Yesterday, Ashley and I traveled to Stillwater to meet with the OSU Sports Management Club.  I enjoyed getting to meet the students involved in the group and share a few of the things I have learned from working in the industry.  The excitement they have about going into the sports industry is refreshing. We spent about an hour talking with them about our careers and answering any questions they had about the industry.  I am truly grateful to work where I work.   I consider myself lucky to work on sports projects everyday. 

I enjoy seeing that excitement in young people.  Excited about what is to come and excited to learn.  I help coach a flag football team for similar reasons.  I enjoy working with kids and seeing that spark in their eye when they start to understand the game.  Watching a young person go from confusion to pure joy in their understanding or the lesson they just learned.  Then watching them apply it during a game is something that always brings a smile to my face.  

Sports bring that out in people.  At Old Hat we “Amplify the Sports Experience” and in that motto is the reason I enjoy coming to work everyday.   We want to make every experience a fan has with your team an exciting one.  We want fans to get the tickets they bought in the mail, see the design, and start counting down the days until they are in the stadium.  We want fans to get chills when they watch a team run out of the tunnel to an intro video.  That enjoyment, that passion for the game is what we want to amplify, and all it takes is a young person being excited about sports to remind me of why we do it.  

I get the question all the time: "What should we be doing that we aren't doing?" or "What's the newest thing that we should be doing?" The are always new answers because there are always new things being developed. But right now and for the forseeable future, the answer is: Marketing Automation

What is marketing automation, you ask? Well, there's a graphic below that does a good job of explaining it but honestly, this is one of those things you have to explain through a demo. The basics are this... Marketing automation takes your sales initiatives and makes them about 100% more effective. It's about tracking, data mining and giving you analytics that allow you to make your ticket sales and fundraising campaigns more targeted and more effective. It's audience segmentation, directed email campaigns, automated follow-ups, customer relations management, pixel tracking, re-targeting and much more. And it's something Old Hat is now offering as a service add-on to our web projects. 

We'll be launching a website for a client in November that's directed at ticket sales. Through marketing automation, we'll be able to tell them who is spending time on what portions of the website and for how much time they're in each section. We'll know if they converted on the sale or not. If they spend 5 minutes on the mini-pack page, they'll get a follow-up email automatically a few days later telling them more about it. If they spend time looking at renting the terrace suite for their corporate event, we'll be able to give the client a list of those people so they can give them a call. If a family-pack is purchased, that person will get an automated email a few days later telling them about the family entertainment opportunities on gameday. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

I've been working in collegiate athletics for nearly 15 years and I'm not sure I've ever seen a more powerful tool in increasing ticket sales and donor relations. Give me a call at (405) 310-2133 and I'll tell you more about it. And see below... This stuff is amazing.

Yesterday I was talking about one of our websites with Kelby and discussing propagation.  When you look up propagation in the dictionary (ok, ok, I mean Google and then Webster) you get a couple different options for the definition.  For the purposes of this discussion we are going with option B:

the spreading of something (as a belief) abroad or into new regions

When talking about propagation in websites, we are typically talking about the propagation of a site to the servers throughout the world.  This process can take up to 72 hours and is typically the explanation to why one person in Texas can see your site while a person in California, at the same URL, can not see the site.  It can be a pain, but since I started working in web, the process has improved and does not seem to take as a long.  

As Kelby mentioned the other day, she is working on more projects now and quite a few of those projects are websites.  I am not sure she wanted the impromptu lesson on server propagation, but I would rather someone understand than just regurgitate the words.  This conversation got me thinking about the sports industry and how ideas tend to propagate through (around?) the industry. 

Good ideas are usually copied in our industry.  It is as much a part of life as football in the fall.  I try to see it as a compliment when someone copies what you do.  It is interesting to me to watch the ideas propagate through the industry.  College sports is where most of the websites we build are targeted and a quick look through college athletics websites, it is quite easy to see some of the more “popular” ideas, templates, or layouts that are being used.  All it takes is for one high profile school to do something cool and then you can watch it propagate throughout the industry.  This is not always a good thing and it is not always a bad thing, that all depends on the idea and the execution.  

