Marketing 101: How To Understand Your Customer with Bryan Pettigrew

Bryan Pettigrew is the CMO for the Breeders' Cup and oversees marketing, sponsorships, television, and communications for the World Championships. Prior to joining the Breeders' Cup, Pettigrew worked for the National Thoroughbred Racing Association where he worked with horse industry leaders including the Breeders' Cup, The Jockey Club, Stronach Group, Churchill Downs and New York Racing Association to develop national partnerships.

On this episode, we not only dig into horse racing, but also how he attacks digital, his approach to marketing, and how he stays ahead of the game.

Listen to the full show here: (and please subscribe to our podcast)

Here are the highlights:

[15:08] Has there been any A/B testing at the Breeders Cup that you've experimented with that surprised you or changed your perception of how to go about a particular campaign or event? 

"For the last couple of years, we've been wrestling with entertainment, like the halftime show of the Super Bowl. We have a long-time partnership with NBC Sports and as we sat down with them and started going through their data and analytics, we saw a big drop off when entertainment comes on except for the Super Bowl. They could show us all kinds of TV shows over the years. Some on their network and some on other networks were there was a dip in the ratings and the tension whenever an entertainer comes on."

[26:17] You all are doing some new fan experiences at the Breeders' Cup. Can you tell us more about that?

"Last year we tried out a new jockey camera and like so many things you have to try it out and make sure it works technically. This year we are bringing back the jockey cam. We're also introducing a new VR and 360 experience. Now, our customers will have the freedom to look around on the BreedersCup.com website or with a 360 VR headset. They can look around and see the people in the paddock. They can also look at whatever horse they want."


Full Transcripts

Ep 19 - Bryan Pettigrew audio

 

 

[00:00:06.00] David:  Hey, hope everything is going well for you. My name is David Brickley, the David of the business social powered by STN Digital. Every single show we work with the experts to learn and stay up-to-date on the ever-changing digital and marketing industry. I'm going to be talking to Bryan Pettigrew; he is the chief marketing officer at the Breeders Cup, focusing on marketing, sponsorships, TV, communications for the world championships. They have over 85 events throughout the year, all around the world, all kind of really leading it up to the Breeders Cup in November. But this is I think a fascinating interview of really digging into horse racing, but also how they attack digital and really his overall thoughts, I mean, being a CMO of any brand, of any company, I asked him a lot of questions about his approach to marketing and how he really stays ahead of his customer of his fans. So this will be a good one. Once again, Bryan Pettigrew, the CMO of the Breeders Cup.

 

Guys, we got a good one for you today, he is the CMO at Breeders Cup, he focuses on marketing, sponsorships, television, and communications for the world championships. Bryan Pettigrew joins us. Thanks so much at the time, Bryan.

 

[00:01:17.18] Bryan:  Hey. Glad to be here. Thanks for having me on.

 

[00:01:20.14] David:  Of course, so I got an easy question for you, somewhat random to start things off with. You being a former Oklahoma Sooner, I wanted to ask you who is the best athlete in Oklahoma history in your opinion?

 

[00:01:33.28] Bryan:  I'm probably going to have to go with Adrian Peterson, because he was something else to watch play in person, and I remember watching him his first time he played and people were diving at him at his feet, and I thought, he must just be that much faster than everything else. And then if you got in his way he'd run you over.

 

[00:01:54.37] David:  Yeah, his college career was pretty, pretty outstanding, but you guys have so many stars from Oklahoma, Blake Griffin, Troy Aikman, I mean, the list goes on and on. So that's a big crown for AP to get. All right, so I want to get your story a little bit because I know with Affinity Sports Marketing you were the founder and the president, and now you've moved on to the Breeders Cup as a CMO, kind of walk me through a little bit if you would just your career trajectory and kind of what led you to the Breeders Cup.

 

[00:02:22.48] Bryan:  Sure, right out of college I made a brand new racetrack in Oklahoma City, I went to University of Oklahoma, and the new track there was called Remington Park and it was owned by the DeBartolo family. And they were largely involved in horse racing, but also the NFL with the 49ers, and with the Pittsburgh Penguins. And I thought, "Well, I have an interest in working in professional sports, that'll be my kind of entry way in." And so I started working there in marketing and sales, and then from there I moved to Houston, there was a brand new horse track that opened just about five years later in Houston. And they had some trouble starting off and [unclear], everything we had tried in Oklahoma City had worked so well.

