S3 Board Member Spotlight: Kelly Cheeseman, AEG Worldwide

S3 Board Member Spotlight: Kelly Cheeseman, AEG Worldwide
by Jerry Ruiz – February 2013

Congratulations to S3 Board Members in their new positions:  Kelly Cheeseman, Chief Operating Officer of AEG Worldwide, and Chris McGowan, President of the Portland Trailblazers.

Chris McGowan
Chris McGowan
Kelly Cheeseman
Kelly Cheeseman

This is a story about the value of good mentors.

Kelly Cheeseman started his career as the Manager of Marketing at Rancho Cucamonga Quakes before coming to the LA Kings/AEG in 2001 as an Account Executive in ticket sales. In short order, Kelly advanced to Senior Sales Executive and then to the Manager of Ticket Sales. By 2005, Kelly was the Director of Sales & Service. Three years later, he was promoted to Vice President, Sales & Service, followed by a move up to Senior Vice President in 2012. When Chris McGowan left the COO position at AEG Worldwide to become the President & CEO of the Portland Trailblazers, Kelly was, as always, prepared to step in.

“Kelly has the best work ethic of any sports executive I have ever seen,” said Chris McGowan. From his experience, beginning in 1996 at AEG, McGowan sees the COO position at AEG as a true privilege. Having worked alongside Cheeseman for over a decade, Chris said what’s obvious to everyone is that, “Kelly is extremely passionate about the sports industry and dedicates a lot of time and energy into learning every aspect of the business.” Kelly would say he’s been helped by seeing it modeled by his mentor, Chris McGowan.

Giving back

In turn, Kelly has always taken the time to mentor others. Two graduates of  the inaugural Baylor S3 class in 2006, Todd Pollock and Brett Christenson, began in ticket sales at the LA Kings/AEG. Cheeseman took the two under his wings and helped them get off to a good start within the industry.

Todd Pollock in London
Todd Pollock

“Kelly has been a great mentor. Aside from his knowledge and business-savvy mentality, he has always been a great leader with his staff, whom he cares about greatly. His willingness to develop skill sets and train his staff makes him one of the best executives in the sports world today,” said Pollock, currently General Manager of Sales & Service at Temple University.

Under Cheeseman’s mentorship, Pollock moved from inside sales to account executive to Manager of Sales & Service for the LA Kings in less than two years, before becoming Manager, Ticketing & Suites, at the San Francisco 49ers. Cheeseman, like his mentor McGowan, share the qualities of all good mentors.

Christenson landed at FC Dallas in corporate sales, before completing his MBA and moving into corporate business intelligence and database analytics.

[dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”lifted-bottom-right” width=”250px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]Qualities of Good Mentors:

  • genuine concern for your best interest
  • willingness to share what they know to help you get ahead
  • willingness to be available to you when you need help—not just at their convenience
  • ability to identify your needs or deficiencies and to develop strategies for overcoming such obstacles to your success
  • respectfulness, trustworthiness, honesty and supportiveness

Source: Achieve Solutions [/dropshadowbox]

Learned along the way

Looking back at his career, the biggest challenges came during the two NHL work stoppage. Facing such obstacles out of your control, Cheeseman says, “will truly test your ability to maintain good relationships with customers and challenge your mental strength.”

When asked about some of the best career tips he’s ever received, Cheeseman recalled words shared by McGowan that stuck with him:

  • Hard work can never be beat.
  • There are no shortcuts.
  • Always look for ways to be innovative.
  • Don’t get stuck in a rut.

What is Cheeseman’s advice to others wanting to succeed in sales management in this business?

  • Hire a great team properly organized to work together. Focus on the structure.
  • Develop a measurable business plan you can review against key performance indicators.
  • Hire an analytics team to support your staff.

Of course, it always helps to have a positive mindset. “Clients and co-workers really enjoy working with Kelly because he has a great personality,” McGowan added.

Thanks

The students in the Baylor S3 program look forward to continued success stories from those fortunate enough to work with Mr. Cheeseman and Mr. McGowan. Thanks for giving back!

Leading: 10 Stunning Benefits of Failure

Leading: 10 Stunning Benefits of Failure
by Dan Rockwell – February 2013

Success is a lousy teacher

Success teaches repetition. Do more of the same because more of the same produces more of the same.[dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”lifted-both” width=”250px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]

Kern Egan, Haymaker
Kern Egan

“So many good things have come out of my failures. Failures test you and build your character in ways that other experiences can’t. In addition, some of the best contacts I have in my network have come from meeting people in the pursuit of projects that ultimately did not work out.”[/dropshadowbox]

In changing times more of the same is deadly.

