Name: Paul Sickmon
Job: President and CEO
Company: Knox Sports
LinkedIn: Paul Sickmon
In 140 characters or less, tell us who you are and how you got to where you are today.
I am a sports marketing idiot who is just wasting space until the next Noles game. Hard work, dedication, and being passionate about sports and its fans led me to where I am today.
What’s one trend in media or marketing that you’re buying or selling?
I’m buying the use of boosted social media to create success in data-driven, register-to-win promotions. Without it, the promotional ceiling is pretty low.
How do you define engagement?
To me, engagement would be when an individual feels attached to a brand and that attachment results in an action.
What’s the project or campaign that you’re proudest of? Why?
The most successful promotion we have executed in the past few years would be with a furniture chain and the local MLB team – the Tampa Bay Rays. An on-field trigger promotion pushed fans to the store which resulted in them receiving a free food item for coming in. Over 100,000 Rays fans came into the store last season. That is driving traffic!
What are you working on right now? Any exciting future plans that you’re able to share?
We have a number of collegiate engagement social campaigns frontline by online games (spin-to-win, trivia, race against the clock) on track, supported by traditional inventory even outside of social that should be very successful across the country. The key is establishing the engagement, traffic and branding goals of our client, and then tailoring a package to specifically meet those goals.
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What’s the best way to engage the connected fan through great sports content?
Finding a creative way in-venue to utilize the game itself to make that piece of metal attached to their hand carve out an action that works to benefit the brand, consumer and the team. Start with upgraded Wi-Fi in the facility, then roll out an activation that feels like real integration and not forced. Finally, understand that even the best ideas in a board room may fall flat in real-time. Make sure the team or collegiate partner has the flexibility to change on the fly.
What’s been the biggest high and low of working in sports?
Convincing a new client about going down a promotional path that they may have been wary or even slightly uncomfortable, and then watching it succeed beyond their wildest dreams. The low is losing a client based on personnel decisions (i.e. having your day-to-day let go) and then seeing them struggle without your consultation.
What’s one element of the sports industry that you’d like to see change?
I would love to see fewer universities having a degree program in sports administration. There are way too many kids graduating with literally no hope of a career in their field. Schools open the program because it fills, not because they have any hope of placement. It is a disservice to young people all over the country.
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