Interview with Marc Raiken, Marc Raiken, Manager of Sales & Athlete Marketing (Golf) at Wasserman Media Group

By: Adam White, @FOSAdam

Marc Raiken, Manager of Sales & Athlete Marketing (Golf) at Wasserman Media Group

Front Office Sports is proud to have sat down with Marc Raiken, Manager of Sales & Athlete Marketing (Golf) at Wasserman Media Group. Marc is an alumnus of the University of Miami where he received his Bachelor’s of Science in Sports Administration. One of the brightest minds in the golf industry, Marc made his mark on the PGA Tour before transitioning to his current role at WMG. He was gracious enough to offer up his insight on how important sales knowledge is, how sponsorships in sports are changing, and how important it is to be able to deal with rejection.

How did your previous positions help you get to where you are today?

Everything was a building block. I was able to network and hone my skills at each position which helped me not only get to where I am today, but succeed in my current position. When I interned for the World Golf Championships in Miami, I was lucky enough to meet the right people, network and then turn that internship into a full time job where I was able to build a knowledge base in golf. There is not a day that goes by where I don’t use that broad knowledge of golf to help me in my current position.

What is the average day like for a person in your position? What are the day-to-day challenges of your position?

For me, it’s a lot of cold emailing and outbound outreach as I try to get in front of as many companies as possible. It is certainly a numbers game in that regard. The day is also filled with a lot of research, as I have to find what markets and trends are hot, and what companies and brands are looking for. It also takes a little bit of creativity and forward thinking.

How does your previous experience in sales help you in your current career?

Honestly, I only had a small amount at my Doral internship, but the person I worked with their told me that “Sales is your way in the door. It’s your way to advance..” Sales will always be a part of your job no matter what position or industry you are in. Sales to me is a game. I love to challenge myself to figure out what the fine line is that I can toe until someone gets so angry with me that they don’t want me contacting them. No matter what position you are in, you have to make sales fun.

What is your favorite part about working in the sports industry?

It is obviously something I love and there are so many people who are passionate about it. You want to have fun with your job. Do you want to work to live, or live to work? Could I probably be making more money outside of sports? Sure, but I would much rather enjoy what I do.

How do you see sports marketing and sponsorships changing over the next few years?

I think brands are less enamored with just putting their names on things; they want to know how their brands can be activated through multiple channels. I think that the content creation aspect is going to grow exponentially. Brands are interested in how they can organically showcase their brand and what channels they can activate through.

What is your ultimate career goal?

I honestly do not know. I still view this step as a building block. Getting to the brand side has always intrigued me. It would be great to be the person with the money, instead of the person asking for the money. Time will tell where I want to be, but I’m extremely happy where I am. I’m open to really anything.

What are some tips you have for people who are trying to become successful in the sports industry specifically the marketing aspect?

Don’t just get into sports because you like going to games. Get into it because of the business side instead of using sports as a vehicle to watch games.

What is the best career advice you’ve been given so far?

Never ask someone to do something you wouldn’t do yourself. Also, never be afraid to do anything. Other people will applaud the extra effort. Say yes as much as possible.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

I would have to say it was the first deal I made. It was a deal between Zach Johnson and Country Inn and Suites. We put their logo on his left sleeve, and he makes appearances for the brand, social media promotions, and more. It was great to see it all come together.

What does WMG do better than other companies to make it one of the biggest and best global sports, entertainment and marketing companies?

WMG is great and I truly think the level of personal interaction is what makes it so great. When you have a company that is owned day-to-day by one single person, it makes a very large difference. Things get done quicker and we are able to capitalize on better opportunities. Casey Wasserman is a great leader, who is engaged and personal and makes working for WMG a pleasure. Our level of personalization is our strongest point.

Quick Quotes

“Sports is about who you know, but if you don’t have a good solid functional skill set, then who you know won’t take you far.”

“The way I have to get the deal done is to show the company why they should use golf to showcase their brand and how it can differentiate them from others.”

“I probably don’t hear from people on 75% of the things I send them. You have to be able to deal with rejection.”

“When you call someone you have 15 seconds to tell them why you’re calling and after you say your name and the company you represent, you have about 7 seconds left.”