Success teaches confidence. Without confidence progress stalls, second-guessing prevails, the status quo persists. On the down side, success inflates confidence.

Bill Gates said, “Success is a lousy teacher.
It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.

Danger

Too much confidence spawns failure. The vulnerabilities of over-confidence include:

  1. Failure to explore root causes of success.
  2. Resistance to evaluation.
  3. Feelings of invincibility.
  4. Closed ears.

Opportunity

Failure humbles some and angers others. Humble leaders:

[dropshadowbox align=”center” effect=”curled” width=”550px” height=”” background_color=”#ECF8E0″ border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]

  1. Ask what caused failure. Exploring failure is the most useful result of failure.
  2. Know they don’t know. Not knowing is the first step to knowing.
  3. Adapt. Stubborn resistance to adapting reveals arrogance.
  4. Know limitations. Acknowledge weaknesses to themselves and others.
  5. Transparency marks humble leaders.
  6. Seek advice and welcome feedback from all quarters.
  7. Welcome help. High potentials don’t say, “I can do it on my own.”
  8. Give credit.
  9. Respect skill in others.
  10. Honor teams rather than steal credit.[/dropshadowbox]

Bonus: Display compassion even during the rigorous pursuit of excellence.

High Potentials:

Watch team members respond to failure, frustration, and falling short. Continue stretching the humble and coaching the angry. Elevate the humble.

Work with the arrogant. If they refuse to grow, eliminate them. Humility builds. Arrogance destroys.

It’s a tough call because confidence is essential to success. But over-confidence eventually fails. The ten responses to failure help identify high-potentials.

Discuss with your team

What benefits have failure produced in your life?

How do you identify high potential employees?

 

Leading: Purposeful Abandonment–The Art of Letting Go

Leading: Purposeful Abandonment–The Art of Letting Go
by Dan Rockwell – February 2013

You employ systems and strategies for starting, maintaining, and moving forward. Adopt systems for stopping as well.

People who can’t say, “No,” chase all the spilled marbles at once. They’re confused and empty handed in the end. Too many yeses distract, weigh down, and waste energy.

“In order to grow, a business must have a
systematic policy to get rid of the outgrown,
the obsolete, and the unproductive.”
Peter Drucker

Abandonment conversations

[dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”lifted-both” width=”250px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]”On a personal level, with a one-year old already at home and another child on the way, it’s imperative that I make as efficient use of time as possible to still maintain the same level of productivity others have come to expect and I expect from myself. Knowing when to say enough is enough on a project headed nowhere is key to maintaining not only a healthy work vs life balance, but in some cases your own sanity!” Andrew Brown[/dropshadowbox]Begin right now with, “What do you need to stop?” conversations with key people. Ask:

  1. What frustrates?
  2. What drains energy?
  3. What wastes time?
  4. What produces small returns?
  5. Which customers should be sent to competitors?
  6. Is it time to stop petting a pet project?
  7. What distracts from leveraging strengths?
  8. What has low impact?
  9. What can be stopped?

Paperwork is on many lists of frustrating, energy drainers, for example. Are reports necessary or antiquated? How much time is spent completing reports that seldom, if ever, get used?

“Planned, purposeful abandonment of the old
and of the unrewarding is a prerequisite to
successful pursuit of the new and highly promising.” Peter Drucker

You’re tough when it comes to endurance. Get courageous and tough on stopping things, too.

Abandonment meetings

Schedule a monthly abandonment meeting. Carve off part of your business or organization and ask:

  1. Do returns justify expense?
  2. How much would it matter if we stopped …?
  3. How are we squandering strengths?
  4. How are these activities aligned with mission and vision?

Abandonment lists

[dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”lifted-bottom-right” width=”250px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” inside_shadow=”false” ]

Jeremy Burson
Jeremy Burson

“The concept of time management grows more important as the demands placed on leaner workforces continue to also grow. Successful business leaders understand the proper balance of what is most important and what can be delegated or even ignored. We task our staff with developing a list of the 5 most important things to accomplish each week and provide the support and accountability to keep on track. Hopefully, less time and energy is spent on things simply not important to our business objectives.”
[/dropshadowbox]
I don’t remember when I first heard of a, “Not to-do list,” but it’s genius. Make one. Variations of abandonment lists:

  1. Do less of list.
  2. Put it off till you’re tired and grumpy list.
  3. Don’t care if it’s ever done list.
  4. Have someone else do it list.

Discuss with your team

How can leaders and members of our team get better at abandonment?

Leading: Popping the Self-Delusion Bubble

Leading: Popping the Self-Delusion Bubble
by Dan Rockwell – February 2013

Waking up

I woke up this morning disturbed at the subtlety of self-delusion. The trouble with delusion is illusion.

