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IAB Member Spotlight: PGA TOUR

IAB Member Spotlight: PGA Tour 5

Learn, Lead, Succeed

The IAB Member Spotlight highlights members’ exceptional efforts to learn, lead, and succeed by leveraging IAB member resources and thought leadership channels.

Participation in our initiatives not only empowers committees & councils to create industry specifications, guidelines, and best practices, but also gives members the opportunity to have their voice heard and receive visibility for their efforts.

In this Member Spotlight, we spoke with representatives of PGA TOUR. PGA TOUR’s digital team has taken a lead role in the IAB professional certification program, engaged in numerous IAB strategic initiatives, and much more.

Member: PGA TOUR
Member Since:
2013
# of Employees Involved:
Total staff of about 80. ~20 involved in the IAB.
# IAB Initiatives:
20
# Certified Employees:
8 (Including 100% first-time pass rate for the IAB Digital Ad Operations Certification)
Total Events Attended:
38
Interested in being featured in a future member spotlight? Email [email protected].

What does your company do, and specifically how does it serve the digital ecosystem?

PGA TOUR Digital is the digital publishing arm of the PGA TOUR, responsible for connecting fans with its players and tournaments on any screen, any device — be it on your computer, over-the-top, or in your hand. It is part of the PGA TOUR, which is the world’s premier membership organization for touring professional golfers, co-sanctioning more than 130 tournaments on the PGA TOUR, PGA TOUR Champions, Web.com Tour, PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada and PGA TOUR China.

What are some recent accomplishments worth noting?

Over the past 15 months, the Revenue Operations team has:

  • Substantially improved viewability while simultaneously growing year-over-year revenue. 2015 was a year of record sales numbers, despite the need to reduce overall inventory.
  • Achieved a near-perfect quality standard of losing less than one tenth of one percent of revenue due to avoidable errors.
  • Successfully overseen the launch of an over-the-top video subscription service.
  • Grown revenue opportunities outside of owned-and-operated platforms, extending client opportunities to include YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.
  • Successfully navigated the ongoing deprecation of Flash as a platform for creative execution, embracing HTML5 as an alternative. This included introducing new HTML5 cross-platform and interactive creative units.

Learn

How did you/your team leverage IAB resources over the past year to learn and what was your take-away from the experience?

IAB Member Spotlight: PGA Tour 3
Samantha Miller, PGA TOUR

Samantha Miller, Ad Product Manger
As part of the Tablet Committee, I helped research and write the “Tablet Playbook: Practical Advice for Tablet Advertising” that was published in early December of 2015.

Working alongside members from Amazon, Condé Nast, Yahoo and other companies was fantastic. I’m relatively new to working exclusively in digital advertising, and I found fellow team members to be very helpful and knowledgeable. Being able to contribute helped provide me with enhanced confidence. It also introduced me to new colleagues that I can connect with as I help my team develop the right products that resonate with our users and advertisers.

IAB Member Spotlight: PGA Tour 2
Hunter Drake, PGA TOUR

Hunter Drake, Account Representative
Being an active member of the Digital Media Sales Certification Committee has provided me with a deeper understanding of the breath of digital advertising products.

Since 2015, I have helped the committee review the performance of active test questions. Each quarter we analyze candidate results on certification tests, editing and retiring questions when necessary. We also write new test material for pilot tests and study guides, making sure candidates have an understanding of the current digital landscape.  In 2016, I participated in the Job Task Analysis for Media Sales effort. We revisited the Media Sales examination blueprint, determining revelant/emerging content and adjusting the examination weight for each subject. 

I recently transitioned from a sales planning function into an account management role with the PGA TOUR, and the knowledge I gained through my IAB involvement helped make that progression possible.

Lead

How have you leveraged a leadership role at IAB over the past year and what was your take-away from the experience?

IAB Member Spotlight: PGA Tour
Mike McLeod, PGA TOUR

Mike McLeod, Director, Ad Product & Technology
After I contributed to the development the updated Digital Video Ad Serving Template (VAST 4.0) with the Digital Video Technical Standards Working Group, I was invited to help present the Understanding and Adopting VAST 4.0 webinar.

The experience provided me with two things:

  • Preparing for the webinar, I gained a deeper understanding and appreciation for all sections of the new specification, particularly those in which I hadn’t contributed directly.
  • Then, during the preparation, and afterwards, I had a number of great conversations with peers at other organizations that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. They reached out to me about specific issues that mattered to them, such as the ad verification provisions and the inclusion of a universal ad ID field.

It provided me with new knowledge and connections to colleagues that will help inform PGA TOUR’s digital video ad serving plans in the future.

What initiatives is PGA Tour looking forward to working with the IAB and its member companies on; and how do you motivate your colleagues to get involved?

