Name: Meka Morris
Job: Chief Revenue Officer
Company: ISM Connect
LinkedIn: Meka Morris
In 140 characters or less, tell us who you are and how you got to where you are today.
Sports marketing veteran. KU Track and Field athlete and Boston native, now advancing technology and new business development at ISM Connect.
What’s one trend in media or marketing that you’re buying or selling?
Data is king. When you look at successful brands and how they market to customers, it’s all about analytics—understanding what channels their fans are engaging on and what content drives conversions and ultimately ROI. A lot of marketers think they have a real sense of who is engaging with their brand, but the data might say otherwise. Expect this trend to continue—brands are gathering data from more and more sources to better serve their fans and enhance the event experience.
How do you define engagement?
It’s all about understanding how fans and venues consume and engage with content and their behavior when they are at events. ISM is able to summarize this into live event visual analytics that help venues understand who is in their building, and what they are most passionate about. The ability to measure fans and their affinities is among the most important assets for sports teams and leagues.
What’s the project or campaign that you’re proudest of? Why?
We are in our third year of working with NASCAR and have seen some really surprising trends emerge over the course of this partnership. This includes an engagement rate that’s increased every year, as our secret sauce—our content—continues to evolve. Our engagement rates in 2019 exceed 20% which is surprising in modern digital out of home advertising. Consumers are paying attention, because the quality of our inventory warrants this sort of tune-in. Also, while the demographics of who attends races may still be mostly male, over 45% of consumers that view our content are female, so we’ve tailored content at races towards this audience.
What are you working on right now? Any exciting future plans that you’re able to share?
Our latest project is working with Minor League Baseball to modernize fan experiences ballparks. Minor League Baseball is a true gem in sports yet most industry news doesn’t talk about it often. Everyone knows it’s there, but people don’t realize the impact and reach of the sport. It’s the second most attended sport in the US, and it’s arguably the best family experience due to the ticket price, food and entertainment options. MiLB creates an experience that’s suitable for families and children. Our work with MiLB really allows them to step forward and deliver content to their fan base in a way that’s meaningful.
Annette dishes on the exact moment she knew she picked the right career, how golf is an intersection of business and sport, and how she is serving as an agent of change to the sports industry.
As a connected fan, what’s the most engaging piece of sports content that you have recently consumed?
There is so much great sports content in the marketplace, but I really love some of the things that have come from The Players’ Tribune. In an age where people want to know about more than yesterday’s box score, they have marched down a path that helps humanize athletes in a way that is inviting, engaging, and special. I am a BIG fan of Knuckleheads!
What’s been the biggest high and low of working in sports?
Sports are an American pastime and a passion point between friends, families, colleagues, etc. While we can sit on opposite sides of a host of divisive issues, when you are a fan of a team, there is a unifying power that isn’t easily captured through other means. Being associated with that has been a dream. What’s been difficult in recent years is the exposure of the underbelly of sports, recruitment violations, concussions, USA gymnastics, doping etc. People still want to believe in the purity of sports, where advantages are gained through hard work, perseverance, and strategy. It’s hard to see it tainted.
What’s one element of the sports industry that you’d like to see change?
I would love to see more women and minorities in positions of leadership. I think some organizations are better than others, but there is still a still a massive gap that we all have a responsibility to help fill.
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