What do you call someone who believes they’re:

  1. Supportive but demanding, instead.
  2. Humble but in reality, arrogant.
  3. Listening when they’re talking.
  4. Able to do everything “right” while others fall short.
  5. Informed when they don’t know.

You call them deluded leaders.

Deluded leaders falsely believe intentions automatically translate into behaviors. You intend to be supportive so you must be supportive, right?

Deluded leaders believe they’ve mastered the things they tell others to do. Consider the pursuit of excellence, for example. Are you always improving the work of others but doing things the same yourself?

On excellence

[dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”lifted-both” width=”250px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]

Mike Mahoney
Mike Mahoney

“When you get feedback on your performance remember that it is business, not personal, so don’t get defensive. It is hard for people to bring up negative things so appreciate they cared enough to help you correct your behavior and make the necessary adjustments.”
[/dropshadowbox]
How do you respond to:

  1. Suggestions about your behavior?
  2. Criticism about the way you handle tough conversations?
  3. Improvements suggested by underlings that impact you personally?

Excellence is the gradual result of always striving for better. Can you name one thing you’re striving to improve in your leadership? Can you name three things you’re doing to improve it? Do those under you know and participate? Or, are you deceived by intention.

You pursue excellence for others but not for yourself. The discomfort others feel in telling you the truth says you aren’t approachable. When was the last time you invited someone to speak into your frailties?

Get real

Leaders serve.

You’re not special, better than, or more important. Thinking you are deludes you.

[dropshadowbox align=”center” effect=”curled” width=”450px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]

  1. Conform to them rather than demanding they conform to you.
  2. Focus on them; stop expecting them to focus on you.
  3. Their success is your success.
  4. Fuel their passions not yours.
  5. Serve them; they don’t serve you.[/dropshadowbox]

Leaders who don’t serve rely on authority and coercion. They pressure rather than enable. Saying and telling aren’t serving.

I don’t know how you feel. But, I feel better. I needed that reminder and I bet you did, too.

Discuss with your team

How can leaders address the self-delusion issue?

Establishing Your Personal Brand

Establishing Your Personal Brand
by Ken Troupe – February 2013

What does your Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook say about you?

A brand is “a type of product manufactured by a company under a particular name.”  But what about your personal brand? It used to be only people like Dion Sanders, Oprah, or Martha Stewart needed to worry about their personal brands. But now, thanks or curses to social media, times have changed.

Colin Faulkner
Colin Faulkner

“Whether you realize it or not, you have a personal brand. Your reputation is your brand,” points out Colin Faulkner, VP of Ticket Sales and Service for the Chicago Cubs.

Your personal brand is just a click away. A ticket sales rep in San Diego can develop a relationship with a VP of Sales in New York via LinkedIn. A marketing manager in Seattle can help develop strategic plans for a team in Florida during a Twitter chat. The ease of digital communication makes it more important than ever to manage your personal brand and what it says about you.

Merrill Dubrow, CEO and President of MARC Research, says “Before I hire anyone, I Google a candidate’s name and do research with the single goal of determining their personal brand and does it fit within our company environment.”

Merrill Dubrow
Merrill Dubrow

What are your core beliefs? Personal goals?

With jobs and careers riding on it,  you must decide how you want your personal brand to be represented based on your core beliefs and personal goals.

1) Core Beliefs – Define and understand your core beliefs.  Core beliefs include (a) how you daily approach doing your job and (b) how you want your co-workers and clients to think of you.  For example, when I first started selling, one of my main objectives was to “treat people the way I wanted to be treated.”  I wanted to be honest and up-front with clients. What defines you?

2) Goals – Develop goals.   Put thought into where you want to go and how to get there. Everyone has been told to write down goals. Do it. It helps. If your goals aren’t important enough to write down, they’re not very important. Write them and put them someplace where you’ll see them every day.

Where you want to be in one, three, and five years is your road map to your ultimate goals. Observe and talk to mentors who’ve been where you want to go. Go to Linked-In and see the paths and timetables of others in the position you seek.

Two Things I’ve Learned Along the Way

First, set lofty goals. I think Bo Jackson may be one of the best athletes I have ever seen play. Interviewed on a late night show (remember Arsenio Hall?), Bo said he always had the goal of playing  in both Major League Baseball and the NFL.   As he moved up the levels he was always told it was time to pick one.  He said, “Why?” His goal was to play both, so that’s what he planned on doing. And Bo knew what he was talking about.  Remember you cannot achieve great things without first setting lofty goals.

