When you’re selling tickets, one of the main groups you need to appeal to is the millennial generation: the 18-34(ish) year old group of current students, recent grads, and local sports fanatics.

And guess what?

They’re broke.

Not just college-student-eating-ramen broke or first-job-small-salary broke, but seriously broke.

In 2016, there were more households in poverty headed by a Millennial than by a member of an older generation. Massive student loan is partially to blame: borrowers under the age of 39 are on the hook for 2/3 of the nation’s $1 trillion in student loan debt. Older generations often talk smack about lack of millennial responsibility and how they’re waiting longer to get married, buy a home, etc. but part of the reason this generation is lagging behind is because they simply can’t afford those “grown up” expenses.

Even though this group doesn’t have much money today and probably only makes up 25%-30% of your current revenue base, you shouldn’t write them off. Millennials are the biggest generation this country has ever spawned and they aren’t going to be broke forever. Just about the time Baby Boomers are dying off, Millennials will be hitting more solid financial ground and will represent the majority of your target audience.

So how do you get this strapped-for-cash group to spend money on tickets today?

Focus on the experience.

According to an Eventbrite report, Millennials are more likely to spend money on attending events than on material goods. They’re all about having experiences and creating memories. More than ¾ of Millennials credit an event or live experience with creating their best memories, and they’re eager to make more. When they come to a game, they’re there for more than just the game itself – they view it as an opportunity to hang out with friends or family and feel like they’re part of the action. They’re also driven by FOMO, so if you make your game the place to be they’ll want to be the one showing up and sharing it on social media.

Make it affordable.

Millennials love discounts and getting a good deal. What are you doing to put tickets within reach for this group? Think beyond simply offering discounted tickets for students and get creative. Have you tried a buy-one-get-one promotion to encourage greater attendance? Extended payment options for ticket packages? Geo-targeted digital ads that include a special offer in the days leading up to the game? According to a NACDA report, just over half of Millennials say they’d share their location in return for a relevant coupon or promotional deal, especially if it means better access at events. What about special discounts on game day? TodayTix (think Uber for ticket sales) did some research, and they found that men are 30% more likely than women to take advantage of last-minute sales. That’s an another insight worth keeping in mind as you design day-of-game discount promotions targeted at this group.

Even though the bad news is that Millennials don’t have much money to spend on tickets, the good news is that they’re more likely to spend their limited dough on experiences and events. Your challenge is to make your games both affordable and engaging. While this might not be your core fan base today, the more of a relationship you can form with Millennials, the more likely they’ll be to continue to support your program in the future when they’ve got some money to burn.

YouTube is the social media channel for all things video, from self-promotion to how-to lessons to crazy cat antics. It’s the place where brands go to connect with a variety of audiences, where consumers go for information and entertainment, and where social influencers can make a living.

In August, Adweek published an article about what’s hot on YouTube now based on research that Zefr conducted on Gen Z and their YouTube habits. It’s no surprise that right now, back-to-school is top of mind for this generation, as many will be headed to college this fall. Here are the four main types of back-to-school videos they are watching.

1. DIY - 341 million views - Buzzfeed has turned this category upside down by inspiring brands to post their tips and tricks, and clearly it’s resonating. If members of Gen Z want to know how to do something, this is their first stop.

2. Essentials - 286 million views - Essentials feature what’s new in school supplies, clothing, tech and dorm reviews. Gen Z loves to research, so don’t expect them to buy a name brand product if it has received negative reviews. Word of mouth is king, and YouTube is one of Gen Z’s most trusted resources.

3. Commentary - 198 million views - When members of Gen Z need to find the answer to anything, they go to YouTube. It’s also where they like to share their opinions. In this category, you will find vlogs, skits, plus college comparisons and reviews.

4. Regimens - 132 million views - This is a pretty broad category that includes meal prep, hairstyle tutorials and getting ready routines. Gen Z is looking for ways to make their days more efficient.

If you’re marketing to Gen Z, here are three ways you can connect with this audience through YouTube.

1. Post back-to-school related content.  Think about what information Gen Z fans might find relevant or useful right now.  Topics like how to become a member of the student section, where to find game schedules and promotions, and how to easily attend games and events. If you want to be top of mind, you need to find ways to make your brand more relevant in their eyes. Become a friend, not just another business.

2. Place digital ads in back-to-school videos. The great thing about digital marketing is you can tailor your content to be presented in certain types of videos. If you are targeting this younger demographic, this is where they are. The numbers don’t lie: with a 100% YOY (year over year) increase in back-to-school video views on YouTube, this trend is not going away anytime soon. It’s the right place and the right time for digital advertising if you want to communicate with this audience.

3. Bring on an influencer. Research shows that Generation Z looks at social media influencers as bigger stars than TV and movie personalities. This is great for brands because it gives you an affordable and natural way to engage this audience. Social media influencers create their own content, so that’s less work your staff has to do on social media. Do some research, find an influencer who’s the right fit for your brand, and let them help you engage Gen Z.

Everyone seems to be talking about Snapchat as the hot new social media platform. Actually, it really isn’t that new. Snapchat first made an appearance in 2011. Let’s put some perspective around that. Remember the hit song “Friday” by Rebecca Black? What about the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton? The final installment of Harry Potter was released. Yeah, Snapchat has been out that long! 

The platform has made some major strides the past year that have contributed to its growth. Here’s what you need to know about how Snapchat is growing up. 

1. Millennials and Gen Z have gotten on board.

If you want to connect with younger generations, Snapchat is where it’s at. The platform is basically a glorified emoji creator, so it really resonates with consumers who have embraced the emoji trend.

 

Millennials and Gen Z use the platform to communicate with their friends in fun creative photos. If your brand wants to reach users via Snapchat, keep that in mind. Snapchatters want to be entertained, not sold to. If you decide to add Snapchat to your marketing mix, do it with content that leans into the fun, quirky aspect of the platform.

2. It’s not permanent.

Snapchat deletes all content after a 24 hour period. With social media being so prominent, a lot of users try to keep their channels clean and concise. The fact that Snapchat does the work for them has contributed to the platform’s popularity.

As a marketer this can be confusing. How do you maintain a channel that doesn’t have content on it? They key with Snapchat is maintaining a consistent presence and voice. NASCAR is a brand that currently does this well. They have a staff member who controls their Snapchat and is constantly adding new content.

3. Geofilters.

Snapchat users love a fun, interactive geofilter because it’s a way of being in the moment in a particular location.

As a marketer you can log into the backend of Snapchat and draw a geofence around the area you want the geofilter to be placed. This gives marketers full control of the area in which the filter will be seen. You have to pay for geofilters, but they’re relatively inexpensive. Snapchat has adjusted its pricing to offer an annual plan that allows you to maintain a geofenced area and swap out your creative filter as often as you like.

4. Snapmap

If you have been hiding under a rock the past couple of weeks you might have missed Snapchats biggest update, the Snap Map. This new feature allows users to share their location on an interactive map.

Think of it as a way for users to find their friends and join in on their activities. Well, that is how Snapchat is selling it. With the initial launch there has been a lot of fear in “strangers” finding users. This is is not 100% verified because the map will only show your friends. So a random user will not be able to find you.

As a marketer this new feature doesn’t lend itself to you. There is no advertising you can do in this and we don’t see that happening anytime soon. What you as a marketer can do with this feature is see what hot events are happening around you. If you want to do some event marketing and be where a lot of users are, check the map and see the live hot spots. If a sporting event is happening you will see a red spot on the map, and if you click on that red spot you will start seeing snapstories. Don’t worry it doesn’t share Snapchat usernames, just the content you are sharing. This is your time to send staff to these locations to do some guerilla marketing.

Overall the platform is still focusing on the user and not marketers. That could change in the near future because Snapchat is now open to investors and with dropping numbers the platform will need to start pulling in more dollars. For now, enjoy the platform and don’t stress about being perfect with it.

The need for creative content has never been greater in the world of athletics than it is right now. From traditional media that have been around for years like posters, ads, ticket stock and billboards, to the newer forms of creative output like social media graphics, recruiting graphics and the beloved animated gifs, the new truth is this: you need designers. The problem is, many athletic organizations don't have experience hiring for that position. And they don't have creative directors that leading a team of designers that they can lean on to head that up. No, many times it falls to sports information directors, sport operations managers or marketing directors to hire for a skill set they do not possess. They know what to look for when hiring a coach. They know what to look for when hiring marketing assistants or sports info assistants. But hiring designers is tough. Hiring designers with an eye for sports is nearly impossible.

I've spent nearly two decades in athletics creative and for the past 14 years, I've hired or been a part of the hiring of a lot of designers, editors, animators and other creatives to help Old Hat develop top notch creative for the more than 150 sports organizations we've worked with. We have a process and we know what to look for (and not look for) when identifying talented individuals that know how to produce for sports. So here are some tips and tricks that can help you in your search for someone that can churn out all those social media graphics on signing day.

1. There's no "Eye" in Team - I've seen hundreds of portfolios and interviewed countless designers. Some of them are extremely talented. But an eye for design doesn't always equate to an eye for sports design. Sports design is a different animal and to succeed in this industry, you have to look at design a little bit differently. Most of the design world operates on a "less is more" philosophy. But I've always said that sports subscribes to the "more is more" design philosophy. So one thing to make sure you look for is someone that knows sports and has an eye for sports design. Some will have examples of that in their portfolio but for those that do not...

2. This is a test - No matter how talented they appear to be or how many examples of amazing sports projects they have in their portfolio, always send them a test project. Primarily, this shows me what they can do with a project from scratch. For all I know, their portfolio is full of ads they resized from another designer's template. So send them your logo, a few photos of your athletes, tell them what to create and see what they send back. You'd be surprised by how many designers that have amazing portfolios send back test projects that fall completely flat. If you get something amazing back from them, you're on the right track. But there are other things to keep in mind, like...

3. It's about more than talent  - Talent can get you far but the sports industry is a lot more fast-paced than most. Sometimes we have to produce things with quick turnaround. Actually, that happens more often than not. And great designers have a reputation for wanting to take their time to get it just right. You also want to know how well they follow instructions, how well the can stay on brand and what their attitude is like when you give them feedback. So as a part of your test project, make sure to give them basic instruction on the design, but specific instructions on content. You want to see how the operate with creative freedom but you also want to make sure they can follow instructions. Give them a specific deadline and if they don't meet it, mark them off the list (bonus points for sending it early). Then, if you really want to get a feel for 1) how they are to work with and 2) how much they want the job, send revisions.  At this point, you'll know if they have an eye for sports design, you'll know how good they are and you'll know how fast they are. What else do you need to know about them?

4. For love of the game - They might be good, they might be fast and they might have great attention to detail. But do they love sports? You're going to get a lot more out of them if they do. You want someone that gets excited by what they're doing for you. I always ask, "If you could get a job designing for any industry, what would it be?" or "What's the most fun design project you've ever worked on?" If their answer is that they want to work in the fashion industry or that their favorite design project was their cousin's wedding invitation, they're not for you. That's not to say that you can't get good work out of someone that doesn't love sports but if they're not passionate about what they do, the long hours, tight deadlines and coaches that change their minds 12 times are going to wear on them and their time with your organization will be short-lived. If you can find someone that has an eye for sports design, nails the test project, follows instructions, meets deadlines and absolutely loves sports... HIRE THEM. However, if you want to take it one step further, there's one more thing you can look for that will get you the holy grail of sports designers...

5. What color do they bleed? - This one is easy because you don't have to even ask them the question to find out the answer. Look at their resumé and see where they went to school. If they attended the some other institution, that's fine. They're probably worth hiring anyway. But if they list your school as their alma mater, that's one more mark in the W column for them because I can assure you that they'll pour themselves into their jobs even more if they have a pride in the organization they're working for. This doesn't work, of course, if you're hiring for a professional organization. But you can solve this simply by asking who their favorite teams are. Or simply look at where they're from. If you're hiring for the Pittsburgh Steelers and your candidate grew up in Dallas, they might not have the passion for the Steelers you want them to have. But if you find someone that meets all the criteria for a great sports designer and they went to your school or grew up in your town, you have a winner.

 

We Hire, Train and Consult

One thing to keep in mind is that if you still don't feel comfortable facilitating the hiring process, or if you'd like to have someone to train that individual prior to them taking their seat within your organization, is that Old Hat offers creative staffing services as a part of our mission to help sports organizations drive attendance to their events. We believe strongly that great creative can help fill the stands and we want to help organizations achieve that goal in every way possible. Therefore, we developed a program where we serve as your proxy to hire your creative staff. Here's how it works:

1. We Identify Candidates - We tap our network of sports designers we know from coast-to-coast to see who may be interested in a job in your organization. We also post the job on multiple creative job boards to get as large a pool as possible that are interested in working for you.

2. We Test Them - Over many years we have developed a number of test projects depending upon the job description and we put the candidates through the rigors to figure out who best meets the requirements. 

3. We Interview - We narrow the pool based on talent and we interview them to see who would be the best fit.

4. We Recommend - Based on our tests and interviews, we submit a list of qualified candidates to you. You are the final decision maker on who gets the job.

5. We Train - As a part of our program, we bring your new staff member to Old Hat HQ to spend 2-4 weeks training under our design staff. We put them through a crash course in file management, project management, how to field requests, design tips and tricks, photography, motion graphics and more to make sure they are ready to roll when they begin working for you.

6. We Consult - The hardest part about being a designer in a sports organization is that often times, you're on an island. You're not surrounded by other creatives that you can learn from, bounce ideas off of, etc. It's a lonely gig. Old Hat solves this by being on retainer to answer questions, provide input and allow your designer to submit their ideas for feedback. 

If you're interested in finding out more about our creative hiring services, download this PDF, email me at zac@oldhatcreative.com or call (405) 310-2133 x118.

While I didn’t attend NACMA in Orlando, I did keep up with what was going on via the internet. I was able to watch some sessions via Facebook Live and Twitter Live….so thanks, technology! I also always love seeing things from Collateral Corner…that's one thing I always wish I could see in person.

The Importance of Style Guides

One session I found interesting was about creating a style guide. Style guides are extremely important. They are like the rulebook when it comes to designing. They tell the creative’s what they can and can’t do to a logo, what colors to use, and if there are certain fonts you have to use. 

If you don’t have one, don’t worry! We can help! We can help define existing brand standards, help make new ones, and even create a custom font for your department to use. 

People Love Dogs!

People love dogs! Hannah even got a photo!

I thought the topic of Maximizing your Mascot was interesting. It was fun to see a ton of people take pictures with a bulldog. I have a feeling we’ll see some interesting mascot promos coming our way this school year. 

Quotable Sessions

I saw some good quotes mentioned from sessions as well. Like..

 

"Geo-filters are the billboard of marketing in 2017."- @danielfheck #NACMA17

 

"Sometimes the stupid ideas work the best to get the group of people that wouldn't normally come to campus to a game."#NACMA17

 

Read y'all!

Lots of people picked up Zac’s book. Good job, boss man! 

Thanks for using the #NACMA17, for all of us that can’t attend in person- we still get to learn from a distance! 

We understand that environmental branding is imperative in appealing to fans and is a game-changer in the recruiting process. We also know that big projects often mean big investments and sometimes big headaches! We wanted to find out more about the challenges you face when it comes to projects involving large-scale graphics, so we recently conducted a survey through our new company, Powerhouse.

Here are a few things we learned through the Powerhouse Environmental Graphics Survey:

1. You believe environmental graphics projects are effective.

Only 14% of survey respondents said that the environmental graphics projects they’ve done in the past 24 months weren’t effective at all. We’re not surprised, because large-scale graphics projects are a great way to influence the energy of student-athletes, administrators, donors and fans. The big question to ask yourself is: are your environmental graphics projects as effective as you’d like them to be?

2. You prefer local partners, but don’t always use them.

80% percent of survey participants agreed that using local printers and installers is an important consideration when creating environmental graphics. Pricing and creative design capability were the top two reasons cited for choosing to work with a supplier outside the local area.

3. Football and basketball rule the roost.

Not surprisingly, basketball and football facilities were identified as the main focus for environmental graphics investments. The environmental graphics used in these facilities were also seen as the most effective by survey participants.

