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When Jared Drinkwater first joined BSN Sports, the company was still sending out physical catalogs to schools in an attempt to sell its products. As a veteran marketer with experience at PepsiCo and Pizza Hut, Jared knew it was time for BSN to go through a digital transformation. As the CMO of BSN Sports, Jared has been able to lead that transformation and it’s making an impact at the heart of the sports world:  at the high school level. On this episode of Marketing Trends, Jared shares  how BSN Sports is making waves at the amature level thanks to the evolution of its email marketing efforts. Puls he explains why telling the right story in the right place makes all the difference.

Key Takeaways:

  • Email Marketing is Not Dead: For BSN, having a digital-first mindset means being proactive and making sure that its products are being delivered to coaches and schools at the appropriate time. To accomplish this, BSN built a highly sophisticated and robust national selling calendar that has become and integral piece of its email marketing strategy 
  • Content is King, but It’s Not Everything: Your job as a marketer is to not only make sure you are delivering the appropriate content, but that you are also giving your sales staff and fellow employees the proper tools to feel confident and comfortable in their jobs. This means developing strategies that allow them to execute sales and be empowered in meetings.
  • Find Your Fit: Knowing your brand and your space will benefit your overall message. Use your advertising spend wisely and make sure your products are being seen in the appropriate channels. For BSN Sports, advertising dollars spent on national TV campaigns are not what move the needle, but social media and various digital channels offer more ROI.
  • Key Quotes:

“What we sell as a company is all commodity-based. You can get Nike, Under Armor and Wilson basketballs anywhere. But really, it’s the service and the things we do above and beyond to help coaches save time. That’s going to take us to the next level as a company and grow sales significantly.”

“If you don’t have your salesforce bought into your mission and the message that needs to get across to differentiate your brand in the marketplace, you’re dead.”

“For us, digital-first means getting content into the coach’s hands at the right time when they need it. … So we’ve built a really detailed and robust national selling calendar that really has morphed into a pretty sophisticated email marketing strategy.”

“You hear a lot of companies say that email marketing is dead. For us, it’s very much alive and well. And we’re seeing in the data that it’s driving a lot of engagement and then, ultimately, conversion.” 

“The cool part about this business is that all the data was there. We just didn’t have a lot of folks asking the right questions from the data that would inform strategy and marketing decisions.”

“Now, more than ever before, people just expect personalized experiences, especially personalized content.”

“The best way that I can get coaches talking about our brand is to provide a really great experience or provide a really great product to one coach in a district. And then the team shows up in really cool gear. And then they’re upset because they don’t have that gear. And they asked the coach where’d you get that stuff? And they say, BSN Sports. That’s Nirvana for me as a marketer. How do we craft experiences that the coach is going to talk about?”

“Brands need to do as much as they say.”

“The way that marketing has evolved, going in and putting a whole bunch of stuff on TV really isn’t a viable option and strategy for a CMO today. You’ve got to figure out exactly where you’re going to go hunt to tell stories the right way.”


Jared Drinkwater brings 18 years of marketing experience to BSN SPORTS, with expertise in the Consumer Package Group, Restaurant and Sports/Entertainment industries. In his most recent role as VP of Marketing at Pizza Hut®, he oversaw brand strategy and experience, advertising, media and pizza innovation for the $6B Pizza Hut brand.  Prior to Pizza Hut, Jared spent 7 years at Frito-Lay, where he managed all media, advertising, brand and sales strategy for the $2B Doritos and $1.3B Cheetos brands.

 Mr. Drinkwater earned a BA from the University of Michigan and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

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