My brief career in Marketing began as a part-time job in customer service, for a high profile sports team. This particular team was suffering from a lack of revenue, including a serious lack of attendance and overall lack of media enthusiasm.
I came upon this experience because of a family emergency to a key marketing person. I had applied and received the honor to temporarily assist her by attending meetings, (yes, this was before Skype etc) and generally being the go-between between this employee and the sports team.
What came into play here was my previous high communications job, as well as my extensive retail experience. Marketing-selling-a team has many of the same properties that selling electronics entails.
When I attended my first meeting, the first thing I noticed was the high amount of testosterone in the room. I was one of two women there. The second, was that this team was really not aware of what other, more successful teams were doing. And the most important detail that I noticed was that very few people dared to speak at the meetings.
With each meeting, I listened to the struggles of finding new sponsors and I tried not to roll my eyes when there was talk about bringing back the tired old promotions, that, too often, were ignored by most of the public, along with the team.
Finally, one day I spoke up. I had been in Tampa, Florida for a vacation. While we were there, we decided to check out a game there and were pleased to find that our hotel had a special shuttle for those who attended games. When the concierge found out we were headed for the game, they gave me info on special weekend hotel rates that included a ticket to the game, special tour of the game facility and other fun perks that were included. They grandfathered us in with this program and we were delighted! The concierge explained to us that as they had a lot of tourists who came into town asking about going to the game, they worked with the team to set up this fun program. I told the group of my experience, and as we had a lot of people from the out of state come out for a game, I thought this would be a great promotion for the team. I was happy to see a few eyes light up.
The President smiled and pointed to the promotions team and asked them work out a plan. After the meeting, several people congratulated me for noticing this idea and speaking up. One person even explained to me that most ideas are remakes of other ideas. The job of the marketing department is to know their own audience and to speak to them in a new and original way. What was also interesting was how long this process actually took. I was part of the special group where the promo team reported on their one on one meetings with a variety of hotels. When I imagined a phone call and an ad, I quickly learned that there was a lot of precise details that had to be worked out before a promotion was launched.
Once the program was organized and named, then came the real marketing. Various copy was written to appeal to different fans: women, families, students, travelers. Decisions were made as to how they would advertise these promotions. At that time, advertising in newspapers was a key mechanism to get to a variety of people. The decision was made and they advertised in both the travel and the sports section of out of town newspapers.
It was not until the next season and I was off of this temporary position that I saw the final result of my suggestion. I am happy to report that to this day, the team still has this program! My other two suggestions about creating a promotion for female fans and creating fun advertisements for new team members metamorphosized over the years. The former is still in place, yet, the later was a huge success in its’ day, but they no longer have this sort of promotion.
Now, when I read about a promotion, or an advertisement, I have a great appreciation for the thought, time and work it took to market a product, team or idea.