Welcome to Industry Insider by Behind Sport. Our latest guest is Exeter City’s Marketing Manager, Scott Palfrey!

 

Tell us about yourself, what is your current role and what roles have you done previously? 

I’m Scott and I’m Marketing Manager at Exeter City FC, I’ve been in the role since March 2016, so just over four years. I had studied Film and Television at University (I actually graduated 11 years ago this month, where does the time go?!

My Marketing career started at Exeter College in 2011, it was a web and digital role in charge of the website, social media and video creating, so I discovered a lot on the job and it really kick started my love of content creation and it helped me to understand all the aspects of working in the digital world. I worked there for four great years, we even won ‘Marketing team of the Year’ from all the Colleges in the country in 2012!

I left there looking to progress and joined a charity called St Loye’s Foundation in Exeter, it didn’t quite work out there and I didn’t enjoy it, so I applied for the job at Exeter as soon as I saw it (I’d supported the club since I was a child!) and after a couple interviews and meetings was delighted to get the role and have enjoyed every day since.

 

What do you do in your current role?

The club has a very small operation like most teams at our level. There is myself on marketing, Simon who is the Media Manager and Will is a part time Programme Editor.

My title can be a little ‘misleading’ as there is much more to it as I’m the only person in charge of marketing for the club. My role is completely hands on (we don’t/very very rarely use outside agencies) so create all our content ourselves. I’m in charge of all our video content, design work, managing the brand, social media communications and PR (alongside Simon on these two).  So this includes coming up with campaigns for season tickets, matches, new shirts etc.

When I started the club didn’t really have an identity as such, too many people doing too many things in a way, so we started from scratch and tried to create that ‘Exeter City’ look and feel which I think is the strongest it’s ever been. I wanted to make us the best in the league for what we do, and I feel we are certainly competing on that, and doing stuff better than a lot of teams at a higher level. Budget and staffing shouldn’t be a barrier if you have the right committed people, and those above you are happy to let you get on with what you are doing and to try new things out.

As a Supporter’ owned club it means the fans are even more important to us as a club as they keep us going to some extent. It means that we don’t take them for granted and always try and listen to their suggestions and strive to improve what we can offer as a club; we have fan engagement at the heart of everything we do. Obviously, there is a difference to have a loaded owner but there is no stability to that, just look at what happened to Bury! We currently have no debts and are in a strong position at the moment but need to carry on that path.

Personally, I feel honoured to be in this role, especially seeing as it’s one that so many people are striving to be part of. I think and hope it comes across that I have the club’s best interests at heart with everything we do, and we try and be as classy as we can when it comes to the work we do in the community, how we support people etc as it’s more than just football really, it’s a way of life and can be a religion to people.

PHOTO: Cameron Geran/PPAUK

 

What does a normal week look like for you?

No week is ever exactly the same but there are key points that happen every week. Unlike a lot of teams we are based at St James Park, the Stadium and not at the Training Ground.

On a Monday we will head out to the training ground for interview content for social media and the programme, we try and do some extra little series too that show off the players personalities, like asking them questions fans have sent in on Twitter, or pitting them against each other in a Me vs Him challenge.

A Thursday is press call day where we are at the training ground again for the weekly press briefing. The rest of the week is generally spent creating content for the website/social media.

We spend the summer months generally coming up with a plan to re-fresh and figure out what series etc we want to do for the next season.

Match days have changed a little for me recently, I used to film SJP 360 with Zandie Thornton (who also works in the shop), but we’ve got a guy who volunteers to do it as experience so I’m doing a lot more around social media on matchdays, the build-up to matches, a lot more focus on Instagram etc and then helping with match updates.

Generally get in around 11 and do the usual stadium shots etc, film players arriving, meeting fans for social and we do a short video on the starting line-up and cover as much as we can to show how good the match day experience at St James Park is really, so you can see what you’re missing if you’re not there.

After the match we do our player/manager interviews and get them out as quick as we can.

PHOTO: Phil Mingo/PPAUK

 

How did you end up where you are right now? When did you know you wanted to work in sport?

When I was a child, I really wanted to become a football commentator, just loved watching those Champions League nights on a small TV with my Dad, the 99 Man Utd final always sticks out, but I realised I didn’t really have the ability to do that.

I think like every young person who loves football (and is terrible at it!) the next best thing is to work in it. I feel incredibly lucky that I’ve been fortunate to get the job at the club which I’ve loved since a kid!

 

What are you excited about in your industry at the moment?

Mostly live football returning in some shape or form, even if it is behind closed doors, it will bring back a small sense of normality!

We’ve tried really hard to continue our output as well as we can during lockdown, especially as a supporter owned club, it’s vital that we make sure we let people know what is happening with the club with regards to the challenges and try our best to maintain that close link fans have with the club as well as trying to be creative and engaging. We have shown full length repeats of classic matches every weekend, given the opportunity to question players and the manager on Twitter, provided Junior Grecians show their creativity with colouring competitions and midfielder Lee Holmes’ created a Volcano family challenge and recently have been interviewing staff and former players/legends about their time on Zoom.

We had our DMs open on Twitter, not all clubs do that as an avenue for supporters to get in touch, or if they just want a chat, but we’ve kept a few people company and helped during these tough times.

I’m excited about just how creative an industry football is and just how far it can go, social media especially is a huge resource as it’s an instant link to supporters, it enables us to get our messages out there but to also listen to people and see what they don’t like or what’s going on. It’s also a resource for us to take inspiration from what other clubs are doing!

 

What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to work in the sports industry?

I’d say just go out there and try and get any experience you can. It really doesn’t matter at what level as long as you have a passion for it and that shows in what you can create/bring to the table. Work experience is key, we’ve had three guys now who started doing work experience and are working in amazing roles at clubs in the championship!

The one most important thing if you want to work at a lower level is to become an all-rounder. At lower levels in sport clubs don’t have the budget to have a person for each thing – social media, PR, video etc so you need to have the skillset to be able to do them all – now you don’t have to be the best at them all, just be able to do them and that will make you more employable.

 

How to follow Scott Palfrey on social media…

If you want to chat Exeter or football or anything then you can find me on…

Twitter: @ScottPalfrey

LinkedIn: Scott Palfrey

Instagram: @ScottPalfrey

 

Thanks for reading our Industry Insider feature with Marketing Manager, Scott Palfrey.