It always surprises me to see a development office pigeonholed to the back pages of an athletics website.  It happens all the time.  Development is an after thought on the website.  It sends such a confusing message.  Our development raises money for facilities and to serve our student athletes. It is incredibly important to what we do as an athletic department, yet we do not care enough to make them a focal point on our largest touch point with our fan base.  

I work in web and have for most of my career.  It will not come as a surprise for anyone to hear me talk about how important a good website is or your website will be the most frequent interaction you have with your fan base or donor group.  More people interested in your group, that are looking for information, and would be willing to donate, will interact with your brand online than anywhere else.  You may have 100,000 people at your football game, but they are not looking to learn about your brand or see what they can do to help on Saturdays, they are looking for a good time and a win. When they are online, they are evaluating what you do, learning about what they can do, and are inching their way to helping your brand.  This is where you need to be interacting with them, or at a minimum, have a presence.  

There is an argument to be made that separate development websites will not get the traffic of the main athletic site and that is true.  The games and athletes are still the most important things to fans, this is not going to change.  BUT, having worked on campus and handled websites for many major athletic brands, I know the developer or webmaster or intern (or whatever you want to call the person who holds the keys to the site) feels the same way and will focus on making sure those areas of the site rise to the top.   This is what I mean about being pigeonholed.  Development offices are shunted to two or three sub nav pages that are never updated and have little interaction with the visitors on the site.  More importantly, there is no engagement of those evaluators surfing the web.  You need a website you can update, edit, and change to keep your office in the forefront of their minds.  

We recently launched ACU Wildcat Club’s new website.  It is a site dedicated to helping the development team push their message.  They control the content through an easy to use content management system.  They make the decisions on what the website will focus on and what promotions they want to push.  The development office is in control.  On top of all of that, they are still part of the main athletics site.  They are in the navigation; it links off to their standalone site.  They are a part of the promotions; several ads on the home page link to specific sections of the development website. They can control their presence online while still being able to piggyback on the traffic the main athletics site gets.

Development offices are integral to the modern colliegiate athletics department. They raise funds for scholarships, student athletes, and new facilities.  With a stand alone website and a good CMS your development office can control the message it is sending and engage your fanbase, without being at the whims of a website responsible for promoting 17 sports, teams, and coaches.  

 

For the first time in our 12 years of existence, Old Hat entered a few things in the 2016 Oklahoma Addy Awards. I was under a tight deadline to get things entered and ended up failing our print division by not entering anything that required a hard copy (i.e. anything print related). I only entered 5 videos and our SMU environmental graphics project and they all won awards.

So on Saturday night, we got all dolled up and went downtown to the awards banquet. Here's a pic of me and my wife looking all perty before the show:

 

And now, without further ado... The projects for which we won Addy Awards:

 

Bronze

American Athletic Conference Commercial

Silver

SMU Environmental Project

 

Kennesaw State Football Intro Video

Wisconsin Historical Football Video

 

University of Illinois Football Intro Video

GOLD

University of Utah Men's Basketball Floor Projection Video

That's all. Here's a pic of Holli and me AT the awards show (with Hannah, Whitney and Kelby photobombing us):

Old Hat Creative recently hosted a webinar, where we presented information about our recent "Raise Up Carolina" website launch. Read Kevin's blog for more detailed background on the project. 


One of the best features of this site is the inclusion of marketing automation. This is something we are now offering on new website projects. 

Don't know about marketing automation? I'll explain it to you, the way it was explained to me, like I was five. Please note: don't get me wrong, I asked it to be explained to me this way… probably because I hadn't had my coffee yet. And sometimes technology is hard, yo.

Marketing automation refers to software that executes your digital marketing communication for you. It helps you by performing tasks for you in an efficient way. It makes you more effective in your job. It's all about nurturing leads, not hard selling. It's figuring out who is interested in you (your teams, your games), why they are interested and what specifically they are interested in, and directs your communication specifically about those interests to the people who are interested. Marketing automation keeps the conversation with your fans going by getting more and more content to them at appropriate intervals, nudging them forward as they continue to show interest (open an email, click, etc.). It also stops sending emails to people that indicate they aren't intersested (without them even needing to opt out), so you don't have to worry about sending so many emails that people get pissed off. It's anything but a generic death-by-email approach.

Still with me? 

Let's talk about how marketing automation can help you in your job. Here are just a few ways:

1) It's going to simplify your life because you put the plan in place but it's doing the execution for you automatically.

2) It's like you just added an extra staff member to your marketing team. And who doesn't need that?

3) You won't waste as much of your time sending communication to people who probably aren't interested in what you are saying. 

4) You can engage your fans, keep them happy, and coming back for more!

You can utilize marketing automation to improve your ticket sales and assist with season ticket renewals, to promote specific sports, get donor leads, and much, much more. And what's best about it is that you have hard facts (data, y'all) that direct you in which messaging to execute and when. And you are directing this messages to people who actually care about what you're saying. 

Some of the awesome features of marketing automation include:

Website Visitor Tracking (by reverse IP address, but once you have an email address, you'll be able to track every interaction someone has with your website, forever). 

