Welcome to an inside look at AMA’s biggest event of the semester: The Undergraduate Marketing Conference! This year’s theme, the media multiverse, focuses on how marketers from various industries rely on digital media to grow their businesses. Let’s dive into a recap of each of our amazing speakers!
To kick off the conference, our keynote speaker Patrick Arthur of the Washington Commanders gave us an inside look at the infamous team rebrand that took place earlier this year and what role digital media played in the process.
Patrick Arthur is currently the Vice President of Marketing for the Washington Commanders. He started his career working for the Miami Dolphins for 13 years, mostly within traditional marketing in TV, radio, and newspaper. With the introduction of social media, sports teams became less reliant on agencies so when Patrick moved to the Los Angeles Chargers for 2 years, the marketing scene was vastly different. Just last year, Patrick got the call to come to Washington D.C. to work for the Washington Football Team, now known as the Commanders.
Patrick received an offer from the team only a month before the rebrand and new name announcement. He said he took the job with the Commanders because he felt that the ceiling was so high, and he saw lots of potential in the team’s brand. An AMA member asked Patrick why he felt like the ceiling for this team is so high and he responded by saying the DMV has lots of history and opportunities to grow and rebuild the community surrounding the team. He also mentioned the ticket sales in previous years, which showed the number of people that were willing to come out and support the Washington based team was much higher than in other cities.
After telling the audience about his career, Patrick dove into the marketing priorities and strategies of an NFL team. He mentioned how an NFL team is a global brand, but also a small business. The NFL has strict rules regarding advertising including that teams can only advertise within a 75-mile radius. Patrick told the audience the three main things the marketing team is responsible for are: tickets, sponsors, and merchandise.
With the theme of the conference being media multiverse, Patrick discussed the transition from traditional marketing to digital marketing. He told us a short story from when he was working at the Miami Dolphins and was negotiating with a radio salesman with a large stack of printed tickets, and how that is vastly different from his job now. Patrick said the biggest shift from traditional marketing to digital was the addition of videos to Instagram and Facebook. He explained this switch gave teams the ability to create their own content and allowed them to have more control over what was being distributed to the fans.
The Commander's rebrand was a huge controversy. Some fans wanted the name to change, and others didn't. Patrick walked us through all of the aspects of the rebrand and what the team did to build hype and solidify the new team name. The first step was to set the date for the name announcement to build momentum: 2.2.222. They gave coaches as well as current and former players shirts and other merchandise with the announcement date to spread the word. The team decided to announce the name with a traditional channel of marketing - television. At 8am on the Today Show, the name was announced by Doug Williams, a former iconic player for the team. Patrick gave an inside scoop on what the “war room” was behind the scenes. He described how there were nearly 50 people in the back, quickly changing the website and all the social media handles when Doug Williams announced “The Commanders.” The rest of the rebrand day was filled with players in Commander’s merchandise, Snapchat filters, metro advertisements, lit buildings throughout DC, and wrapped Teslas driving around the city.
No matter what your stance is on the new team name, we can all admire the hard work and effort the marketing team put in to build hype around the new brand and lay the foundation for future growth in the years to come. Thank you very much Patrick Arthur for joining us, it was fascinating to learn more about what it takes to market a professional football team!
In round two of UMC, AMA members were excited to hear from Danny Hoffman and Tyler Barron from Flywheel Digital! In a fun and engaging presentation, AMA members learned about the powerful world of e-commerce and retail media. But first, let’s talk more about who Danny and Tyler are and what Flywheel Digital does.
At Flywheel Digital, Danny Hoffman is the Associate Director of Client Services and Tyler Barron is the Media Manager. Having both graduated from UMD, Danny and Tyler were happy to connect with current students and share information about the company. Flywheel Digital is an Internet Marketing Service headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, but has offices in Seattle, London, and Tokyo. But what does Flywheel Digital actually do?
According to Danny and Tyler, Flywheel Digital is a services company focused on maximizing brand growth in digital retail and helping the world’s most complex brands win online. They find solutions for challenges in search, media, content, assortment, ordering, forecasting, and planning. To put this into perspective, Danny and Tyler used the example of selling dog food on Amazon. If they are working with a company that sells dog food, Flywheel needs to do everything they can to ensure that this item is promoted in the right place, at the right time, and to the right people.
In order to do this, as Danny and Taylor described, it’s important to understand the scope of the term retail media. In the context of e-commerce, also known as online buying and selling, retail media means to digitally market something at the point of sale. Brands need to invest in retail media to ensure that their products are visible and being shown to the right consumers, just like with the dog food example. Have you ever been on Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, or even Netflix, and seen an advertisement for something you were just searching for? Well, this is a big part of retail media. Ads are all over the place on the Internet, and that is why they seem to blend seamlessly into whatever is in your search engine.
