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Marketing Monday: Carlos Garcia, Marketing, Groups & Community Engagement Coordinator for Oregon State Athletics

Monday, October 19 2015 11:50am

The return of Marketing Monday features Carlos Garcia, Groups & Community Engagement Coordinator for Oregon State Athletics, and a member of the PMSA Class of 2016. Discussing community engagement challenges, college athletics, and what's next for his team.

Q&A By Todd Moore ('16)

What is your day-to-day role as Marketing, Groups & Community Engagement Coordinator for Oregon State Athletics?

I must first lead in by saying it’s not often one day matches the next when it comes to my work here at Oregon State.

My first role is marketing; I am in charge of marketing for several sports including men’s and women’s soccer, wrestling, gymnastics, and softball. On top of that I also act as the lead for our kid’s club, Generation Beavs, and oversee our entire donation request process. Lastly I am lead on all community events put on through our office including our DAM Cancer events (Breast Cancer Awareness), our athletics Hall of Fame event, community service engagements with teams, the Tailgate at Truax and our annual women’s football clinic. 

One of your department’s interesting recent non-game day events was a Women’s Football Clinic. Can you explain how that event came to fruition, and how it contributes to the larger effort to enhance fan experience?

This season for the first time in a very long time, we are introducing a new football coaching staff lead by Gary Andersen. Coach Andersen has been very proactive about his staff and student-athletes becoming more engaged with the Corvallis community as well as throughout the state.

Working with his Director of Football Operations Jason Thomas and many others from our department we developed a plan for hosting a women’s football clinic. After meeting with several key groups from the community including Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation and the Women’s Cancer Coalition Fund, we were able to executive our plan and provide an opportunity for women from the community to take an in-depth look into the life of a student-athlete.

With everything from on the field drills, to nutrition/strength and conditioning education, to health services and cancer screening opportunities, to a panel on the life of a student-athlete, these women left with a better understanding of what it means to be a student-athlete.

We are already in the planning phases of growing the event next year and continuing our involvement with those community groups involved. Our overall goal with this clinic and many other events we will continue to host through the year is to create memorable experiences for our fans and further engage them with multiple opportunities outside of the standard game day experience.

We all know college athletics thrives through its fans; our goal is enhance our fans experience with our programs throughout the entire state and region.

What would you say is the biggest marketing challenge you face today?

That is a great question, in my opinion the modern sports marketer faces many great challenges in today’s sports world. I would say the biggest issue we face is the ease of access to the general public. With more competitions available through TV, Internet, smart devices, etc. the average fan is provided unbelievable access to our programs.

Being able to watch the game from the comfort of your home in high definition with surround sound, being able to pause the game for a bathroom break, avoiding inclement weather, avoiding traffic, saving money, these are just a few of the major reasons fans decide to stay home instead of attending live sporting events. Marketing professional are forced to do everything within their power to create FOMO (fear of missing out) amongst their fan base. It’s a battle many departments are losing and it’s a major concern. 

What have you and your team thought about to overcome it?

There are several things we are doing to combat this issue. The first is creating a better game day experience; this means creating an experience that leaves our fans with lifelong memories. Working with Turnkey Intelligence, we are surveying fans, trying to pinpoint problems with our current structure.

For example many of our fans in the past have expressed concern about our lack of food options throughout Reser Stadium. This year we have partnered with a new caterer/concessionaire in Levy Restaurants and have drastically changed our approach to food service through our venues.

We have also created more atmosphere around the venue on game day through improving our Tailgate at Truax, providing footballs and access to our practice fields creating a massive backyard football game atmosphere. These are just a few steps we are taking to create a remarkable experience for our fans and hopefully create the FOMO I mentioned earlier. 

What is the coolest thing you've seen lately in marketing, and what step have you taken (if any) to implement it in your work?

There have been some very cool things happening in marketing around the country that we are hoping to implement here in Corvallis. One very cool concept I really enjoyed is that of outdoor competition for traditionally indoor sports. We have seen this in the NHL with the Winter Classic played in a baseball or football stadium, we have seen college basketball teams play on an aircraft carrier.

Just this week, I noticed University of Missouri is hosting a wrestling practice outdoors. This would be a very tough sell here in Corvallis where the weather plays such a major factor but my hope is that sometime in the near future you may see Oregon State host an outdoor basketball game or wrestling meet.

What was the importance of the Ohio Sports Administration program in your career and personal development?

The Ohio Sports Administration program has been unbelievable. To be completely honest, I didn’t know Ohio University just a couple years ago. I was working down at the University of California, Santa Barbara and a few work colleagues had recommended looking into getting my masters. I researched schools across the country and hands down Ohio University was amongst the top of any list I found ranking schools. Even after all my research and enrolling in the PMSA program, I had no idea the impact it would have my career.

The connections I have made alone have already begun to pay off, but even more impressive is the education I have received. Growing up a diehard Beaver fan I would have never ever considered proudly wearing green to represent for my school, but I will say Ohio University has changed my mind. Go Bobcats!

What is the best piece of advice that you could offer someone trying to find a career in marketing or college athletics?

Very tough question, as I have received unbelievable advice during my time in collegiate athletics. I will give a couple pieces of advice to anyone looking to work in athletics regardless of whether they want to go into marketing or any other interoffice department.

First, find mentors, notice I emphasize multiple, you never know in this industry who could be the one to help you in any given situation. I have many mentors and rely on them for so many things, and not all of them work in athletics.

Second, make customer service a priority. I don’t just mean with your customers either, but instead take the approach and apply it to your relationships, with your co-workers, with your supervisors, with your interns, treat them well and try to maintain positivity in everything you do.

On that note, I am more than happy to help anyone who may read this interview. If you have questions or comments for me, or you just want to know more about how we operate here at Oregon State, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Do you have any recent or upcoming projects you could share with us?

I will just say we are really changing the atmosphere here in our department and I truly believe there are big things to come. Keep your eyes on Oregon State in the next few years. 

 

If you want to connect with Carlos & learn more about his work at Oregon State, You can contact him at Carlos.Garcia@OregonState.edu