Lead Scoring (a really cool way to put an actual "score" on someone's engagement with your site. You can assign "points" based on a number of factors). 

Behavior Driven List Segmentation. Basically, you have the ability to "whittle down" a larger database so you don't waste your time sending messages to people that aren't interested. 

Automated email campaigns. 

 

If you want Marketing Automation included as a feature on an existing or a new website project, talk to us!  We can not only get you started in this process, we can manage all of it for you!

We had a full house for our Raise Up Carolina/Marketing Automation Webinar yesterday afternoon. If you were unable to attend due to a conflict, or if you were not able to log in because it was full, you're in luck! We recorded the complete presentation, including the question and answer session.

If you have any questions about our presentation, further details about the Raise Up Carolina project in general or about marketing automation, please contact us! We'd love to speak with you individually OR we can schedule a time to present the project and benefits of marketing automation to your team. 

Click here to contact us!

 

 

Be sure to join us tomorrow, February 11, at 3:00 central for our webinar! We'll discuss the Raise Up Carolina gameday and ticket sales website we created for North Carolina and present some of the results from this endeavor. We'll also talk in depth about marketing automation and how it can help you! 

To attend the webinar, use this link: https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/455887357

You can also dial in using your phone.

United States +1 (312) 757-3121

Access Code: 455-887-357 

If you have trouble logging on, call our office and we can help! 405-310-2133.

 

I was talking with one of our account executives about a site we recently launched.  We were reviewing the analytics and noticed there was a significant jump between now and the last time I pulled the numbers.  I had not noticed the jump initially, but when it was pointed out to me I did a little digging and was able to pin point the cause.  

I am a planner.  I make lists. I think about what can go wrong, what will go wrong, and how I am going to deal with it.  In just about all aspects of my life, this is how I approach things.  It is probably the personality trait that Zac loves and simultaneously hates about me, but it's how I can make sure I am doing what is needed to get the job done.  

Two seemingly random paragraphs that I hope to tie together before finishing this up.  That’s the point of this whole thing, I have a plan to make this all make sense AND that’s what you have to do. You have to have a plan on how to take the next step, regardless of what that step may be.  

Regardless of what you are working on, you need a plan.  Here is why… 

When it comes to an interactive project, we start early.  We take the time to get to know you as a client.  What are your goals in general? What is your goal for the website? How will you measure that goal?  We need to know what is on your list of to-do’s or what's important to you, because we want to help you manage that list of to-do’s.  The questions I mention above are the first steps. Outlining what needs to get done and what has to be done allows us to focus our efforts on that area.  

However, knowing goals is just the start.  We are partners with you and that means we will take over now that we know your goals.  The next step is to sit down and figure out what is important to the people who will visit the site.  What are the key things that will cause them to make a decision in your favor and how can we tailor the site to match those?  Where are the areas of the site that the analytics (and YOUR FANS) say are important?  Can they be improved, cleaned up, or even combined?  As we go through our discovery we analyze your current site and make sure the recommendations we make about that site, tie into the goals we already discussed.  We make sure the look of the site is one that fans will find appealing and we make sure that they will be able to find the information that we KNOW is important to them.  It is all part of the plan…

The programming side of any website involves a lot of planning, but once we get to this point in our process, we know the plan and are simply executing the things we know we need to do.  This is typically where I end up losing people because I will go on about coding and how that is done, but for this blog I am saving the nitty gritty for another day.  

Having studied your analytics, worked with you to learn about your fans, analyzed your content; the plan for launching the site usually comes a bit easier.  By this point, we know you, we know your fans, and we know how we're going to reach them.  Whether through emails, ads, press conferences, or even marketing automation, we will have a plan.  

With marketing automation, we will create a detailed plan that takes care of itself and that's what happened in the instance from my first paragraph.  We built out a detailed automation plan that was executing emails at key points in the client’s month.  The spike in traffic happened because of two emails we had set the system to send months ago, went out at a point when fans would be most engaged with the brand and IT WORKED!

I am a planner.  It's just the way I am.  It can get annoying but it helps.  What do you have on your plate?  Need a plan?  Need some help with that plan?  Let me know, I can help. 

Well, it's official. Today marks the date that the merger we've been talking about for the past few months finally takes effect. Truth be told, Old Hat Creative and Third Degree Advertising have been working together for many months now in preparation for combining into a single company. But today is the day that we no longer exist as separate entities. Old Hat and Third Degree are one.

What does that mean, exactly? Well, on one hand, not much. And on the other hand, it means a lot.

What is NOT changing?

Primarily, Old Hat will continue to be the company you know and love...

1. You'll still get birthday cards every year with a coupon for free Fightin' Gnomes gear from the Old Hat University Team Shop.

 

2. You'll continue to be the life of the party by being able to quote random facts that you found by viewing our email signatures. 

• When hippos are upset, their sweat turns red.

• Banging your head against the wall burns 150 calories per hour.

• Billy goats urinate on their own heads to smell more attractive to females (female goats, I assume).

 

3. You'll continue getting the most amazing creative to help you engage your fans, improve the gameday experience, sell tickets and increase fundraising.

