By ELISE ADAMS
On Thursday, Oct. 20, Kyle Ragsdale, the Executive Vice President for the Chief Marketing Officer at Billy Casper Golf, came to speak in the Digital Auditorium of the Hurley Convergence Center.
The lecture gave business students background in what they needed to know in how to get started working for a business and how to rise in that business. It was also very informing about marketing, since Ragsdale talked about how to take a brand and connect it to a tactic which becomes a marketing strategy, something very helpful for the students interested in business.
Most of the students who attended the lecture went because their business class required it, however others went because they wanted to learn more about how to get their name out there in the business world.
Nelson Caballero, a junior, went for his marketing class. He’s a business major who wants to try to help market companies that have small businesses.
“Basically [my objectives are] getting more partnership with small businesses and seeing wha new strategies there are to help them succeed. Also, to find out what their strengths and disadvantages are,” Caballero said.
Yousef Nasser, a junior communications major, introduced Ragsdale, and informed the audience about Ragsdale’s success.
Starting with a background of being a Certified Public Accountant, Ragsdale is now the Executive Vice President for the Chief Marketing Officer at Billy Casper Golf, the largest domestic owner-operator of golf courses and country clubs across the country. He is also the Managing Director for Buffalo Agency, Billy Casper Golf’s wholly owned full service marketing firm focusing on golf, athletic and lifestyle brands.
However, before his major role at Buffalo, he was the Vice President of Business Affairs and Finance for Vox Media, Inc., where he oversaw all marketing, sales and finance functions for Sports Blogs.
Before he worked at Vox, Ragsdale worked with SB Nation, which he applied to the Verge, Vox.com, Curbed, Racked, ReCode, Polygon and Eater. To add onto his success, he has been the lead relationship executor for some of the largest consumer name brands like Sprint, Comcast, Proctor and Gamble, Bud Light, Unilever, Samsung, Microsoft, NFL Network, BMW, Coca Cola brands, Starbucks and more.
During the lecture, we learned Ragsdale’s motto is to “do what you love,” which he learned from his best friend. Ragsdale is very passionate about what he does, and feels that “doing what you love and loving what you do” is one of the most important things.
“I would not be very good at selling soap or a brand manager for something I don’t care about,” Ragsdale said.
To help educate others about marketing, he lectures at Georgetown University, where he emphasizes “The Eddie Principle,” based on his best friend, Eddie, who was diagnosed with cancer and told he had only three months to live.
Another thing he teaches in his marketing class, which is helpful for the students interested in business, is to take a brand and connect it to a tactic, which then becomes a marketing strategy. He tells us that “you use positioning to get to that target.”
Ragsdale, who is the brother-in- law of President Troy Paino, loves sports. So with the Eddie Principle in mind, he chose to be a sports marketing agent for a golf company. They took what was going on in sports, and turned it into a media operated company that has 115 million users and is worth a billion and a half dollars.
Though he made it all look easy, Ragsdale wanted to stress to students that they need to know how the hiring process works in the business field.
“You don’t luck into the job you want; you need a plan attached,” Ragsdale said. “You need to think about the target and elements for who you are, then apply marketing framework to your personal career path.”
He stressed on six key elements for being successful in marketing: education, experience, accomplishments, personality, writing skills, technical aptitude, social graph and the “It” factor, which he described as something that will give you a good interview every time because you just have something about you.
He stressed the writing factor, because “even if you aren’t good at interviewing, if you’re good at writing, your writing proves you are a clear thinker and a good communicator, which is very important.”
For a student, hearing those six points was very helpful in the way that it was like a checklist of things you needed to have to be good and successful in a marketing business, and when you had many of them, it felt reassuring.
Ragsdale was asked to come lecture at UMW after talking with a friend and soccer player here who introduced Ragsdale to Dr. Richardson, the Dean of the College of Business.
Nasser described the lecture as being “very informative, personal and interesting” even for someone not majoring in business.