This type of consumer experience is under the spotlight at Flywheel Digital. If this is something that interests you, Danny and Taylor say that they are always looking for people willing to dive outside the box to join their team. Be sure to check out Flywheel Digital for additional information. Thank you so much to Danny Hoffman and Tyler Barron for joining us at UMC!
Up next we were joined by Carmen Bodziak from Goodshuffle! After graduating from UMD with a degree in marketing and supply chain management in 2020 , Carmen began her marketing career as the 6th employee at D.C. based start-up Goodshuffle. Goodshuffle is an event tech company that provides event and party software to small businesses. Any vendors offering floral services, catering, balloons, floats, or any other event service can benefit from using Goodshuffle’s software to manage inventory, set up online payments, and have a centralized organization system.
So how does Goodshuffle actually reach these businesses to market to them? As Carmen explained, 1st and 3rd party data is key in reaching your audience. A marketer must know where their audience spends the most time so they can target those platforms directly. Staying updated with news and trends is also important. What are the top trends for this wedding season? Are most companies back to in-person events? Knowing the answers to these questions is crucial when devising a marketing message to event businesses.
Now that Goodshuffle knows where their audience is, let’s explore what mediums they use to target them. Google Ads and Facebook Ads are extremely effective as most of Goodshuffle’s clients are small, family-owned businesses. Older generations spend more time on Facebook so placing ads on that platform reaches the right audience. Additionally, nearly everyone relies on Google when searching for products or services, so having Goodshuffle appear as the top search result increases the amount of clicks their website receives and thus drives more conversions. Other mediums that are used include email marketing and social media which work in collaboration with all other mediums to send a coherent message and call to action.
The last component of the puzzle is the marketing strategy. Goodshuffle is a B2B business that markets to small business owners, not to consumers. As such, part of their strategy involves appealing to an entire group that makes business decisions, not just one individual. Additionally, their messaging appeals to a wide array of demographics since their target audience is extremely diverse. Not only that, but the strategy must consider that the events industry is seasonal and historically way of technology. Messaging needs to convey that Goodshuffle is user-friendly for all and will aid in the growth of small businesses. Since January to March is usually slow for the events industry, this is a good time for Goodshuffle to step in and catch the attention of their target businesses.
Curious about what working at a startup is like? Carmen enjoys the fact that the company encourages her to take risks, make mistakes, and learn from them. This has increased her confidence and her skill set as a marketer. Plus, the casual environment is always a plus! If you’re interested in working at Goodshuffle, check out their careers page and apply! Thank you so much to our alumni Carmen Bodziak for speaking at UMC!
Total Wine & More
The final speaker was Sam Blum from Total Wine & More. Sam is another UMD alumni who has extensive experience in the food and beverage industry. He started out his career at Oscar Mayer where he worked a one-year travel contract as a spokesperson. He then went on to work at &pizza and Nandos before he started at Total Wine & More a year ago.
Total Wine & More is the largest fine wine retailer with over 244 stores in 27 states. They have a large selection of wine, beer, and spirits and have a commitment to low prices. Sam is the Senior Manager of Campaign and Brand launches where he works on four types of campaigns: brand, consumption, promotional, and DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion).
The purpose of brand campaigns is to instill confidence in the customer and increase brand awareness. The biggest brand campaign for Total Wine & More is their Top 20 wines of the year which showcases their commitment to supplying great wines to their customers.
The next type of campaign that Sam works on is consumption occasions. These typically include holidays such as St. Patrick's Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Superbowl Sunday, and more. These campaigns are centered around these holidays. Sam showed an example of a recent Halloween campaign and the different media that was created for various media channels.
Another type of campaign is promotional. These campaigns are centered around large promotional events such as sales. Sam explained that Total Wine & More has a large “yellow tag” sale during February and March because there aren't many consumption occasions and it's the most effective time for a sale.
The final type of campaign Sam discussed was a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion campaign. Sam explained how these campaigns are very important to him and Total Wine & More. The company has run campaigns during Pride Month, Black History Month, Women’s History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, and more. Sam said the goal of these campaigns is to connect to the customer and showcase the company's values.
The final part of Sam’s presentation was about media planning. He showed a huge list of the different media channels that have to be considered when planning a marketing campaign such as TV, social media, radio, and more. He also discussed the media components when there is a retail environment to account for. The digital space is important for Total Wine & More, but the company's biggest focus is the retail space. In the brick and mortar stores, there are places for signs, videos, and even shopping cart advertisements.
If you are interested in working for a large company with an online and retail presence consider Total Wine & More. Visit their career page for more information. Thank you to our Smith alumni Sam for speaking at UMC!
Thank you to all of our amazing speakers for joining our Media Multiverse conference this year and thank you to all of our members for attending and engaging with our speakers!
- Rumi Petrova, Maeve Smarick, Megan Carey