Exclusive Q&A with Fiona Green, co-founder of sport CRM consultants Winners
Marketing expert Fiona Green visited the iconic UCFB Wembley campus to speak to students during a guest lecture on the role of marketing and CRM within the sport industry. Fiona has a wealth of experience, with over 30 years of working with top brands and teams including Premier League clubs, The FA and UEFA. She is also the co-founder of Winners, a CRM consultancy to the sport industry.
We caught up with Fiona following the lecture to get her thoughts on UCFB and advice for our students.
What’s the main difference in sport marketing between now and when you started out?
I think for potential sponsors and people who are getting engaged with sport marketing they’ve got more choice and there’s more opportunity. On the other side, there’s a greater need to show a return on investment, so when it comes to people investing in sport marketing or using sport marketing to drive their own business objectives, back in the day they might have been happy with some free tickets or some unique opportunities, whereas now they want to see real return on investment.
What should students here at UCFB looking to make their way into sport marketing be doing to make themselves known?
Thankfully we’re in a digital world – we’ve got blog posts, social media channels and LinkedIn. My recommendation to students is always to use those as much as possible. If they could write their own blog posts that’d be fantastic. If they’re not yet capable or don’t want to at least comment on other people’s, retweet, follow, network as much as they can. Do anything they can to get their head above the parapet, because I do it all the time. I see people, even if they’re students, that are constantly commenting, getting involved with things that I post. It does make me aware of who they are and what they’re doing.
What key skills should UCFB students and graduates be aiming to take into the sport marketing industry?
I don’t think it’s sport industry specific, but I think for the industry in general. Keenness, tenacity, an attitude that will have them keep on going. Focus, determination, the ability to fall down, dust yourself off and get up again. Be a team player, be flexible, be able to move at the speed of light, or not, depending on the role and the opportunity.
How could an institution like UCFB have helped your career when you started out?
I think if I had the opportunity to attend UCFB I would use the opportunity not just to learn but to network. If I had the digital and social media network that students have now I would definitely be using that as well. Without a shadow of a doubt we’re in that environment where that piece of paper matters. There’s too much of a demand to get into good jobs, so anything you can do to set yourself apart from others will be of use.
When employing and taking on interns, what do you look for in a candidate?
We’re looking for somebody who is prepared to do what it takes and is very much about rolling their sleeves up and just getting stuck in. We don’t have silos; we don’t want people saying ‘it’s not my job’. The job is to get it done. Sometimes you’re doing things you didn’t expect to do, so we’re looking for someone who has got a good approach to the team environment. We don’t work in a 9-5 world anymore, particularly in sport we have hours all over the place. Our company, while we’re not particularly bothered about someone with sport experience, we do only hire people with a passion for sport so that they understand the role that we play in the sport industry.
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