Catching Up With: Matt Murray, Oakley’s Sports Marketing Media Manager

Matt Murray, the sports marketing media manager at Oakley, recently took some time out of his busy schedule to answer a few of our questions about what he’s been up to and what’s to come for Oakley’s Sports Marketing Media division. Both while on the road and in the office, Murray is constantly creating new content for Oakley’s internal and external audiences, through a myriad of media outlets. We asked him to break down the ins and outs of his job, including working with Pat McIlvain, VP of Sports Marketing at Oakley, and a talented staff of media professionals.

What’s your title at Oakley and how would you describe your position?
I work in the Sports Marketing Department at Oakley, in a division called Media, and what I work on ranges from endemic to non-endemic media. The media department at Oakley talks about what athletes are doing, their involvement with products, and what’s going on with Oakley contests. We focus on internal communication with weekly newsletters and “product of the week,” and then also work with external media sources like TransWorld and Fuel TV.

Can you describe a typical day (or week, or month) at your job?
A typical day is pretty tough. A typical week or month would probably be better. A typical day falls into weekends and I spend close to about 200 days out of the year on the road, so a typical day in the office really ranges because I’m not in the office very often.  So when I am in the office it’s centered around working with Pat Mac directly – my boss – and then also making sure I’m catching up with all the sports marketing managers and making sure I know the latest with what’s happening with their athletes and their events. But when I’m on the road, it’s a lot of its photography, and  working with local and national media depending on what’s going on. It really ranges. A typical day is about 12 to 14 hours. I typically get up pretty early – it’s just my personality – and then end up working pretty late even when we’re done doing shoots and things like that, a lot is just going back, editing photos, getting things ready and prepped that will go online whether that be external websites or whether it’s something for internal communication that we’re going to do.

How many different sports do you work across?
It covers a little over 20 sports. It’s literally Cricket, which is the world’s most watched sport, all the way to baseball, track and field, sailing, cycling, FMX,  MX – and all your action sports. So it comes down to trying to balance all of it, because, especially in times like this, what might be the coolest story isn’t necessarily going to help the brand the most to move product and generate sales. It really comes down to helping [retailers] as much as possible.

Your background is in Action Sports. What portion of your time is dedicated to traditional sports versus boardsports at Oakley?
Action sports still probably gets half of my time. Because we do live in Southern California, it does play a very vital role. Pat talked about it before, but even the sports performance athletes love the fact that Oakley is so deeply entrenched in the action sports world and it brings that cool culture of what Oakley is really all about. We do a lot of things different at Oakley and I think that’s what really separates us. So we want to be able to tell both sides of it, and in the end I would say boardsports is still a major part of our time. It’s also the one area that we’re still growing. Obviously sports performance still needs to get a  lot of attention but it’s always going to be there in a sense so you just have to feed it at the right time.

What was your background before becoming a part of the Oakley team?
I’ve been at Oakley for just under three years. When I initially came on, I came on as a journalist. Pat and I talked about what the evolution of my position would be. My first interview was with Pat and he was nice enough to let me sit down with Scott Bowers, his boss, who oversees all of marketing globally and brand communications as a senior VP. One of their top questions to me was where I saw myself in three to five years with Oakley. So that’s what really turned me on to stop working for myself.

Because prior to Oakley I had been working for myself for over five years, basically being – for lack of a better term – a brand marketing consultant. So my clients ranged from financial companies that I would write their marketing campaigns for, to endemic – Burton doing their Learn To Ride Program I would do a lot of photography for them, doing a lot of regional work for Oakley with a rep in New England named Mark Wakeling who’s a good friend of mine, all the way to a software company called Absolute Software that does security for the United States, which was actually really cool. It was building Web sites, creating campaigns, and doing a lot of photography. So I wanted to find a way to integrate that with one particular company, because I’d hit a point in my life where I was doing a lot of the same projects for the just different companies so I kind of felt like I was spinning my wheels and wasn’t really learning anymore I was just trying to apply what I learned to other companies. Because the longest I could keep a client was about two years before they realized that would save more money by just hiring me to work full time than to pay me as a consultant.

How do you look at what you do for the company as driving sales and effecting the bottom line?
since it’s so new I don’t know how much we can really truly tell how much sports marketing media really helps or effects the bottom line. The online world is amazing now because you can track click through and time on pages. I mean page views as a whole is kind of a distorted number we can all tell that when people pitch what they say they get for traffic. But as a whole averages over 1.5 million unique visitors a month, of that it’s about 70 million page views. Granted a lot of that is ecommerce based, but of that 1.5 million, over 300,000 are people visiting our sports section where Tess and I are posting original content about what our athletes are up to. So it’s a great way to associate products directly to athletes and vice versa. I think it’s something that’s just really starting to take off. So to be able to measure it right now will be a little tough but I think Oakley Week with Fuel TV was a huge indication of where we can take the media department and I look forward to trying to grow that with other media outlets.