 

I was young and I was like, "Let me go and try this out." So I went down there and started working at the racetrack down there, and that's eventually what got me to Lexington. The first time I was in Lexington from early 2000 to 2004 working at the Breeders Cup. And we were creating a national league office for horse-racing called the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. So I was working for both those entities for four years, and then one dream that my brother I had always had, we had uncles and family members that had always owned their own businesses, and my brother and I said, "Maybe it's time, we're not getting any younger, let's start our own ticketing company."

 

So we started out trying to move away from the horse industry and do other sports. We got into e-gaming and that was very interesting working with McDonald's and AT&T and Coca-Cola, and got some great experience there. We worked with some chemical companies in different marketing aspects. We had a very diverse group of clients.

 

And then the Breeders Cup and the NTRA started calling again back in Lexington, so I came back here and have headed up sponsorships and marketing as you said, television, communications, and love what I'm working.

 

[00:04:40.00] David:  That's awesome. Was it always horse racing for you, did that always kind of pull you no matter where you were in your career?

 

[00:04:47.41] Bryan:  It was, and I think when I first got into it and I had my family growing up I had been around it a little bit, but I didn't understand the sport. I understood every other sport like baseball, football, basketball a lot better than horse racing. And it was just ... So I wasn't around it a lot growing up, and then whenever I got the first opportunity right out of college I just immersed myself and learning it, and we were kind of unique in Oklahoma City we had two seasons, we had a Thoroughbred season which is the horses that you would see and the Kentucky Derby that are running long distances, and we had quarter horse racing which are horses that are sprinters and they run a quarter of a mile and you see them in the rodeos and the parades these days.

 

And so we have two different audiences and two different customers, two different horse owner groups, and it was just fascinating to me and I always loved the economics of the business where you got a guy betting $2, you got a guy that's racing $2, and how they're all working to make this ecosystem of the horse race world work.

 

[00:05:57.25] David:  That's awesome. So I want to dive a little bit into your marketing approach and really how you approach marketing. I know it's kind of a loaded question, but what's your core belief when it comes to marketing in the Breeders Cup or really any product or brand that you're overseeing?

 

[00:06:14.26] Bryan:  Yeah, I started out in the late 80s and early 90s, and television was king, it's still today I think is the biggest way of attracting new fans to the sport. But along those way ... along that time we've had to adjust for email marketing and website marketing and social media marketing. And so television was kind of where we started out, and it's always been there and it captures people's imagination, and then we use all of those other tools to follow up with the customers and try and intrigue them to get more involved or attend the races or come to a concert and see the races as well.

 

My core belief is once you get someone to the racetrack it opens up their eyes, it's a very enjoyable day, it's a great way to just hang out with friends or business clients. And you get to talk between the plays, the races are 30 minutes apart, and you got 30 minutes of action so I still think it's one of the great sports to do business and entertainment at, and you're sitting at a table just with either colleagues or friends.

 

[00:07:35.44] David:  Is that your overall approach with the Breeders Cup, like your funnel is we have to find a way to get them in person because once we get them we're confident that they'll be hooked? Does everything kind of lead to that core or that North Star?

 

[00:07:49.56] Bryan:  Yeah, it really is. I mean, even right from our sponsorships, when we're pitching a sponsorship if they've never been to the racetrack, they've never experienced it, that's our first objective is to get them to the track or get them to a farm nearby a race tracks so they can experience and be around this beautiful animal. And that's usually what hooks them or gets their attention first.

 

[00:08:17.22] David:  Interesting.

 

[00:08:17.54] Bryan:  We try it with television and social media and all of these different forms of communication, but it really is one of those sports if you haven't grown up around it you have to come out and experience it one time and hopefully it captures your imagination, you think they're beautiful racing and it's just a fun day.

