Georgia State University | Company Profile, Marketing Contacts, Media Spend, Brands
Located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, Georgia State University provides undergraduate and graduate degree programs in over 250 fields of study. Georgia State University serves as one of four research institutions under the University System of Georgia.
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INTERVIEW: GSU's new Athletics Marketing AD discusses marketing, branding vision
Newhouse joins the university from Atlanta-based, for whom he served as director of field marketing since 2010.
“Matthew is a very strong addition to the Georgia State Athletics staff, and we are delighted to welcome him to our team,” said Director of Athletics Cheryl L. Levick in a statement. “He has proven sales experience in the Atlanta market as well as significant experience marketing one of the nation’s top athletics programs. He will help enhance the game day atmosphere for our fans while building our brand in the community.”
He spoke with WinmoEdge to talk about his week on the job and his vision for setting a foundation for branding the university athletic program’s marketing strategy as GSU gears up for the upcoming football season and moving into the conference in 2013, announced during a press conference this past April.
“My job and my role are to really set a good foundation for the marketing efforts of Georgia State athletics,” Newhouse said. “From what I have seen and talked about with people in the week I’ve been here, from the positions I’ve held beforehand and where I’ve worked before, there hasn’t been that solid marketing foundation or that branding foundation.
“There have been many efforts that were sporadic, but nothing that has set a foundation to build on and to really take this athletic program to new heights and bigger and better things. One of my duties is to solidify that foundation and make sure we’re doing things right from the very beginning. We are getting back to the ‘marketing 101’ things that work and start building from there on the branding that Georgia State has been able to do over the past few years, and really set ourselves up for success with the football program going into the Sun Belt, and the basketball program as well.”
WinmoEdge reported on GSU’s huge push in 2010 to prepare for the football team’s inaugural season that focused on the Georgia Dome, the season itself, and Coach Bill Curry. In April 2008, GSU approved an $85-per-semester student activity fee to fund the football program that opened its inaugural season in 2010.
Newhouse reiterated the short-term goals of doing the university athletic branding the right way the first time. Logos and licensing may not be correct but he wants to put out the correct branding themselves in image portrayal, he said.
“We want to make sure we are building ourselves as a top athletic program and you cannot do that when your licensing is a bit behind or the actual branding image that you’re portraying is not correct,” Newhouse said.
The GSU athletics’ marketer, who has experience from the Florida State University Seminoles’ athletics program as associate director of marketing and promotions from 2006 to 2010 where he handled the nationally-ranked men’s basketball and baseball programs and several Olympic sports, recognized GSU Panthers’ intense competition in sports marketing.
Newhouse identified the Georgia Tech as some direct competition because of their long-standing professional programs with tradition and each with their own strong branding message.
One campaign aimed to engage fans, “Make Your Move,” is a call to fans to get tickets and promoting future football games, and it will carry over into the other sports programs.
“On the long term, the big things we want to have happen needed to come from community support for Georgia State athletics and be the best value in sports in the Atlanta market," Newhouse said. "We want support from students, alumni, boosters, and so on. We want to be able to build on that and build newer athletic facilities in the future.”
Established sports teams are not the only challenges out there. Another challenge to Newhouse’s plans is “Joe Fan,” the average sports fan. Joe, as Newhouse illustrated to us, will tell you that they will go to a Hawks game, Falcons game or drive to Athens, Ga., for a UGA game to get the atmosphere that they are looking for – GSU has not been perceived at that level. Newhouse wants to infuse Panthers athletic events with the high entertainment value with the best crowds and expectation to have a high fan experience from arrival to departure to change the perception of the Joe Fan.
They will continue to utilize traditional media outlets to build the GSU brand. None of Newhouse’s plans involves logo changes, because it does not benefit to establishing a brand, he said.
“You will see more social media messaging; much more use from the coaches and the players buying into what we want to do on, and have a rewards programs, not only for students but for fans as well to participate in and it’s all going to be focused around social media,” Newhouse said. “I’m going to focus a lot more on social media and a lot of grassroots marketing. I think we need to hit our fans and hit the people that have the affiliation with the school including the 150,000 alumni in the area and we need to be able to get in front of those people.”
GSU athletics’ primary consumers are its 33,000-student body and the alumni, faculty and staff; however Newhouse wants to target the youth, grade school children, church youth groups, and specific schools to integrate programs, and with scout groups. This idea, the “kids club,” is an experiential marketing method to get kids involved with GSU athletics.
“We want to get into these kids heads soon,” he said. “We’re going to be rolling out a new kids club. That will be rolling out shortly after we show the rewards program. It is going to be a great way for kids to interact with coaches and athletes, and earn discounts to come out to any of the sports events. You get a couple of kids talking about it and they will have to bring their parents out to get them to games so it is a win for us there too. We will be able to build on that opportunity to reach kids at a younger age, and it only helps us moving forward and hopefully gets them to Georgia State in the future.”
GSU presently does co-branding advertising with Centennial, Ohio-based using traditional media means to best reach their own audiences within the two companies key demos, Newhouse said.
“We are coming up with marketing plans to specifically target the demos we’re looking for,” he added. “Coca Cola has a specific research department that gives us the information to target the right people geographically and even psychographically, in making sure we’re hitting the people we need.
“Shane Company is definitely in the wheelhouse of who we want to be able to buy season tickets, ticket packs, and granted Coca Cola has the money and all of that, but we are more interested in their information dissemination. They do social media as well but we want to get with them on the co-branding aspects on what they are doing and what their plans are and how we integrate what we’re doing with that and build an advertising partner around [Atlanta] here to make that happen.”
GSU’s co-branding with the two companies aforementioned is in early stages of implementation due to Newhouse being on duty for a week.
Newhouse said he is “100 percent” very open to receiving requests from any agencies offering any services.
“We’re always looking for those opportunities because we’re always looking for whose going to be able to help us the best; and this is my philosophy, even though you may work great for a company that I think does a fantastic job, I will always hear what somebody has to say because they may be better,” he said.
Georgia State presently works with up to five agencies for social media and research services. Newhouse was unable to disclose the agencies identities.
Georgia State University
33 Gilmer St., Southeast
Atlanta, GA 30303
Assistant Director, Athletics – Marketing