Welcome to Industry Insider by Behind Sport. Our latest guest is Emily Clark, Head of Sales and Marketing at Surrey County Cricket Club & The Kia Oval.
Tell us about yourself, what is your current role and what roles have you done previously?
My name is Emily Clark, I’m 28, and I’m Head of Sales and Marketing at Surrey County Cricket Club/The Kia Oval. I’ve been at the Club for just four years, having joined at the end of the 2016 season and have been fortunate enough to experience a County Championship Title winning season in 2018, as well as an ICC Champions Trophy Final in 2017, and Sir Alastair Cook’s final Test innings in which he scored 147. There’s never a dull season!
Prior to that, I worked at Grabyo as Marketing and Communications Manager and as a Senior Account Executive at the excellent Pitch Marketing Group.
What do you do in your current role?
A bit of everything! I oversee the Club’s marketing, content, ticketing and membership areas. The diversity of the role is great, and means I get involved in lots of different areas of the Club.
I can be involved in designing a new website, creating social media content, running digital advertising, producing membership material, replying to customer queries, and planning our marketing strategy for future matches – all in a few days.
What does a normal week look like for you?
The scope of work changes quite a lot depending on where we are in the cricket season. People often joke about what you do in the winter months when you work in cricket, but that is the period in which we sell 85% of our Memberships, and the majority of our International tickets for the following summer.
Most of my KPIs are around Membership and ticket sales and making sure that we are driving revenue through both retention and acquisition in these areas. Naturally, the start of my week involves a lot of catchups and planning meetings and analysing our sales data to ensure we are on-track to reach our daily and weekly goals. We set intricate forecasts, and I am strict with how closely we follow these and adapt immediately when necessary.
As the marketing department assists all areas of the business, each week is different, but that is what makes the role fun.
How did you end up where you are right now? When did you know you wanted to work in sport?
I’ve never contemplated not working in sport and it seemed natural for me to do so. As a kid, I wanted to be Georgie Thompson and talk football all day and every day on Sky Sports News!
I left Durham University early in my third and final year – still completing my degree – to move to London and into a social media and communications role at Pitch Marketing Group, which I felt was as close to journalism as I could find at the time. Working at an agency you are exposed to lots of great people, in different roles, at different sports organisations and you learn quickly. I am really grateful for that opportunity and I feel extremely fortunate to have worked with some incredible clients such as NBA, Virgin and LaLiga.
I’ve always been excited by technology and moved to Grabyo – a technology start-up with a lot of sports clients – to satisfy my interest in that area. I was there for a year, but when the opportunity came to work in marketing at Surrey County Cricket Club, I couldn’t pass it up.
I started at Surrey County Cricket Club as Marketing Manager, before moving to Head of Marketing and then into my current role as Head of Sales and Marketing.
What are you excited about in your industry at the moment?
People have been talking about data a lot within the sports industry for a while now, but I still think there is a long way to go to ensure that it is used effectively to drive commercial revenues, but also to improve the fan experience.
We have lots of data capture opportunities that we aren’t maximising, but also then using that data in an effective way. We’ve had great success in personalising and tailoring marketing assets and information based on data in recent years, but we have only scratched the surface and I am excited to see how we, and other sports organisations, can explore this in the future.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to work in the sports industry?
I have worked with, and for, a lot of great people in the sports industry and I’ve picked up lots of great advice along the way, so it’s hard to pick just one.
I recently read Bob Iger’s ‘A Ride of a Lifetime’, and something that stuck with me was his quote:
“Ask the questions you need to ask, admit without apology what you don’t understand, and do the work to learn what you need to learn as quickly as you can.”
My experience in starting my career at an agency is one I’d recommend. You learn a lot quickly and are thrown in at the deep end. It’s hard work, but it’s an incredible way to learn and figure out what you enjoy, or don’t enjoy – which can be more important!
How to follow Emily Clark on social media…
@EmilyClark11 on Twitter.
Thanks for reading our Industry Insider feature with Head of Sales and Marketing, Emily Clark!