swear!
Ah mid-September it's probably my favorite time of year. 90% of our football projects are out the door and there are only the slight rumblings of the 2015 basketball season in the distance (that might just be the print department dealing with basketball ticketbooks and posters). It's nice to take a breath, watch some football and enjoy the break, because before you know it "the hoopies," as i have started calling basketball, will be here.
With Productions it's our goal, if given the opportunity, to do something different with every video or animation project that comes our way. There will always be that one concept - prepping before a game or green screen hyping into the camera; or that ONE song - I'm looking at you Fall Out Boy and Kanye; that fans and marketers are head over heels in love with. It's kind of the same reasoning there are so many superhero movies with the same type of story structure. It's what the people like. However, that doesn't mean they can't redo Captain America, right? Right. (seriously click that link, "The best scene of the lackluster Captain America film from 1990.")
For our videos we actively look for opportunities to do something different with one or several of the following: music, script, design, highlights, photos, green screen, shoots, etc. We also aim to execute these ideas well, whether it be in the capture, pre-production and/or post-production phases. Execution is something that differentiates an Old Hat project from a lot of the other videos out there. It's not in my dna to half-butt (ha) something here at OH. In fact, it's probably my number one pet peeve.
So without further ado here's a snippet of some of the 2015 Football Videos: