Brian Josephs is an Account Director at REPUCOM where he manages REPUCOM’s NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL league and team clients. In this role he is responsible for using global and domestic media evaluation, consumer and sponsor market research to help clients calculate return on investment and formulate sponsorship strategies. Brian joined REPUCOM in 2010 and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing and Management from Georgetown University
GSABR: When did you know you wanted to break into sports? How did you get your first opportunities in the industry and how did Georgetown help you?
Brian: I didn’t think I wanted to work in sports until I learned about REPUCOM in my Sports Marketing Strategy course. A member of the company was a guest speaker and I was intrigued by the company and its purpose within the industry. I was very interested in marketing strategy and saw REPUCOM as an opportunity to pursue this interest, with sports being an added bonus.
Georgetown provided me a direct entry into the industry as I was hired by the same guest speaker following graduation. The access to industry executives provided by Jimmy Lynn’s class was a fantastic way to meet people with the ability to make hiring decisions and begin building my network.
GSABR: Describe your role at REPUCOM. What are your day-to-day responsibilities and how do you add value to the business?
Brian: My role at REPUCOM is to manage the client relationships, project timelines and business development across the range of clients I work on with support from our team of Account Managers. I spend the majority of my day on the phone with our clients discussing current report deliverables and their key business objectives, and how we can help them maximize the use our data in the market.
I add value to REPUCOM’s business by signing new clients and introducing new products and services to our current client base. This is done by demonstrating a thorough understanding of the data we provide and how it can be best used in the market. The worst thing you can do when providing data or market research is to deliver data that is “interesting.” Interesting data is nice to look at but often finds its way into a desk drawer. All data and findings we provide our clients must be consolidated and presented in a way that clearly demonstrates a course of action for the client to take moving forward.
GSABR: How are sports marketing, sponsorship, market research and consulting similar and different from those same functions for other industries?
Brian: I think there are a lot of similarities between these functions in sports as well as other industries. The business side of sports is often overlooked because of the attention given to the product itself but companies in the sports industry face the same challenges as those in others – mainly operating more efficiently and driving revenue and profitability.
However, I believe there has been a distinct change in the approach taken to sports in recent years that has closed the gap that used to exist. There has been a much greater emphasis placed on measuring the return on investment for sponsorship and sports marketing investments. Brands can no longer invest in sports because “everybody loves sports and we want everybody to buy our product.” Similarly, a team or event cannot deliver a sales pitch with the same tone. Establishing a link between dollars spent sponsoring a league/team/event and units sold or movement in brand health has become a requirement before deals get done.
GSABR: What kinds of students would enjoy working for REPUCOM or a similar company? What are the highlights of your job?
Brian: The students that would enjoy working at REPUCOM must be accustomed to moving at a very fast pace and enjoy working with and interpreting data. There is no “typical day” and any new employee must be comfortable with changes and new challenges that all move towards the goal of helping our clients better understand their sponsorship investments.
The highlights of my job are the wide range of clients/projects I get to work on and the global footprint REPUCOM has. I could talk to an NBA team one minute about getting an international project running and be on Skype the next talking to a colleague on the ground in the target market. That type of access is great not just as a learning experience, but to ensure a great product is delivered.
GSABR: How do you think the landscape of sports marketing and sponsorship will change in the next 3, 5, 10 years? How should students prepare to succeed in the field?
Brian: I think the trends of the last 3-5 years – global, mobile, data – are going to continue at an accelerated pace and the most noticeable change will be the blurring of lines between the US and other international countries and sports. You can already watch more Premier League games here in the US than you can in the UK, and there is significant growth opportunity for US leagues/teams in other markets that will be realized.
As quickly as change will come and continue in the industry I don’t believe there will be a dramatic change in the requirements to succeed or break in. I think there will always be a growing need for smart, well rounded people that are willing to hustle to enter in the industry and contribute to their organization immediately. That said, if you can sell you will succeed in the industry. Every employee regardless of their role or company is in a sales position and selling their product, company, or themselves (interview, relationship building).
Special thanks to Brian Josephs for his time and insight
Interview by Nik Oza
Follow Nik on twitter: @NikOza2
Follow GSABR on twitter: @GtownSports