 

[00:08:40.20] David:  And you being a sports fan too I think there's nothing like ... you can watch Instagram highlights of LeBron James all day long, but if you're courtside at a Lakers game and he's dunking it's a different feeling that that evokes for the fan type deal.

 

[00:08:54.27] Bryan:  Yeah, exactly. Just I mean, just the pageantry and the history, it's the oldest sport in America, and we, the Breeders Cup, we are traveling to all of these international festivals and races, and always trying to make our experience better. And we have 85 races that are qualifiers for the Breeders Cup annually that take place around the world, and we're always trying to make those races better and make it more exciting and enhancing the experience for the fans. So one day hopefully they'll come watch the Breeders Cup race in person.

 

[00:09:29.18] David:  I love it. I always like to ask this question, how do you define the difference from sales and marketing? Because I think a lot of professionals get that mixed up, and I wonder if you have a thought on how you separate those two silos?

 

[00:09:43.08] Bryan:  Yeah, I think it's hard to put a line between the two. I, also because of our sport and you didn't grow up around it or playing it out in the backyard, I think it that's what makes us better at sales and sponsorships than a lot of other sports. We've had to be creative and use different technologies and tools to attract sponsors. But in that same vein, we have to be really good marketers. We have almost create the concept or create the platform for them and sell it to them. And tell them why it will work for their brand.

 

And a lot of times it takes a partner 1 or 2 years to come on board, and then they make it their own. They come in with wide eyes and we're trying to guide them to success, but then once they've been around it a couple of years they can come up with their own platforms and strategies.

 

[00:10:51.07] David:  I think a common word in our industry as well is the soft touch approach, and I think how have you found ways to stay in front of your core demo without coming across as spam or just too much in front of them?

 

[00:11:07.18] Bryan:  Yeah, it's a delicate balance with social media, every day, and having content out there and you're trying to make it unique and capture their imagination and get them obviously to share it or repost or re-tweet. And so it is a very difficult balancing act, and we're also involved in some new ventures that are global racing ventures, and there are some times where you just have to look and see what's going on maybe in England or races in Australia. And you say, "You know, that doesn't really pertain to our customers in the US, so let's just wait for the next one to come along and see," rather than bombarding them and just saying, "Look at what's going on over at the races in Asia," and it doesn't maybe pertain to our US customer base.

 

[00:12:08.52] David:  It doesn't resonate, that makes sense. Again, another broad question for you, but what is the one question you think every marketer should be asking their self, if they're in a role like yourself or VP of Marketing, CMO, what's that one question you think they should be asking?

 

[00:12:24.48] Bryan:  Probably what that mobile device is going to look like in 5 or 10 years. And God, I mean, it's just with the 4G coming along and how quick you can get data served up and information on your phone. So just paying attention to the mobile aspects, but also just how do you break through and capture the imagination of future [unclear] which is so competitive.

 

[00:12:57.30] David:  Yeah, a lot of noise.

 

[00:12:59.18] Bryan:  Yeah.

 

[00:13:01.07] David:  Absolutely. So if you're starting from scratch, because I think you have an interesting track record kind of building your individual company and working at these different stops. If you're starting from scratch with a new company or a new brand from a marketing standpoint, where do you recommend people start?

 

[00:13:20.07] Bryan:  If you're a younger person out at college I think you got to come in, you've got to look at what's been tried before. And sometimes it might have been tried five times or five years before and it was just too early, and we actually ... we were just having a discussion this morning and some new bet types for Breeders Cup which were tried about five years ago are coming back around, we're going to reintroduce them. So I think just kind of taking an overall look at a business or company, seeing what they've done before.

 

I'm very much in favor of research, and also seeing what their competitors have done that have made them successful. And then you've got to be ... You want to break through the clutter like you had mentioned earlier, but you also got to be respectful to your peers and people you've worked with. And they might not get it, and you got to kind of take it slow sometimes and walk up through it. But show them some of the things that you've learned and the next generation, the way things might be down the road.

 

[00:14:38.33] David:  I like it. What is the I guess the most common mistake that you see out there in space, whether it'd be digital, linear, etcetera, that you think brands make or aren't paying enough attention to?