IAB Member Spotlight – Learn, Lead, Succeed
Raef Godwin, PGA TOUR

Raef Godwin, Vice President, Revenue Operations
Understanding the strategic options and tactics available to publishers and advertisers to react to the rise of ad blocking software is a key area for us. Our involvement with IAB’s efforts will help inform our own path forward.

I’m also looking forward to continuing to help discover, shape, and document best practices as viewability becomes a standard in mobile and reaches a greater operational maturity. We would like to contribute to the conversation as publishers and advertisers move from measuring the opportunity to see to measuring the impact of attention and time in-view.

Finally, I’m excited about the ongoing IAB education efforts. I’m looking forward to helping the IAB Education Foundation, as well as my team and I continuing to help develop the IAB Digital Ad Operations Certification and IAB Digital Media Sales Certification exams.

To encourage involvement, I talk about the results that being involved drives. I communicate that being a part of the conversation and understanding the thinking behind the standard-setting processes leads to better outcomes. And I communicate it with conviction. Anyone I talk to regarding this can get a sense of the enthusiasm with which my team and I embrace IAB involvement.

Succeed

How has your engagement with IAB supported your company’s growth in the digital ecosystem?

Raef Godwin, Vice President, Revenue Operations
PGA TOUR Digital is headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. This creates a geographical challenge for the Revenue Operations group, whose peers are located in places such as New York City and San Francisco. Part of the way we can address that is by attending IAB events in-person when we can, dialing into webinars, and getting involved in committees and working groups.

 

The PGA TOUR works with world-class brands, agencies, and partners on complex marketing activations. Having the knowledge that comes through working with fellow colleagues on IAB initiatives has helped us execute better.

That involvement has been critical for the professional growth of the PGA TOUR staff. We are a relatively young and growing team. Prior to 2013, the group didn’t exist. Until then, the PGA TOUR published digitally under a partnership with a major media company. For us, the in-depth participation has helped the team mature at a faster rate than would have been possible otherwise. It has led to the team possessing more in-depth knowledge and confidence. The PGA TOUR works with world-class brands, agencies, and partners on complex marketing activations. Having the knowledge that comes through working with fellow colleagues on IAB initiatives has helped us execute better.

We also use the expectation of IAB involvement as a recruiting tool when hiring. It helps send the signal of the level of professionalism we expect, and that expected involvement helps us attract, and also retain, staff. Our support of IAB participation is an investment in our team.

Samantha Miller, Manager, Ad Products
Samantha Miller is responsible for conducting continuous research and identifying emerging trends in the digital advertising landscape. Sam leads the execution of new and improved ad product and technology initiatives across the PGA TOUR online portfolio. It includes display, video and mobile advertising products. It includes creating and driving product requirements, determining revenue impact and interacting with cross functional teams. Sam’s career started on the agency side working as a Media Coordinator for a boutique agency in Tampa, FL. From there her career took her to Comcast Spotlight where she worked with both traditional and digital media for marketing and promotions. She has since followed the digital path as a Product Marketing Manager for Web.com to where she is today at the PGA TOUR.Hunter Drake, Account Manager
Hunter Drake is an Account Manager for the PGA TOUR in their Digital Media department. He works closely with a portfolio of Marketing Partners and Title Sponsors to develop and execute sponsorships and marketing plans across various digital media platforms. Prior to working in digital media Hunter held various consultant and auditor positions in healthcare and corporate compliance.

Mike McLeod, Director, Ad Product and Technology
Mike McLeod oversees revenue and advertising systems for digital publishing arm of the PGA TOUR. He also has responsibility for the league’s evolving portfolio of digital ad products.
Mike has also worked as a lead producer in WebMD’s custom sponsorship group, and as a project manager within the digital division of The Home Depot. But the bulk of Mike’s 20-year career has been spent leading a wide variety online sports and news media interactive development initiatives, including stints with Turner Broadcasting and with Morris Communications.

Raef Godwin, Vice President, Revenue Operations
Raef Godwin oversees all aspects of global revenue operations for the PGA TOUR’s digital properties. This includes directing ad technology, yield optimization, data management and programmatic sales strategy. Raef has overseen the PGA TOUR’s ad operations development through long-term strategic partnerships with CBS and, more recently, Turner Broadcasting. He also managed the transition to an in-house model in 2012. The migration included setting up pitch-to-pay operational processes and architecting the build out of a staff of approximately 20 that serves as a central business operational unit connecting many aspects of the organization’s structure, including sales, legal, finance, marketing, content and product development. Raef holds a bachelor’s degree in Advertising from the University of Florida and a master’s in Sports Management from the University of Massachusetts.