For more survey data and insights, see the full survey report here

Are ya’ll ready for NACMA? We here at Old Hat are getting ready to WOW you at booth 306. We are excited to talk to you about all the things we have going on. Make sure you check out Powerhouse and Sports Branding as well as our site for our recent projects! 

Be on the look out for our Old Hat Fandy Land mailer as well. If you didn’t get one, you can download one here.  We are ready to take you on a journey the week before NACMA. Get ready to fill your stands by completing challenges throughout the week. We’ll keep track and give out a pair of Snapchat Spectacles at the booth to the participant with the most fans. 

 

Here’s what you need to do to earn fans throughout the week 

• Follow @OldHatCreative on Twitter.

• Keep up with the challenges on Twitter, along with your Old Hat Fandy Land Map. There are multiple challenges every day, complete all the challenges to earn all the fans 

• Each day there will be one challenge that we will announce only on Twitter. 

• Participate with the challenges and use the hashtag #OHNACMA17 to earn fans. Some challenges are as easy as responding to a tweet, some are pictures and some include sending us a video. 

• We’ll post a leaderboard at the end of each day, and we’ll draw from the top 10 people with the most fans for the pair of Snapchat Spectacles. 

 

We can’t wait to play with you next week! 

We're not exaggerating when we say Ronald Semro III is one of the nicest guys in the universe. We first met Ronnie a few years ago as a part of Brad Wurthman's crew at Cincinnati. Since then, we've had the pleasure of working with Ronnie at the Air Force Academy and now SMU for the last year or so. As true friend of Old Hat, collaborating with Ronnie and his team is ALSO one of our favorite things (see #6). And that's not only because of his natural talent as a perfect test model on our photo/video shoots. 

Even better, now that Deb and Hannah know Ronnie is a FRIENDS fanatic too, you know the FRIENDS references will skyrocket. 

1. NAME: Ronnie Semro

2. OCCUPATION/TITLE: Director of Marketing at SMU

3. HOMETOWN: Aurora, IN

4. PREGAME RITUAL: As we all know, gamedays are hectic. I try to take a minute to reflect on a number of things, such as: all the work our team put into the event, how I got to where I am, and remind myself to have a bit of fun on gameday. Then I immediately go back to double checking everything.

5. FAVORITE THING TO SNACK: Cheez-Its

6. FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOUR JOB: Three aspects stand out. The first is being influential in creating memorable moments that our supporters cherish. The second is guiding those that look up to me and how I can help them attain their goals. Last but not least, working with our friends at Old Hat!

7. LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOUR JOB: The speed bumps we encounter that prohibit either progress or innovation.

8. HIDDEN TALENTS/HOBBIES: My hidden talents are so hidden, I’m unaware of them. As for hobbies, I’m a huge soccer follower and I also like to get out on the golf course.

9. ADVICE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF: Speak up. Don’t allow outside factors to alter your thought process. Convey your ideas with confidence. If you aren’t willing to believe in them, how will others.

10. YOUR GO-TO KARAOKE SONG: You’re more likely to see me performing in the car next to you than seeing me on stage. Regardless of venue, the favorites would be: Friends in Low Places by Garth Brooks, Small Town by John Mellencamp, Ain’t No Mountain High Enough by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell.

11. FAVORITE MOVIE: Toy Story

12. FAVORITE TV SHOW: Friends

13. IF YOU WERE IN A BOY BAND WHAT WOULD IT BE CALLED: I have spent far too much time trying to think of a witty answer for this question. The result is: N’Treble – as that’s exactly what our listeners will be thinking.

14. FAVORITE PLACE TO EAT: Penn Station

15. WHAT DO YOU ORDER THERE: Pizza Sub & Chocolate Chunk Cookie

16. FAVORITE DISNEY PRINCESS: Ariel – I grew up with two older sisters, meaning that I was always outnumbered when we voted on what movie to watch.

17. WHAT’S YOUR SPIRIT ANIMAL: Bear – Thanks to a quiz and some Google searches I’ve been able find out that the Bear stands for strength, confidence, solitude, and standing against adversity.