 

[00:14:50.17] Bryan:  I still see the disconnection a lot, where they might do something on television but there's nothing connecting to their social or to their digital or the websites, their other forms of communication. And we try, and every time we launch a new program or platform, even just announced something that we're associated with, we try and go through it, we sit down and we try and go through all of our different marketing tactics and make sure they're all tied on.

 

And as I mentioned earlier with that phone in someone's hand you can announce something today, and within minutes people are on their phone looking it up, and you want to make sure you just get everything connected. So I'd say that's probably the biggest thing I see is there's still a lot of marketers out there that don't connect all their different tactics together. They'll just start one and then forget about the other three or four.

 

[00:15:53.20] David:  Yeah, make sure that cross promote across all your different channels.

 

[00:15:56.40] Bryan:  Exactly.

 

[00:15:58.07] David:  Do you have any fun stories of any A/B testing, I know this is getting like super inside baseball, but any A/B testing at the Breeders Cup that you guys experimented with, and it surprised you or changed your perception of how to go down a particular campaign or event?

 

[00:16:14.32] Bryan:  One that we've wrestled with the last couple of years is entertainment, and we've studied it, we've researched around entertainment, basically an entertainment like a halftime show of the Super Bowl. And we have gone ... We have a long-term partnership with NBC Sports and we went and sat down with them and said, "We would like to right before our big race we think a big entertainment act, and just that person being on our website and on our television platform, and being on our social media will garner a lot of people to tune in and maybe watch them sing one of their new songs."

 

And as we sat with NBC and started going through their data and their analytics, we saw that there's a big drop off when entertainment comes on except for the Super Bowl. And they could show us all kinds of TV shows over the years, some on their own network, but on other networks that there's a dip in the ratings and the tension whenever an entertainer comes on. So that was probably our biggest like learning lesson. And we thought we had a homerun bringing Beyonce or Justin Timberlake to sing. And they're like, "Well, hold your horses," you know?

 

[00:17:48.32] David:  Yeah, no pun intended. No, but you have ... That's interesting. So you have Beyonce at the top of the program, so what they're saying is all the Beyonce fans will tune in and the second she ends they're turning off the TV.

 

[00:18:00.46] Bryan:  Right, right. And it might not turn out as positive as you think, because some people might not like her so you might lose some of your audience that just goes to another channel or gets up and goes to grab something to eat or drink, and then comes back. But they said the Super Bowl is one of those phenomenon that people, a larger crowd comes to the living room to watch the entertainment.

 

[00:18:25.23] David:  Is there anything outside of the actual physical race that you guys have seen that's helped with linear ratings or helped get those new audiences to take a shot at it?

 

[00:18:37.17] Bryan:  Not so much on linear. Our linear ratings have remained flat over the past few years, and so ....

 

[00:18:45.31] David:  Which I think is good.

 

[00:18:46.55] Bryan:  Yeah, we take it as a win. But our total audience engagement has increased, we're using all these other communication tools. The one that we see a lot of is the baby horses, and it's again is one of those things if you're not familiar with the baby horses and the folds when they're born in February, March, and April, and they've got great footage of these horses just seconds out of their mom, and there they are trying to stand up, and the human interaction with them. That's been some pretty compelling media that we've seen.

 

And we're trying to capitalize on a few things like that right now at Breeders Cup, just taking people behind the scenes. And letting them see and experience that outdoor, the horse, the farm, or what some of these people go through to get a racehorse to the track, the kind of the trials and tribulations and the ups and the downs and then enter inside horse racing that they don't normally see on TV. We're trying to show that behind the scenes a little more.

 

[00:20:08.25] David:  That's a great approach. I think fans just love when you peel back that curtain and give them the insight that they can't see elsewhere. I guess how do you categorize the Breeders Cup and what you do day to day? Do you consider it a sport similar to football, basketball? Do you consider entertainment and you're going after more like an event or a show, like what style do you put it in?

 

[00:20:31.20] Bryan:  I always start with the sport. I still think it's a sport. And then we go right into lifestyle, entertainment, fashion, and just trying to get those storylines across and out to the customers. But yeah, I usually start with it as a sport.

 

[00:20:55.59] David:  Awesome. So what is your core demo if you can break that down for your particular audience that you see the most success with?

 

[00:21:02.59] Bryan:  So our core demo is 35 and over. We're very successful, a lot of executives, higher education, and aligns a lot with like a PGA Tour customer or Formula 1 customer. And then on Breeders Cup Day itself we see the demos drop, where you've got a younger audience kind of aspirational, it's a big sporting event or a big fashion event, and they want to be there. So we do see a lot of younger people, not only a Breeders Cup but this year at the Triple Crown races. We attend those and we're constantly walking around looking at what they're doing at those racetracks to entertain and attract customers.

 

And it's always fascinating to stand there and you're watching these college kids that are standing with their phones obviously in their hand and they're not betting, but they're there, and they're saying, "I'm interested. I like the big events." But they're not looking at the horses; they're in their little pocket. And so that's some of the things that our marketing team's trying to get their arms around as (a) capturing their information and the data, and then trying to get them back to another big event down the road.

 

[00:22:36.31] David:  Yeah, we're here in San Diego obviously right down the street from Del Mar racetrack, and I think to your point a lot of people go to get the Instagram photo of their fashions. And that's the main goal, to go there and get the moment on Instagram and let's go from there, which is interesting how it's changed. All right, so I know you have the 85 events kind of spread across the world, but for the Breeders Cup specifically obviously that's your biggest tent pole. When does your season start? I'm sure you're doing stuff obviously throughout the year, but when do you really ramped up on that coverage?

 

[00:23:08.37] Bryan:  So June is our main ramp up period. To back up we have a few qualifying races outside the United States in South Africa and Japan in January, February, March. But as April and May come around it's all focused in the US, it is on the Triple Crown and the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont. And the Belmont Stakes is run that first Saturday in June, and that is our first TV show and our first qualifying races in the US that are being televised by Breeders Cup are on that same day. So it's June to October are the qualifying races in the US, and that's where we also have our ... most of our marketing assets deployed in television on NBC, 10 to 11 shows a year, and that take place from June to October, and then lead into the Breeders Cup which is the first Saturday, Friday/Saturday in November.

 

[00:24:17.07] David:  Do you sleep during that week? I'm guessing that's a pretty busy week for you.

 

[00:24:21.28] Bryan:  It's an amazing weekend, especially after you get finished and you think everything's going on, people come up to you and ask if you were at this event or did you see this or did you hear about this, and you're like, "Whoa, I didn't hear about any of that."

 

[00:24:38.28] David:  That's funny. All right, so can you kind of break down the different ways I guess you guys make a revenue? Obviously again, talking about your tent pole events, but what are the different ways you guys are trying to increase revenue from a rights standpoint or just sponsorship standpoint?

 

[00:24:54.30] Bryan:  So sponsorships is the one that I oversee, and we also have our racing revenues where people nominate their horses to be in the Breeders Cup. It's pretty steady every year. Sponsorships we're constantly trying to grow and bring in new partners. Also as I mentioned earlier getting in, you got to get partners and you have to get them out to the track. And it usually takes about a two to three-year time to get them to move from one level of entry to a major like base sponsorship.

 

And it can be ... we've seen and experience every kind of corporation and how they are slow to move. We're just getting the right people there that they sign off and say they want to become a major partner in horse racing. So it usually takes two to three years on that side. And then we make money off at ticket sales, at the event, and then the overall economics of the racetrack that day from the food and beverage. We have a joint partnership with the David racetrack and we make money off the food and beverage sales. We make the merchandise sales as well and in the betting.

 

[00:26:14.46] David:  We talked a lot about digital and how that's obviously increasing industry-wide, but have you seen from a sponsorship standpoint more interest on digital exclusives or being able to just break down your digital inventory and say, "Hey, can you be a part of this?"

 

[00:26:30.25] Bryan:  We've had a couple of partners that came in and wanted to be involved with digital only. We're starting now to kind of hone in on that more from a sponsorship sales side of it, but also our marketing team is bringing these new ventures like the 360 cameras and the jockey cam which is sponsored by Aston Martin.

 

[00:26:53.23] David:  So that increases your digital inventory that you can go out and sell which is awesome.