At Old Hat Creative, we do not use templates for our websites, but we do take good ideas and execute them in a way that we think will be most successful for our clients.  Our motto is “We Amplify the Sports Experience” and we like to do that with good ideas as well.  Do you have a website and always wanted to see something like it done for your school?  Lets talk about it.   You bring the idea and we will execute it in a way that makes you unique and successful in your goals.  

The process does not stop with the idea or even the site launch.  You have to execute the site well.  You have to make sure your visitors on the site are finding the content you want them to find and are truly motivated by your call to action.  

Want to know if your idea is causing fans to look at your ticket options more?  We can provide analytics on your site that will tell you exactly who is clicking and where they are clicking.  

Want to make sure your visitors are reminded about the season ticket benefits they were browsing through last week?  We can set your site up to reach out to them later in the week and send them information specific to what they were browsing through on your site.  

Want to know how long people are spending on the site and why they leave?  We can tell you where their last clicks were and work with you to tailor the content to get them to want to stay on your site. 

There is always going to be propagation of ideas in our industry and probably every industry, but at Old Hat, we can help you take that idea to the next level.  

 

I have never tried to blog from my phone before, but figured it was worth a try. Today, Zac and I travel to Chapel Hill, North Carolina to talk about a website. I do not normally travel, but this year I am covering quite a bit of distance. 

This trip is shorter than my last, I will only be spending about 20 hours in the state of North Carolina. Lucky for me, this is not my first trip out to Chapel Hill so I do not have to worry about site seeing, but I am still excited to make the trip. 
 
I enjoy getting on campus to meet with clients. It helps us understand the client's needs and message. It allows us to get a feel for what is important and helps us make sure we build a custom website that solves a problem. 
 
Stay tuned to see what our trips this summer will produce!! And check out our latest website, timetoshinememphis.com.
 

It recently was brought to my attention that I am the commissioner of two fantasy leagues.  It is not that I did not know I was commissioner; it was that I had not made time to handle my duties.  The real issue is that one of those leagues starts this Saturday and I have done little to no planning for the season.  It is fantasy football, but not the kind you are thinking.  

Saturday kicks off the English soccer season.  There are several fantasy games to go along with the leagues and one I have been playing for a few years now.  It is completely different from fantasy football and lasts twice as long.  I actually watch the games throughout the year (compared to fantasy football where I hardly watch any NFL games) and enjoy the drawn out season.  

However, because the season is longer, there are a lot more games, and it requires more strategy.  Player and team values can change throughout the year. There are add on features that can only be used once or at certain times of the year.  It is a different game.  

Old Hat recently started offering the Sports Marketing 180.  We are adding a service to the same games we have always worked on, but approaching it in a different manner from what we have done in the past.  It takes our clients and us to another level because of the strategy involved.  This process is a full-scale brand assessment that is especially ideal for any organization that is in transition. We come on campus and survey key members of your staff, donors and fans. Then we attend events (we will wear your colors and cheer loudly, we promise) and research all of the ways you are currently communicating with your fans and donors whether it be through fundraising solicitations, marketing collateral, television commercials, coaches shows, etc. And at the end of all of that, we provide a report to you that shows what we have uncovered, along with a list of recommendations for how to increase fundraising levels, raise fan affinity and improve ticket sales.

We are going more in depth than ever before in an effort to serve our clients completely.  How does all of this tie in to fantasy soccer or fantasy sports in general?  Well, I need some strategy.  Does anyone out there offer a Fantasy Soccer 180 or maybe 360?  Seriously, I need some help…

We are fortunate at Old Hat Creative.  We get to work on a lot of really interesting projects and sometimes we get to find out about things before anyone else, which is always interesting.  A lot of the work we do revolves around campaigns that different organizations are in the process of executing and we help with that execution.  

Sometimes it is a campaign to raise money for student-athletes.  Other times, it is a campaign to raise awareness about one of their student-athletes.  However, in the current landscape of college athletics, a lot of the campaigns are about new facilities.  Stadiums, locker rooms, administration buildings, food centers, student athlete lounges, indoor facilities, and any other thing that a college campus or athletic department might need.  This type of project is a lot of fun.  Few things get fans as excited as a fly through video of a new stadium. 

