Words of WISdom from Tara Jackson (MSA '11)
Thursday, November 9 2017 12:00am
This week, OHIO Women in Sports Committee interviewed Tara Jackson (MSA '11), Sports Partnership Marketing Manager for BODYARMOR. Here are her words of WISdom!
Tara Jackson (MSA ‘11)
Sports Partnership Marketing Manager, BODYARMOR
You received your Bachelors of Arts in Literature from American University. What led you to a career in sports?
I had no idea what I wanted to do when I graduated from college. I interviewed for quite a few roles until I got a position with a boutique sponsorship agency in DC that started out as an internship and transitioned into a full-time role by the end of the summer. I was the third employee hired and our limited head count allowed me to experience every facet of sports business possible – ticket sales, public relations, event management, sponsorship activation, contract negotiation, talent management, media planning and building out brand campaigns. After a year and a half with the agency, I decided that I should get a degree that better correlated with working in sports and moved back home to Memphis to start my MBA.
What skills have helped you be successful in current role at BODYARMOR?
The most important skill to my current role is building, nurturing and growing relationships – both with existing partners and with athletes and properties that I don’t yet have a business relationship with.
There are two aspects to every partnership: the letter of the agreement and the spirit of the agreement. The letter of the agreement is when you get what you pay for; I pay you X amount of dollars and you give me XYZ assets. The spirit of the agreement is where your relationship with the athlete and property takes the partnership to the next level. Your athlete partners give you bonus social media posts because they love your product and enjoy working with you. Your property partners take care of your distributors and retailers because they want to put you in a position to win. And entities that you don’t yet have a relationship with approach you with once-in-a-lifetime opportunities because, in the course of your relationship, they have come to understand what drives your business and how they can impact it.
Of the marketing strategies you’ve developed for clients, which one are you most proud of?
Right now, I’d say the one that sticks in my head the most is the Mayweather – McGregor fight that BODYARMOR hydrated this past August. The fight created an incredible amount of buzz for BODYARMOR and allowed us to be in the ring for the biggest sports event of the year!
How has the OHIO network affected your career after graduation?
The OHIO network helped me get my first job post-grad; I worked for Tom Hunt at Monumental Sports & Entertainment. I definitely would not be in the position I am in today if it weren’t for Tom opening the door for me. Another Bobcat – Matt Kittle – identified the opportunity at BODYARMOR for me and helped me throughout the interview process. Further, my personal sounding board for my career is almost exclusively comprised of Sports Ad alumni.
What’s the best advice you’ve received during your professional career?
“Be an inch deep and a mile wide,” which essentially means know a little bit about a lot of things. Sports, especially the realm of partnerships, requires a lot of cross-functional teamwork. Your colleagues, your clients, your partners – everyone – will appreciate you taking the time to know and understand a bit about their roles and responsibilities. You won’t become an expert in their field, but take the initiative to understand how your role impacts theirs and vice versa. It will make you better at your job and create more efficiencies in your company.