 

[00:26:57.26] Bryan:  Exactly. So as marketing creates these new digital assets, then our sponsorship team is starting to sell those.

 

[00:27:06.32] David:  Talk a little bit ... I know you and I spoke before the show, but I know you have some really cool things going on with VR, you just mentioned the 360 camera. But it seems like you're kind of setting up or teeing up these different franchises that a partner can be a part of, but also that your fan base really enjoys.

 

[00:27:21.20] Bryan:  And we've started some new things, last year we got a new website and a new app that we brought out. On the digital side of it just seems like you got to change those out every three to five years to be kind of fresh and up with the time, technology. But then we also last year we tried out this new jockey camera, and it's on our website at breederscup.com where you can ride along with Mike Smith and he wins the race, which was even more exciting just to have him win the race.

 

[00:27:56.28] David:  Oh, so you just head out one jockey and he won?

 

[00:27:58.13] Bryan:  Yeah.

 

[00:27:59.56] David:  That's awesome.

 

[00:28:00.10] Bryan:  And we sided with him, it was the first time in the US, and like so many things you get to try it out and make sure it works technically. And this year we're bringing back the jockey cam. And I'd say in future years we hope to have more than one camera.

 

The other one was the VR and 360 experience, we're going to offer from the time that horses come out of their barn area till the time they're in the starting gate ready to race. If you want to see the six horse you can watch the six horse walking up to the track. When it's being saddled you can look at just the six horses. It kind of ... In our sport wherever that cameraman and that director are focusing on a particular horse, everybody watching has to see what they're seeing. And now this will give the customer their own freedom to look around, they can do it with their computer on our breederscup.com or with the headsets, the 360 headsets. They can look around and see the people on the paddock; they can also look at the horses, and look at whatever horse they want to look at.

 

So we think that's new and innovative. It's our first step in that direction. We had just a still camera last year, this year we'll have three. So we're increasing our presence with that.

 

[00:29:31.50] David:  I've got to ask you about the gambling legislation, and I guess you're just overall thoughts on that and how that's changed anything in your world so far or you guys just kind of hold it tight until more info comes out?

 

[00:29:45.02] Bryan:  It's one of those things that horse racing's had gambling ever since it started as a major sport in America, and we're regulated by the Federal Government and also state by state. And so to attend a few sports conferences earlier this year, and those were hot topics in breakout sessions. And we huddled around and said, "Look, we've got experience in this, we've dealt with all the politics and the integrity issues. And finally it's like we've got something we know more about than the other sports."

 

And so we got some folks together in our industry and started talking about it, and we actually last week held a sports wagering summit here in Kentucky for about 200 people, it was free. But it was also to educate people in the industry that are from the different states that have racing. There's 37 states that allow paramutual wagering on horse racing, and so we wanted to make sure that they know what's leading the discussions, and we brought in some folks from Las Vegas and William Hill out of the United Kingdom who's massively into sports wagering. We also brought some of our race track executives, and we also had a speaker from the National Basketball Association here to talk about what their plans are.

 

And just we started it as educational for everybody to kind of get their arms around. But afterwards it was brought up to us that maybe we should look at a speaker series, we're putting this on more than once a year and working with these other sports.

 

For us outside of Breeders Cup I'd say for us we've got these racetracks that are set up like big sports books already, and they've got signals and satellites and they've got the infrastructure, the food and the beverage sales, and valet parking, and so that we've got these facilities and we hope that the horse racing industry stays in touch with their local sports franchises as well as the national ones so they can be a part of it or maybe work together.

 

[00:32:12.50] David:  Have you ever ran into any issues, a small percentage of potential partners or brands that have to stay away from you guys because there's gambling? Because I'm wondering if that legislation opens you up to just more opportunity for partners in the future.

 

[00:32:27.31] Bryan:  I think it does. I think it makes it a little more acceptable. We still have bank partners, so in those 37 states where you can bet on a paramutual race at a racetrack, most of those states allow phone wagering and apps and internet wagering. And so that's going to help get that message out there, but we still come across banks and credit card companies that don't want to accept it. In fact, Chase Bank just now started accepting ... you can deposit money out of your bank account into your wagering account, and that was a big difference.