Second, goal-setting doesn’t mean you’ll get from point A to B in a straight line, but having clear goals let’s you know where you are on the road. Be ready for the curves, adapt as they come, and stay focused on your end game. Remember, “a goal without a plan is just a wish.”  ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1900 – 1944)

Now that you have your core beliefs and goals down, you’re ready to work on establishing and extending your personal brand in the digital world. You can go ahead and be working ahead, but next month we’ll discuss how to set up your Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook to fit your personal brand.


Special thanks to Jim Peacock for use of the Unique photo!

 

Using Pinterest, iTunes, and LinkedIn: How to engage fans and increase revenue

Using Pinterest, iTunes, and LinkedIn: How to engage fans and increase revenue
by Sean Walsh – February 2013

What do teams in the United States have to learn from Italy’s AS Roma?

Pinterest

In Europe, AS Roma became the first football club to use Pinterest. AS Roma boards include:

  • Iconic photography from their history
  • A board with images of every player
  • Official club videos
  • Individual boards for merchandise (men’s clothing, women’s clothing, children’s clothing, hats, bags, homeware – all appealing to the “fashionista” community of Pinterest)
  • Every cover from their official club program
AS Roma Pinterest
AS Roma Pinterest

The AS Roma Pinterest board is a fine example for other clubs to follow – it clearly shows they understand the channel.  They understand how to use the technology to curate fan content and really get the fans involved. Most importantly, Roma recognizes fans should be included in their official club presence. The team has boards specifically for fan photography, fan videos and even a selection of amazing AS Roma themed cakes. Let’s face it, you can’t avoid cakes on Pinterest!

iTunes Player Playlists

The Italian giants rolled out iTunes playlists from first team players on their official website and can be downloaded on iTunes.

AS Roma iTunes Playlists
AS Roma iTunes Playlists

Music has always been a huge part of sports broadcasts and events, including terrace chants and anthems particularly popular in football (soccer). In recent years the image of players equipped with headphones as part of their pre-game rituals has become standard. Why not let fans tap into what their favorite players are listening to?

LinkedIn

The latest step AS Roma has taken is harnessing LinkedIn as a way of targeting fans with more business/professional orientated careers. Within the past few weeks, AS Roma announced the launch of their new AS Roma company page on LinkedIn  with a specific strategy for the channel.

We have long thought teams should adopt LinkedIn as an official social media channel:  By using a shared interest in football, it creates a casual and comfortable first point of contact in which relationships are already created. We all know businesses exploit this bond between fans–just look at the number of corporate hospitality suites and tickets sold every season. The fans use LinkedIn and they clearly want to connect with other supporters, particularly those who may share business interests.

AS Roma appears to use LinkedIn as a way to market corporate-relevant products: premium seats, corporate hospitality packages and even attracting new sponsors. Most of their content revolves around new sponsorship ventures, executive season ticket offers and current corporate partners.

As football clubs look set to monetize social media in 2013, don’t be surprised if more clubs in the UK, Europe, and the US follow in a bid to market corporate hospitality and sponsorship packages to this more affluent audience.

Is integrity in sports sales a problem?

Is integrity in sports sales a problem?
by Wade Graf – February 2013

Hundreds, even thousands, apply for any ticket sales position opening, flooding LinkedIn, PBEO and Teamwork Online  with resumes and contacts trying anything to break in.

Some fly to the Baseball Winter Meetings or various sports sales combines in hopes of speaking to any hiring manager willing to listen. If fortunate enough to grab entry-level positions in inside sales, they soon realize they have a very short time period to prove worthy ticket sellers.

[dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”lifted-both” width=”350px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”.5″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]

Three Takeaways:
• Form good habits and practices early in your career.
• Never compromise morals or integrity in order to get ahead.
• Promotions aren’t always awarded to the top revenue generator. Integrity, teamwork and work ethic are other key components in taking the next step in your career.[/dropshadowbox]

Entry level sales positions are often part-time or limited periods (6-12 months) before the next batch of recruits invade the cubicles. Reps compete in revenue generation to earn a full time position with the team. In this pressurized competitive situation, inexperienced reps may look for any way possible to succeed.

Habits learned early in your career not only stay with you; they grow and intensify on a daily basis. It is incredibly important new ticket salespeople understand there is more to their jobs than just generating the most revenue possible. Sure, managers want and need to fill the seats through season tickets and nightly suites, but that’s not all that matters.

Does integrity count?

Outstanding sales reps don’t compromise integrity trying to make sales or earn promotions. Being a standout sales representative is not:

  • taking a 16-digit credit card number or check, then ignoring the client over the entire course of the season.
  • achieved by holding a great seat location from your co-workers until you find just the right individual or company who will buy them from you.
  • earned by trying to sell to a company your teammate has been talking to for months or by hiding a sale in the client’s brother’s ticket account.