18. WHAT’S THE STUPIDEST THING YOU’VE EVER DONE: I was rushing to get into my apartment on the third floor and my roommate who was on ground level had the keys. We both thought that it would be fine to toss the keys up so I could get in. We. Were. Wrong. Unfortunately, he had a cannon for an arm and the keys ended up on the roof. We had to build a contraption out of broom handles, duct tape, and a rake to retrieve our keys. It certainly wasn’t our finest hour.

19. WHAT’S THE LAST SHOW THAT YOU BINGE-WATCHED: I’m currently finishing up Season 3 of Bosch. Please don’t reach out with any spoilers!

20. IF YOU WEREN’T DOING THIS JOB WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING: I would like to think that I would be working for a club in Major League Soccer.

When Pitt told us they were planning a Star Wars Day at one of their home football games this fall, and asked if we could help with some themed graphics, we knew we were in for a fun project. After collaborating on the design direction, Pitt went ahead and took some awesome themed photos for our design team to work with. Since we've been working on our GIF game (check some of them out HERE), we wanted to use these talents to make some of the images with light sabers even cooler by incorporating a glowing effect into some of the graphics.

Pitt was strategic in announcing this fall's Star Wars Day on May 4 (#MayThe4thBeWithYou) and released the graphics on different social media channels throughout the day. The result was a lot of excitement from their fans and Star Wars lovers alike!

 

We have had the absolute pleasure of working with some really talented Notre Dame Athletics Marketers over the years and Jasmine Cannady is no exception. This former Sacramento State Hornet student-athlete brings a different perspective to projects that not a lot of marketers possess. It's a definite positive. Plus, we're pretty confident she would own Robert on the court and that's just enjoyable to think about.

We're adding Jasmine to our weekly Grey's Anatomy Friday chat. Any suggestions on an appropriate hashtag are welcome (#FridayMcChats). Learn a little bit more about Jasmine Cannady in today's 20 Questions!

 

1. NAME: Jasmine Cannady

2. OCCUPATION/TITLE: Assistant Marketing Director, University of Notre Dame Athletics

3. HOMETOWN: Sacramento, CA

4. PREGAME RITUAL: NA

5. FAVORITE THING TO SNACK: Popcorn

6. FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOUR JOB: The people I get to work with and getting to watch my marketing plan come to life right before my eyes. If you are successful, you know. If you are unsuccessful, you know. Either way, you get measurable results that you can act on immediately.

7. LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOUR JOB: The fans. Ha! JK. I don’t have a least favorite. I truly love everything about my job.

8. HIDDEN TALENTS/HOBBIES: I love to read crime/murder mysteries

9. ADVICE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF: Don’t underestimate your qualifications and abilities

10. YOUR GO-TO KARAOKE SONG: Drops of Jupiter by Train or Don’t Stop Believing by Journey

11. FAVORITE MOVIE: Big Fish by Tim Burton

12. FAVORITE TV SHOW: Grey’s Anatomy

13. IF YOU WERE IN A BOY BAND WHAT WOULD IT BE CALLED: IDK (no seriously, “IDK” would be the name of the band)

14. FAVORITE PLACE TO EAT: It’s a place in Sacramento, CA called Arigatos. It’s a sushi restaurant.

15. WHAT DO YOU ORDER THERE: Vegetable Tempura, the Dragon and Lion King Rolls and Miso Soup

16. FAVORITE DISNEY PRINCESS: Ariel

17. WHAT’S YOUR SPIRIT ANIMAL: Fox

18. WHAT’S THE STUPIDEST THING YOU’VE EVER DONE: When I was in high school I decided to ditch school one day and called myself smart by calling into the front office and pretending to be my mom to excuse my absence. The lady asked for a call back number and instead of leaving my cell phone number, I left my mother’s number. Needless to say, my called me about 20 minutes later asking why I wasn’t in school. Ha!

19. WHAT’S THE LAST SHOW THAT YOU BINGE-WATCHED: Mad Men, it’s an amazing show! You should watch it!

20. IF YOU WEREN’T DOING THIS JOB WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING: I would have either joined the Peace Corps or tried to join the California Highway Patrol as an Officer

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