Tim Mayer will speaking on SEO Strategy at SearchFest 2016, which is being held March 10th, 2016 at the Sentinel Hotel in Portland, Oregon. For more information or to purchase tickets, please click here.

See Tim Mayer speak at SearchFest 20161) Please give us your background and tell us what you do for a living.

I started off my career building search engines in the realm of trademarks and domain names for intellectual property professionals. I built the first commercial global domain name database back in the mid 90s and also built crawlers to search for trademarks on the web and the associated context in which they were being used. The next step in my career was to build web search engines, which I did for early Internet search pioneers Inktomi, Fast, Overture and Yahoo. I spent seven years at Yahoo where my first role was leading search product management and then ran several different businesses such as search monetization and distribution, the Yahoo commerce properties and the Yahoo Front Page news desk/editorial. Since then I have been running marketing and building product for B2C and B2B companies. In terms of function I am a general manager, product manager and multi-channel marketer and I enjoy working at the strategic level as well as getting into the details and running marketing campaigns and building the product with the engineering team. I very much enjoy working on SEO, paid search, display advertising and retargeting, email and paid social campaigns acquiring leads and/or selling product. Most recently I have been on a year contract to build a new ecommerce platform, fan experience and new marketing program selling Pittsburgh Steelers merchandise as well as running campaigns to acquire members for the Steelers loyalty program called Steelers Nation Unite.

2) A large number of outlets sell Steelers gear. How do you get noticed in such a crowded marketplace?

When we set out to build the new Steelers ecommerce site we felt it was important to ensure that the site without a doubt looked and felt like the Official Steelers Pro Shop and provided shopping experiences that only the Steelers could provide to their fans. We wanted to provide an emotional and physical shopping experience that created a connection between the Steelers brand and the fans. The first differentiated fan experience we launched was called “Wear What We Wear” (https://shop.steelers.com/wear). When I looked at the data and saw what merchandise trended on the site it was based on what the coaches and players were wearing on game day and fans would see this on TV or from the Stands. We could have just put up a “what’s trending” module on the home page that could have showed fans what was being purchased but we decided to shoot quality photography of the players and coaches and document what they chose to wear. The fans could view these pictures in an entertaining way and then purchase the hats and clothing right off the pictures of the player or coach. This would also answer the questions many fans had which was “I want the hat Tomlin as wearing on Sunday”. Another differentiator we just launched is a game used and autographed merchandise area of the site called Steelers Authentic Memorabilia, which is becoming very popular. This strategy contrasts with our competition, that provides a very template-driven experience for every team. An interesting thing to note is that the Steelers and some other teams like the Patriots and Packers compete with NFLshop.com for sales.

3) How much does the fortunes of the team affect your ecommerce business?
Purchasing fan gear is driven by fan emotion. Fans want to be associated with a winning team. Traffic on the site can vary wildly throughout the season, week or even during game time. The sales are driven by wins and can be amplified to a greater extent by a series of wins. Other events such as making the playoffs, Super Bowl, winning the division/conference or a player having a big game can also drive sales. We also find that Steelers fans purchase more or less when we are on offense or defense. Purchase behavior is also driven by gender while women like to purchase before or during the game and men like to purchase after a win. So there is a lot of impact on sales by what happens on the field.

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