SBD/January 8, 2014/People and Pop Culture

Minding My Business With Wasserman Senior Dir of Consulting Jez Ratliff



Ratliff (r) married JD Lubenetski last June at the American Tobacco Campus in Durham
As captain of the Florida State Univ. women's soccer team, Wasserman Media Group Senior Dir of Consulting JEZ RATLIFF set out for a career geared toward college athletics administration. But her grad school mentor at the Univ. of Central Florida, Bill Sutton & Associates Principal BILL SUTTON, opened her eyes to the world of sports agencies. Ratliff said, "I love it because you get to touch so many different pieces of the business." Originally from Oklahoma, Ratliff spent three years with Wasserman in L.A. but now lives in Durham and works out of Raleigh, consulting with PepsiCo on global strategic planning. She spoke with THE DAILY this week about the increasing emphasis on big data in marketing, the importance of team chemistry, and her affinity for all things PowerPoint.

There's no Rosetta Stone...
When you get into some of the more emerging markets, you are working on properties that are less formal and less established from a marketing sense. You have to think about negotiation differently, think about what those partners have rights to that as a sponsor you can go out and get. Just understanding those intricacies market to market is probably the biggest challenge.

Trends in the marketing world...
I'm happy that I'm seeing big data, and the emphasis on data-driven decisions. We were trying to push our clients towards really making strategic decisions based on that data, now clients are asking for and demanding that. Some of the more specific market studies, sports studies, etc., that we have available to us in the U.S. are not as readily available by any means internationally. So there's definitely a big opportunity for whoever wants to deliver those. And it's something that everybody is looking for.

Negotiating goes wrong when...
Usually having a deadline messes everybody up, because then you're working to an endpoint, not to a mutually agreeable, collaborative agreement. But the biggest thing is being too stuck in your ways about exactly what you have to have, and not thinking about the other partner.

Best advice...
Follow the money. When I was interning out at Nike, HOWARD WHITE, who is an executive for Brand Jordan, belabored that point about, "Follow the money, and you'll find out why decisions are being made." If you follow the money, the motivation behind it, you usually find your answer.

Looking for in a hire...
Self-starter, curious, resourceful, proactive, team-first. It's as simple as it was in sports. When practice is over, there are some players who'll just walk straight to the locker room, and there are some who start picking up cones and just chipping in. It's harder to evaluate in a sit-down interview, but people who don't need to be asked to start doing something.

Morning media staples...
Definitely e-mail first, and then Twitter. For my morning drive it's "MIKE & MIKE." I'm also a big fan of Brand Channel, and reading everything from that to Buzzfeed to know what's going on in the world.

Talking tech...
I'm always excited when the new version of PowerPoint comes out, because I spend so much of my work life in it, I like to see what they thought of next. As for my phone, I held onto my Blackberry as long as I possibly could because I was so addicted to the keyboard. But I have transitioned over to the iPhone.

Bull City's best bites...
Durham is definitely an emerging food scene. There's a great place downtown called Mateo, it's a tapas restaurant. I'm also a big fan of Pizzeria Toro and then Full Steam Brewery.

Best buds...
I'm still very, very close to all my former teammates. Every single one of my bridesmaids except for my future sister-in-law were former Florida State teammates.

Stress relief...
Go for a run. I think it’s the soccer player in me, but if I'm really that stressed out, I'm outside and running.

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