 

So I think as it becomes more acceptable it'll be good for horse-racing. Like, I said a lot of the history and the integrity issues and coordinating race schedules, and I think there's a lot of history horse racing's got that they'll be able to lend to these other sports.

 

[00:33:31.19] David:  Awesome. So we've talked a lot about social, and I think what I've heard from you so far is like, hey, this is where the eyeballs are, let's make sure that we're there now. But also we really got to focus on this in the future. As it stands right now are there any specific social platforms that are working better than others or just where you find that your demo is really interacting with your content?

 

[00:33:54.11] Bryan:  We use almost every form of social media, the major platforms like Facebook and Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube. So we're on all of those and we have really good group of people that are planning out the year in advance, so they know what major events are coming up and can plan on those ahead of time but they also put this calendar together and they know that things are going to come up suddenly and unscripted, and they want to be focused in those.

 

So I think that's probably the biggest challenge that we've seen is just making sure that your social media team on the different platforms are all working together and making sure they know who's giving or who's posting what story and at what time, and coordinating that.

 

We've actually ... I mentioned earlier, we just started a content media company called World Horse Racing where we're working with Asket Racetrack which is Queen Elizabeth's racetrack in England, and Goodwood Racetrack, and then Flemington down in Australia. And we found that our first two events that we've been at racing events at Asket in June and then at Goodwood in August, they have their own on-site teams.

 

You have NBC coming in, they've got their social media teams, you got these different layers and it takes a lot of coordination so you're not all pushing out the same story on three or four, five different platforms from different rights holders. So we've been working on that, and that seems to be going in the right direction. But it does take a lot of coordination and communication.

 

[00:35:52.02] David:  How long have you been at the Breeders Cup now?

 

[00:35:54.34] Bryan:  Since 2015.

 

[00:35:58.14] David:  Okay, so I'm sure you've seen even back at 2015 like such a huge shift in the last 36 months from now there's nine people on the ground doing stuff for social, where even in 2015 maybe there was one person with a phone.

 

[00:36:14.14] Bryan:  Well, I mean, it really is. And then like I said we check out other ... and not only our own kind of premier sports, but we check out Formula 1 races and NASCAR events, and we go to these different sporting events throughout the year. And to hear that they have a 30-person team that's overseeing social media, you're like, "Whoa."

 

[00:36:37.56] David:  Yeah, it's nuts, man. All right, so I'm going to get you out of here, but I have some rapid fire questions for you, hopefully it won't be too tough. What is the one social or marketing tool that you could not live without?

 

[00:36:52.02] Bryan:  I'm going to say Twitter is the one I use most, and just I check news, get the list. And if I want to look at a picture I can or a video, but if I don't want to I'm going to ... Just I can flip through it pretty quickly.

 

[00:37:16.48] David:  Exactly. I love it. All right, so from a business perspective I asked you earlier, but with your core demo kind of being younger towards the race, but overall 35 and above, is it Facebook, is Instagram giving you the best organic engagement? What's the best engagement as it stands now?

 

[00:37:33.13] Bryan:  Facebook, yeah. Facebook hands down is giving us the most engagement for Breeders Cup. And then as I mentioned our new entity World Horse Racing, same we're finding out from them as it's hitting that 35 and over demo.

 

[00:37:49.19] David:  Awesome. All right, so I will get even more granular, rank and order of importance for the Breeders Cup - Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, where are your resources going on those platforms?

 

[00:38:02.05] Bryan:  It should probably Facebook ... Actually this year we're going to be working with Facebook on televising some races on Facebook Watch, and so we're working on those final details. So I'm going to have to put them up in the front. And then Instagram and Twitter would be right there at 2 and 3, and Snapchat. I like Snapchat, I have two kids that are in college and so that's our form of communication. Our social media team keeps trying to tell us, it's a platform to get their arms around, but [unclear].

 

[00:38:48.03] David:  Yeah, you still got to be a part of it. All right, so in our industry I think FOMO was a legitimate thing with all the different updates and platforms that are coming out, is there one thing that you would recommend to how you stay on top of all the news that make sure you're not missing out?

