Hitting a Home Run with Digital Content: A Look at the Chicago Cubs’ Rise to the Top with Kevin Saghy
Q & A With Kevin Saghy – May Luncheon Speaker
When the opportunity for his dream job opened up with the Chicago Cubs about ten years ago, Kevin Saghy jumped on it. As a fresh marketer at a time when brands were just starting to utilize social media, it was the perfect fit. On Wednesday, May 1st, Kevin Saghy will share his experience while working with the Chicago Cubs – not only on the tactical social media strategy that brought the team’s presence to the top of the league but also the fun, behind-the-scenes work environment with the legendary baseball team.
Can you give us a preview of your professional background and how you got to your position today?
I came from a marketing communications background and started out at a PR firm, Ketchum, my first three years—financial, corporate, you name it. Several brands we worked on at the time were using social media for the first time such as Kellogg’s and Best Buy.
When the Cubs job came open, I had the experience they were looking for both in traditional PR and social media. Essentially, we launched their presence on social. We had a strategy in place, but we weren’t where we wanted to be as a brand, so we hired a social media agency to look at our strategy and how we could better support the business. Ultimately, that helped us grow from average to number one in the league—which we’ll talk about during my presentation.
After eight great years with the Cubs, I wound up having to juggle the tough schedule with my newborn daughter, which became tough. First and foremost, I needed to be a good dad, so we moved closer to family in Ohio. Now I’m almost a year-and-a-half in as the Senior Director of Social Media for The Ohio State University.
Your presentation topic is titled “Hitting a Home Run with Digital Content: A Look at the Chicago Cubs’ Rise to the Top”. What does this mean for today’s marketers and what should they expect when they attend?
I’ll touch on how to integrate marketing communication efforts to better support their business. A lot of what I worked on [with the Cubs] was specific to social media, but I will talk about how it will expand into other marketing areas that we have to also dedicate time to as marketers. We’ll talk about what that build out looked like at the Cubs and how that helped us build a smarter business.
It’s fun for me to revisit these memories at the Cubs, so we’re going to talk about the “fun stuff” as well. I’m happy to answer questions about working for the team.
What is the primary point of information you’d like to share with folks attending your presentation? Who should attend?
The flexible framework we are going to talk about will be applicable to different industries and business models no matter what the goals. Just because this is focused within sports, doesn’t mean it isn’t applicable to other folks in the room. Even at the Cubs, a lot of the goals changed throughout the time working on social media and utilizing this same framework and principles, we were able to keep moving up.
As far as who should attend, this isn’t just for Cubs fans. Anyone within marketing and communications across a wide variety of industries would benefit from hearing about the framework and process we went through. Senior-level folks who are in positions critical to driving change in their organization would truly benefit from these insights, but anyone can learn from a foundational framework such as this.
How has social media changed in your time in the marketing field?
It has changed in a number of ways, but really, social media drives the news cycle now. It went from this thing that we needed to fight for attention and to prove the work of social media. Now it leads a lot of the communication efforts and it’s how people consume the news and information. Tactically, the platforms have also changed so much. It puts us in the position to learn in real-time to help increase your reach. It’s a challenge, and a fun one if you’re up for it because there is constant change in this space.
About Kevin Saghy
Prior to joining The Ohio State University in his current role as senior director of social media, Kevin worked for eight seasons at the Chicago Cubs, most recently as assistant director of communications. Kevin was responsible for promoting the club’s business
and community initiatives through integrated communications channels, including the overall direction of the team’s social media strategy and reporting. Kevin led cross-functional strategic planning, collaborated with corporate and community partners, and served as a team spokesperson to local and national media.
Under Kevin’s leadership, the Cubs’ social media team was nationally recognized for its compelling content, entertaining voice and focus toward personal engagement, including the most total interactions with fans on Twitter among any Major League Baseball club. In a 2017 social engagement study released by SportsBusiness Journal, the Cubs were recognized as the top-performing baseball team, and the only MLB club ranked among the top 25 global sports organizations.