SBJ/October 8-14, 2012/Game Changers

Game Changers: Beth Hirschhorn

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Photo: JENNIFER ALTMAN / METLIFE
For Hirschhorn, with Giants owner Steve Tisch (left) and
Jets owner Woody Johnson, the MetLife Stadium represents
more than signage.
Beth Hirschhorn
MetLife
EVP, Global Brand, Marketing and Communications
It has been only a year since the formal announcement of MetLife’s naming-rights deal with the New Jersey stadium that the NFL Giants and Jets call home. Super Bowl plans for 2014 at the venue are not close to being set. Still, Beth Hirschhorn, MetLife executive vice president of global brand, marketing and communications, has something to talk about — but she knows it will need more definition to have the impact MetLife wants, especially in an insurance category, where marketing spending has escalated to an astounding $3 billion a year. “We’re already the most-viewed brand of any NFL stadium sponsor, but it has to be about more than signage,” Hirschhorn said. Now the heavy lifting starts. “We’ve seen the kind of improvement we wanted as far as adding dynamism to a brand that was already considered strong and trusted,” she said. “Now it’s about creating an engaging experience for all the people who walk through the stadium [2 million a year] with complementary brand attributes. … It really is amazing how much this industry has woken up to marketing, but the challenge is to spend smart. Anyone can spend more.”
— Terry Lefton
  • Crowning professional achievement: MetLife Stadium is certainly the most visible, but to me it is really the overall portfolio of reimagined properties and products for MetLife.
  • What is the best advice you’ve ever received?: A problem well defined is 80 percent solved.
  • What advice would you give to yourself 10 years ago?: If you’re doing work you believe in and you’re good at it, you will always succeed.
  • How would you describe effective business leadership?: A constant stream of decisions and executions with a destination in mind.
  • Person who had the biggest influence on your career in sports: Russ Herz, my mentor and boss at JPMorgan Chase (now retired). He was hard on me, but I learned so much from him.
  • The biggest challenge I face working in the sports business is …: Most people not realizing that sports marketing is less about sports than it is about marketing.
  • One attribute I look for when hiring is …: Imagination.

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING

“Beth is very sharp and rational. She doesn’t find reasons not to do something. When we asked her about the stadium entitlement, she was willing to devote time and resources. Other people said no first before they even knew why. She was willing to think it through.”

  • Mark Lamping, Jacksonville Jaguars president, formerly MetLife Stadium president and CEO
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