 

4. Our dedication to ridiculously good customer service will never fade. We'll continue to always be available, always be responsive and never miss deadlines.

 

What IS changing?

Well, we're getting bigger...

1. Old Hat is currently headquartered in Norman, Oklahoma with remote employees in North Carolina and Utah. Starting today, we will have talented employees working from offices in Oklahoma City; Durham, NC; Greensboro, NC; Salt Lake City, UT; Charlottesville, VA and Frederick, MD.

This is me outside the OKC office with the downtown skyline in the background:

 

And, we're getting better...

2. Old Hat has a long history of producing amazingly awesome creative. This merger puts us in the position to make that creative even more awesome by adding research, media planning/buying, digital strategy and implementation, content creation, repositioning, media audits, copywriting, marketing automation and much more. We're taking our creative and making it smarter.

The UNC Ticket Sales site is a perfect example of taking our current offerings (web design and development, video production, on-site video shoots) and combining that with the expertise of our new partners (research, strategy and marketing automation).

 

So to summarize, nothing that you like is going away. We're just going from ridiculously-awesome to far-more-ridiculously-awesome. And just for fun, here's a photo tour of our OKC office.

 

This is a map with doorknobs showing all of the locations of Third Degree's clients from all over the United States. It's rad.

 

This is a cool yellow couch. The wall behind me says, "Elevate." 

 

This is a really big pencil we use write all of our really big ideas down with. It's bolted to the wall so no one will steal it.

 

This is the room where we keep a guy named Richard.

 

Just kidding. The men's room says, "Dick" and the ladies' room says, "Jane." How clever is that?

 

This is a cool red refrigerator where I get to keep my Diet Dr Pepper.

 

 

Each week this past month our client reps have been sharing some of their favorite projects they worked on in 2015. And this week, it's my turn! Since I became a client rep in July, I've been taking on some of our new clients, while assisting with some of our long-term clients. Scroll down to see some of my first and (also my favorite) projects as a client rep in 2015. 

University of Memphis

My first project was for the University of Memphis' Time to Shine website. This site was built to help fundraise for Memphis' football and men's basketball new facilities. Check out the video playing in the background! 

University of Michigan

Another fun project was the University of Michigan's football animations for the 2015 season. For these animations, our productions team incorporated a brick wall and iron gates to create a traditional feel. You can see a full list of the animations here 

 

 

Northwestern University 

We created a fun, new Derby animation for Northwestern Football, customizing it for their sponsor, Coca-Cola. Our productions team created helmet to completely cover the drivers face and uniforms that match different Coca-Cola products.  

DePaul University

In November, the City of Chicago broke ground on a new convention center, the McCormick Collection which will house the McCormick Place Event Center. Starting in the fall of 2017, DePaul Men's and Women's Basketball teams will begin playing here. Old Hat was given several opportunities to assist with this project including three websites and a video to get Blue Demon fans excited about the move to this downtown Chicago facility, 

HomeCourtChicago.com - This website highlights everything related to the new convention center including hotels and the entertainment venue. 

Sales Presentation - This website is actually a touch screen website that is displayed on monitors throughout DePaul Preview Center. Sales Associates at the Preview Center walk Blue Demon fans through the project and show premium seating opportunities. 

Scheduling Website - This site is used to help Blue Demon fans schedule appointments easily with a DePaul Sales Associate to look around the Preview Center. 

 


So it's 2016 which you've probably already heard, and you know what that means... it actually means a lot of things- like a presidential election year and the Summer Olympics in Rio and Leap Year and yes... Groundhog Day! Actually I think that occurs every year. Either way, none of these things bring me to the point of my blog.

The rollover into 2016 means I get to blog about my favorite projects from 2015 (hence the reason for the large 2015 graphic up top)! We like to do recaps and favorite projects lists around here, and sometimes we may even overdo it. But that's what we're all about (why do it when you can overdo it?).

With that, let's see how we did in 2015.

You may have seen in our latest newsletter how many new clients we were fortunate to work with this past year. Even I was surprised at all the new business from 2015. One of these new clients, the American Athletic Conference, just held their first-ever football championship. I'm proud to say Old Hat was able to work with the client on multiple projects to market the event and enhance the in-game experience for fans. It all comes down to One was the tagline for the championship, and that theme was used throughout the year in print, interactive and video work leading up to the big game. Here are a few of the pieces from the American Football Championship.

 

 

 

Another group of projects that turned out exceptional and unique are the Notre Dame template posters that have been used for their olympic sports. Notre Dame has been more conscious and deliberate about keeping their brand consistent (which I applaud), so the template posters this year came with a more stringent set of guidelines to ensure we were staying within the brand. Our designers did a great job not only staying within the guidelines, but the template poster could be seen as a **big word spoiler alert** microcosm of the style guide itself. 

 

I would eventually include every project as one of my favorites if I had more time, because our designers across all media (interactive, video and print) are truly experts at what they do. We're very fortunate to get to work with the clients that we have, and our clients are also very fortunate to get to have our designers put together incredible projects day in and day out. I'll leave you with a few more of my favorites from the year. Here's to a great 2016 for Old Hat and our clients!

 

 

 

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. 

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