Just one episode of taking another representative’s sale can tarnish that representative’s image. Months or even years of great work can come crashing down over one moral compromise.

Jason Fortune, Season Ticket Manager with the Texas Rangers, explains,

Jason Fortune

“As long as you  maintain your integrity and make the right decisions, you will always have a chance to earn a promotion. Always remember that sales reps who cut corners and ‘cheat’ the system will not last long with any organization. The recipe for success is simple: Come in, work hard every day surpassing expectations, never compromise your integrity, and eventually your hard work will pay off.”

Katie Morgan, CRM and Database Manager with the Texas Rangers, notes the effects acting with integrity has on potential promotions:

Katie Morgan
Katie Morgan

“Gaining the respect of your peers is one of the most beneficial things within the sports industry and also one of the most critical. Maintaining working relationships with those around you will help with day to day tasks. But, more importantly, those who earn respect and work well with others catch a manager’s eye when looking to potentially promote.”

Are you a great teammate?

Being a great teammate and helping the person you are competing with to earn the promotion is just as important as being on top of the sales board. Giving great customer service and showing customers around for an hour in the stadium means just as much to the organization as making ten more calls in order to earn the next sale.

When looking to promote from within the organization, season ticket or suite managers don’t always pick the leader on the sales board. They want those who can sell, but also those who provide superior customer service, have great moral standards, and represent the organization well each and every day. Remember it’s a team sport, both on the field and in the office.

 

Leveraging digital marketing and media strategies

Leveraging digital marketing and media strategies
by Anita Sehgal – February 2013

As organizations continue to utilize sports sponsorships and activation within their marketing mix, they are also faced with the ongoing challenge of ensuring activation is relevant, measurable and engaging for consumers.

Leveraging digital marketing and media strategies will enhance sponsorship initiatives in three ways:[dropshadowbox align=”center” effect=”curled” width=”250px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]

  1. Expanding the reach of your activation to a broader audience
  2. Extending the activation beyond the actual event time
  3. Engaging fans in relevant and measurable experiences[/dropshadowbox]

At Academy Sports + Outdoors, we’ve found sharing content and generating exclusive content supporting the partnership is a great way to extend the reach of activation initiatives.  Our long time partnership with the Houston Texans greatly evolved this year thanks to both teams’ commitment to digital integration within core sponsorship assets. Leveraging our shared fan bases on multiple social media sites, executing a calendar of content that engages Academy customers and Texans fans, and tailoring that content to the various social media platforms is a win-win for both of us.

Nick Schenck
Nick Schenck

”Collaborating with Academy on social media promotions this season, including promoted posts on Twitter, generated a lot of interest for our in-store player appearances and raised the profile of our partnership with Academy” says Nick Schenck, Houston Texans director of integrated media.

[dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”raised” width=”450px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]

Danica Patrick
Danica Patrick

“Through my partnership with Academy, we’ve probably had the most fun with the digital components of our relationship”, says NASCAR driver Danica Patrick“I’ve live tweeted with their fan base from one of our TV shoots, filmed behind the scenes footage and shared workout tips for use on their tablet app. Academy supports me throughout the racing season and even helped me get voted NASCAR’s most popular driver in 2012. I’ve helped to support their annual fitness campaign and drive new followers and entries into their Pinterest contest through my social media sites.” [/dropshadowbox]All professional sports partners are constantly innovating new ways to provide fans with insider access, and we are always seeking additional avenues to drive sales, traffic and deeper engagement with our customer base.  In many cases, we’ve found a way to meet both goals through digital only events, which are spontaneous and often only shared via social media.  Digital-only events are easy to execute, low cost additions to any activation strategy that (a) expand the reach for partners and (b) create opportunities for content generation.

Sharing content with consumers before, during and after an event is a great way to extend activation length.    Live tweets, contests, and appearances all generate opportunities for our team to capture unique and exclusive content making the activation more powerful.  We also take the approach of supporting our partners in their key initiatives and ask they do the same in return.

One of the major challenges sports sponsorships often face is relevant, measurable activations.

Third party profiling, audience attendance and participation at an event or over a season are key measurements that marketers use to measure value.   Digital marketing brings another key dimension to the table as sponsors are continually challenged to not only drive customer engagement but also measure the benefit.   While traditional logo and designation rights support brand awareness and often brand affinity, social media and digital media integration into fan initiatives drives customer engagement and allows both sponsors and sports entities to assess value of shared consumer bases and engage directly with consumers.

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