This past week I got the opportunity to chat with Doug Mowbray of Mogo Interactive, a digital marketing firm that was recently acquired by Learfield and is expanding into the world of college athletics. Mogo is already assisting schools like UVA, UC-Boulder, USC, and Michigan State with online ticket sales; with traditional marketing outlets like TV, print, and radio no longer sufficient to optimize a brand, some degree of digital presence is necessary. Therefore, I wanted to explore what digital marketing entails, why it is important to an athletic department, and what Mogo offers its AD clients so that they can get a clearer view of how digital could work for them.
Mogo began in 2000 as a marketing firm that focused on TV and radio, but, as Mowbray describes,
“as media habits started to change and digital became more and more prevalent, that’s what we started to gravitate towards. Now, we help brands connect, engage, and activate their target audiences online.” This led to a company shift so that Mogo could “make the right decisions for our clients, what’s working, what’s not working.” Mogo provides clients who “don’t want to carry the cost, the licensing, the teams, the training” of a digital marketing division with the tools and people necessary to have an online presence.
Important to schools, throughout our conversation Mowbray continually mentioned “value.” Whether it is adding value to Learfield or offering value to clients, Mowbray seemed focused on making sure all partners received true results from their investments. He notes that adding value is “not just ticket sales. There’s a sponsorship element of it, there’s merchandise, there’s sign art with websites, there’s branding, video, LED billboards…we see Mogo as a company that can really help the other companies and also really adds value to the university.”
One of the primary ways Mogo does this is by sharing the best practices of its larger clients with those with smaller budgets. Additionally, Mowbray insists on measurability and accountability in how results are tracked, a place where value is regularly lost. For example, Mowbray described a common practice in digital marketing known as a “silo” approach. Marketing in “silos” means that each aspect of a plan is independent of one another, so that as Mowbray describes, “maybe you have a video campaign over here, a search campaign over here, you’re doing some display advertising here, you’ll find you’ll need to interact with your fan across different channels. If that fan goes to make a purchase, the problem with the silos is each media channel, or silo, will report back to you a purchase. So in that last instance, if you delivered someone a video, and then you hit them with a banner ad, and then they buy tickets, the reporting will come back as three purchases, which is incorrect.”
Mogo, on the other hand, looks at a single path to conversion that tracks the exact sequence and frequency of advertising so that its numbers are that of a single fan and purchase. This reflects greater accuracy in what is or is not working and in a marketing plan. If a fan saw a video and immediately bought a ticket, but banner ads led to now sales, this is known and spending can be allocated accordingly.
Learning about digital advertising and Mogo, in particular, it is clear that programs not investing in this arena are at a significant disadvantage in terms of expanding their message and brand. Regardless of if a school uses an in-house team, hires an outside firm, or does a combination of both, Doug Mowbray’s guiding principle of always “wanting to make the right decisions for our clients” should be at the heart of what drives a school’s marketing scheme.