ESPN has a set of commercials that have the tag line, “Never graduate.”  The essence of the commercial is that you never leave behind those old rivalries you had from college and that comes into play when doing a campaign for any university.  The fans want to know that their stadium is going to be the best.  The fans want to know their facilities are the best, so new recruits will want to attend their school.  The fans even want to know the website promoting this new project, is the best of its kind.  In their eyes, it should not even be a question, they are better, IN EVERY WAY!  Being a fan is when you get to ignore logic (for the most part) and that is a large part of the fun.  

At Old Hat, we pay attention to both sides, logic and fan logic, because we want you to have the best of both worlds.  We want all of your fans to be amazed at the plans for the new stadium.  We want all of your fans to go into work the next week bragging about the video promoting the new stadium.  We want all of your fans to bookmark the website promoting that stadium and go to it EVERY DAY!  And most of all, we want to make your job easier by walking through the process with you and making sure every aspect of the campaign gives your fans braggin rights.  

The title of my blog today is “Campaigns and Classmates”.  If you made it this far, you can understand the “Campaigns” aspect of the blog, but may be wondering what this has to do with classmates?  Old Hat is about to start on another campaign project with a new client and we are excited!  On top of that, we will be traveling to campus to work with the staff on this campaign and I will get the chance to catch up with some classmates from grad school.  New client, check.  New campaign, check. New stadium, check.   Old friends, even better!

 

 

Another year and another successful NACMA in the books for us. We had a great time catching up with current clients and connecting with potential new clients. Overall, the trip was a blast and here are the top nine things we learned:

 

1. Stuckey's is an American Tradition - Anyone ever heard of Stuckey's? It's a chain of gas stations that I thought had gone the way of the dodo bird. There used to be multiple Stuckey's locations dotting I-35 in Oklahoma but I haven't seen one in years. As luck would have it, there's one right outside Pensacola, FL and we stopped there TWICE on this trip. Stuckey's is a great place to stop if you want really cheaply made chachkis, ugly t-shirts, alligator claw back-scratchers, etc. We decided to pick up surprises for all the staff that couldn't make the trip with us. See below.

 

2. The back seat of a Suburban is not meant for adults - Six adults in one suburban in a 45 hour (total) road trip is tough. Josie and Hannah are the smallest so we forced them into the third seat for a good portion of the trip. I gave them a hard time for complaining about it but the fact of the matter is, that seat wasn't meant for adults. Holli and I rode back there for a while on the way down there and then started the trip back with a solid 6 hours back there. It was not enjoyable. Here's a photo of me and Holli asleep in the back while everyone else is enjoying their spacious seating.

 

3. There's Only One Place Left in the World That Still Allows Smoking Indoors... And We Had Our Party There - For all of our clients that are chain-smokers, I'm sure you were delighted to see that the bar we chose for our party allowed smoking. For all of you that DON'T want lung cancer, I'm sure the cloud of smoke was a bit of a shock when you arrive. On the upside, the bar's vending machine DID offer condoms. So we had that going for us... which was nice.

 

4. Make Sure to Bring $1.25 to Pensacola Beach - Pensacola Beach is a pretty nice beach. Crowded... but the sand is white and the water is clear. But if you have any desire to walk out on the pier, you better have some cash with you. Pensacola must be very proud of their pier as they charge $1.25 to walk on it. It's like a toll road for your feet. We walked over to it but hadn't brought any methods of payment with us so we opted out of the walk on the pier. Oh well.

 

5. The Lighting is Better in the Suburban than in My Shower - So apparently sunlight through the back windows of a Suburband does a better job of showing missed spots on shaven legs than the lighting in my shower at home. Holli noticed a few spots on the drive out there that she had missed so she hollered at whoever was in the front seat to fetch her the razor she keeps in the glove compartment for this very reason. I'm thinking about installing a shower in the Suburban so she can kill two birds with one stone from here on out.

 

6. 500 Square Feet is a LOT of Awesomeness - The past few years, we've had a 20 x 20 foot booth space in the tradeshow. This year, we decided to go with a 10 x 40 foot space to mix it up a little. It was a little experiment. Well, due to a longer story than you care to hear, we expanded that to 10 x 50 feet. It was nice to have all that space but I think we'll go back down to 10 x 40 next year. 

