An interview with Gavin Beard

Meet Gavin Beard who has taken his love for sports into industry and is now the Head of Marketing for Norwich Football Club.

Current job roleHead of Marketing
Year of graduation2013
Course of studyBSc (Hons) Sports Studies

Gavin Beard

After graduating from Herts, Gavin worked at many well respected companies such as Coral and BT Sport. He is now the Head of Marketing at Norwich City Football Club.

We recently caught up with him to find out about his role, how COVID-19 has affected the football club, the impact of relegation from the Premier League plus lots more.

What is your role at the club and what does it involve?

'As Head of Marketing, I head up a team that is responsible for all digital and campaign-based marketing, CRM, web, data and graphic design. It's an incredibly varied role. We are responsible for all marketing output across the business so the ability to juggle multiple campaigns across varying products at the same time is essential.

This can vary from a kit launch campaign to the launch of a new concert at Carrow Road. We are also going through a transformational digital project that will see us launch a new website and app in the summer, and also overhaul our digital capabilities, with a key focus on delivering much more refined targeting and a single customer view.'

What impact did relegation to The Championship have on the marketing function of the club? Does not being in the Premier League make a big difference on your job?

'The league status just shifts our priorities. When you drop down to the Championship, budgets are naturally cut due to the financial implications, but as a department we pride ourselves on our innovation, and we won't let our Championship status prevent us from tackling pioneering projects. It just means we have to be a lot more strategic as we won't have the luxury of a bigger budget to rely on.

Premier League status definitely opens the door to develop more international projects. We have more flexibility to look at establishing the brands prominence in key territories that we have an affiliation with; for example, Finland is a key market due to it being the homeland of our star striker, Teemu Pukki.

The ongoing challenge for us is making sure these projects are sustainable if we were to then drop down to the Championship.'

How has COVID-19 impacted on your day to day activities in marketing the club and what have you had to do differently?

'One of our key responsibilities is developing campaigns and the subsequent ongoing promotion of all of our matchday products, namely Ticketing, Hospitality and Matchday Experiences. With all fixtures currently behind closed doors, these products are currently redundant. As a result, again it's just shifted our priorities.

E-commerce has become a key focus due to the limited impact COVID-19 has had on that area, and we've also focused a lot of attention on our live matchday streaming product, which allows our fans to watch the games from home.'

How have you dealt with not having supporters in the ground?

'As the saying goes, football is nothing without fans. Last summer, we launched our #ApartButTogether campaign, which featured a number of matchday initiatives that ensured our fans had a voice at Carrow Road without them physically being able to be there. These ranged from video messages from fans on the big screen, motivational messages displayed on the in-stadium LEDs, and our season ticket holders' names woven into banners displayed around the stadium.

It’s clearly no substitute for real fans being there, and we’re really excited to see fans safely back in the stadium. We hosted a successful pilot event in September, where 1000 fans were permitted to attend our fixture against Preston with social distancing measures in place, and had 2000 fans in for three fixtures in December before the new lockdown begun.

The noise we heard even from these small crowds on the matchdays was a reminder of how important our fans are to the success of the team.'

What do you think the future holds when fans return and Norwich are promoted (fingers crossed)?

'It’s really hard to predict when we’ll next have a packed Carrow Road, but what an occasion it will be. With regards to promotion, while we’re in a strong position, we’re not getting ahead of ourselves.

From a marketing perspective, as ever we have planned for both eventualities to ensure we’re ready to hit the ground running when our league position is determined. Let's see what happens!'

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Premier League status definitely opens the door to develop more International projects. We have more flexibility to look at establishing the brands prominence in key territories that we have an affiliation with.