 

[00:39:04.34] Bryan:  Wow, man. You are getting into it. Because there are so many platforms, so many different platforms, we even have a weekly call where we do updates, verbal updates, the old-fashioned way. Just so we're trying to make sure that we're all up to speed on what might happen on another channel that we don't pay attention to.

 

I would say also within our company we have people like myself that might be on Twitter a lot and on Facebook, and our CEO he's actively on social media. And so we usually ... we hear about it, if there's something happening on another channel we'll share it with each other and make sure everybody is aware of it.

 

[00:39:54.11] David:  Yeah, I think you're right, like if you follow the right people and right accounts on Twitter, then if you scroll like we all do aimlessly sometimes, you're probably going to come up on that. It's almost like an RSS feed.

 

[00:40:06.26] Bryan:  And then we do ... I mean, our social media agency, they are constantly keeping up with the metrics and they're watching it day to day along with our website company that's monitoring our website. And they're both watching those. And if they see anything out of the ordinary they share it with us.

 

[00:40:25.35] David:  Yeah, I think you intro'd me to Shona Rosenblum that you work with. So we actually spoke with her on the podcast too and she had some very interesting things, including just the original content that you guys are doing as well. And with things like IGTV it'll be interesting to see how you guys break all that down.

 

Any advice for anyone starting and marketing, especially coming out of school or just getting their first legitimate marketing title, any advice from your track record thus far?

 

[00:40:56.17] Bryan:  Probably the biggest thing that I noticed when I talk to people is how many people pop around to different jobs and ...

 

[00:41:11.07] David:  Every two years it seems like, yeah.

 

[00:41:12.37] Bryan:  Two years, every two years, and it blows me away. And I don't ... I think you can become so much more of an asset if you're there longer than two years. And you can't learn it all within two years, but you can sure make it a bigger difference if you stay up longer than two years.

 

[00:41:34.29] David:  I love it. All right, my last thought for you is if you have a recommendation, we always ask people to potentially nominate the next podcast interview, is there anybody in your network or anybody that you respect that you think would be good for the show or that we should talk to get some knowledge?

 

[00:41:53.02] Bryan:  Yeah, and so you've talked to Shona?

 

[00:41:54.37] David:  We've taught the Shona.

 

[00:41:56.09] Bryan:  Oh, that would be my first. Then I would say a guy named Russell Barter that's doing a lot of our world horse racing content, and truly where they're trying to connect different continents with racing and being appealing in the US and Australia, the UK, and all over the world. He's fascinating in his professionalism, and just how you manage those groups that are individuals, but trying to work together globally. And he's right in the middle of it.

 

[00:42:39.32] David:  Very cool. Well, Bryan, it's been a pleasure. Definitely dropped a lot of knowledge for our audience and myself included, so thank you so much for the time and enjoy your weekend, man.

 

[00:42:47.56] Bryan:  Thank you. Have a good weekend. Bye-bye.

 

[00:42:50.17] David:  All right, there it is. Once again thanks out to Bryan. I think that was a really interesting conversation. I'm honestly really interested in what they're doing on social. You think of Breeders Cup, he even mentioned their core demo is 35 and up, you don't think they would be trying things out like VR and jockey cams and 360s. So really tip your hat to him and his team for constantly pushing the envelope and I think throughout that interview you can tell that he understands, linear is flat which I think is a good thing with all the ratings going down these days. But linear is great and that's the rights deal. But experimenting with running their streams on Facebook and also understand that all the eyeballs are on the mobile device, so how do we get there and how do we really peel back the curtain for our fan base to make sure that we're providing content that they enjoy and really gravitate towards.

 

I also thought what was interesting was the A/B testing question, right? Like, he thinks that let's get Beyonce out there, let's get Justin Timberlake, and we'll be able to carry that audience through to the actual race. And NBC is saying, "No, that doesn't work," other than the Super Bowl. So that type of stuff is super interesting to hear, but overall a great conversation. I hope you enjoyed it. As always like to give a big shout out to Sam Howard, David Ferker, and Auntie Lightning for all their help on this show. It's been a good one, business of social podcasts powered by STN Digital.