 

7. Robert and I have Similar Tastes in Swimwear - I've known Robert a long time... since we were juniors in college, to be exact. And we've worked together for many years. So I know him pretty well. But I have to admit that I was surprised when we got ready to leave for the beach and discovered that our swimsuits were nearly identical. 

 

8. Just Like the Seminoles, My Diet Dr Pepper Record will Forever be Unconquered - FSU was the latest in my trek to have the record for the most Division 1 college campuses upon which a person has been photographed drinking a Diet Dr Pepper. This was number 26 for me.

 

9. People Would Rather See My Wife Hula Hoop than See Me Do ANYTHING - It all started as a joke. Last year we had a hula hoop at the booth because we wrapped a sign around it. Holli hula hooped with it, I video'd it, uploaded it to facebook and she became a hula hooping sensation. So I decided it would be funny to make this year's t-shirt giveaway an Old Hat University Hula Hooping Team t-shirt and to promote it, I'd have her hula hoop at landmarks all the way to Orlando AND at the booth. Well what I discovered is that videos of her hula hooping are far more popular than anything I've ever done on camera. So far, her videos have been viewed 3,201 times. The most popular was the one of her hula hooping with Nicole Imbrogno. You can view that on the Old Hat facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/oldhat

 

That's all! See you next year!

 

Analytics are a big part of my job.  To be more specific, Google Analytics are a big part of my job.  We install this tool on almost all of our sites.  We do analytic reports for our clients and I am constantly monitoring the analytics for our sites.  

Users web habits interest me.  Through analytics, you can trace a users path as they navigate your site and find out what pieces of content are the most valuable to the user.  If they are a frequent visitor of your site, they typically have an exact path of getting to your site and then to the content they want to see.  Studying these habits or trends is the best way to understand who your users are and what they want.  

Google has an add on for Chrome that allows you to see the stats while still surfing the web.  Any time I go to OldHatCreative.com, I can see what people are doing on the site right then and there.   

If you are going to NACMA next week and end up on our website, I will probably be studying you.  Seeing what content you like and what content you ignore.  It will help when we redesign the site and it will help make navigating our site, easier for you. 

I realized this morning that NACMA is less than three weeks away...and started to get a tiny bit stressed.

We still have lots to do! NACMA is a team effort around here, and nearly everyone in the office is contributing in some way. There's been hotel reservations, party invitations...trailer rentals and graphics environmental. A photo shoot and ordering loot. Booth construction and office obstruction. And I don't have enough brain power to think of more rhyming phrases. Instead, I'll turn my attention to checking more off our list. 

Old Hat Clients - make sure to watch your mail and email for more information soon!

 

Every failure is a lesson.  Honestly, the blog could stop here.  I know better than to start a blog or a presentation with the final point, but it is how I am going to roll today.  If you want to stop reading, just click here. 

Thanks for staying with me to this point, I will do my best to make it worth your time.  Failure.  It sucks, but we all go through it.  I am a firm believer that you should constantly be learning and I have said as much in quite a few blogs.  Every interaction and every experience is an opportunity to learn.  I wish I could say that I always keep that in my mind, but I am human and prone to forget.  However, when it comes to failure, I make a point to think back of the situation to see what lessons could be learned.  

Recently, we failed on a bid for a project.  It happens.  We get to do a lot of amazing work, but we also do not always have the winning bid.  It is a part of the business and always will be, but what we learn from those failures goes a long way toward us not failing the next time we place a bid. Based on what you have read so far, it is fair to be wondering what the lesson from this failure was and that is the reason I asked you to keep reading.  Unfortunately, there has not been a clear lesson from this failure.  We obviously failed because we are not doing the project, but the reasoning behind that is something that was entirely out of our control and I HATE IT.  I want to learn and improve so I can blog about the amazing project we are working on, not my failure.  I want to be better the next time we put out a bid. 

As an important person in my life told me, maybe that is the lesson.  You cannot control every aspect and you cannot always fix what went wrong.  This is not a new lesson, but it is a lesson nonetheless.  

Meow, if we wanted to talk about lessons I have learned recently from failures, we could discuss my garden or in all honesty, my pile of dirt, but that is a blog for another day. 

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