Second in a two-part Q&A: Hartwell says marketing a key to future success [Dothan Eagle, Ala.]
(Dothan Eagle (AL) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Oct. 10--TROY -- If travelers did not realize what Division I university is closest to them while driving U.S. Highway 231 from Montgomery to Dothan, several cardinal and black billboards quickly inform them.
Troy University athletics' new marketing campaign of "It's T Time" and "Trojan Territory" are just part of some marketing changes that Troy officials have launched since John Hartwell became athletics director in October 2012.
Given Troy's placement in the state and region, marketing will be a key to overall success in Troy's athletic future, Hartwell said.
DE: How much does marketing play into your role given that this is one university amongst the shadows of two really big SEC programs (who) are successful in football and baseball from year to year?
JH: I think it's huge. I think we've got to do something in a positive way to differentiate ourselves from what Auburn and Alabama do. Certainly, you can use all the marketing tricks and gimmicks, and ultimately you've got to win.
In our case, we've got to win, but we've got to get our message out there to market our program, the entire program. You got to think outside the box, and hopefully with "It's T Time" and "Trojan Territory" going in a whole new direction with that, we're able to do that.
You know, the whole "It's T Time" and "Trojan Territory" I think have really taken off -- an effort to hone in again on those marks that are easily identifiable with Troy. We had 50-something licensed marks all across the board that some sports were using this one, some sports were using this other one. It was so jumbled in our message that without a consistent use of one or two marks, we didn't have great brand recognition.
It certainly is a focus of ours, and by honing in on our "T" and our shield logo and basically using those two logos with the emphasis being on the T... We want that "T" to become like the "U" is for Miami that no matter where folks are, they see that T and they know it's Troy. It's not Tennessee. It's not Temple. Getting that marketing campaign and brand awareness off the ground has been very important.
DE: Was part of your job learning what kind of niche Troy has within the state and the region, and if so, what do you think Troy's niche is?
JH: I'll say that I had somewhat of an idea coming in because having spent 10 years at Ole Miss. From the standpoint of yes, it's an SEC institution, yes, it's the flagship institution of the state, but still there was kind of this "underdog" feeling to Ole Miss. It was not Tennessee or Florida, and certainly while there have been some success, you haven't had the longstanding winning tradition across the board and the recent national championships ... and a 100,000-seat stadium. So I think what that did was to get me the ability to think outside the box and relish the underdog role and say, "Hey, we may not be the biggest, baddest guy on the block. But you know what? We're gonna get in here and compete. We're not going to use the fact that our budget's not as big or our stadium's not as big to not have an expectation to win."
The one thing about our fan base is boy, the passion is so strong that to be able to capture that energy and pride that our fan base has and a little bit of that underdog energy ... is going to help us be more successful in the future.
DE: One of the things you mentioned at the beginning of your tenure was the need to reach out to former student-athletes who have had great professional success, whether athletically or in the business world. How are those efforts progressing?
JH: It's gone really well. We're trying to build friendships first, and I got the opportunity three or four weeks ago to see (Dallas Cowboys defensive end) Demarcus (Ware) play in Dallas and spent a few minutes the other day on the sideline with (Buffalo Bills cornerback) Leodis (McKelvin). (It's) not just the high-profile guys: Willie Tullis is a guy that got inducted into the (Trojan) Hall of Fame last years (and) spent eight years with the Houston Oilers. I spent some time Friday and Saturday with him.
Again, just getting a comfort level with those guys. Here's the new guy on the block and he's not a Troy alum. Certainly our entire fan base is important, but those guys and ladies who I like to say put blood-sweat-tears equity to lay the foundation of Troy athletics, I want them to be comfortable with the vision of the future of the program.
(c)2013 the Dothan Eagle (Dothan, Ala.)
Visit the Dothan Eagle (Dothan, Ala.) at www.dothaneagle.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services
[ Back To Technology News's Homepage ]