Vertin enjoying chance to have success with Bacon

Photo provided to the Daily Mining Gazette The Bacon’s marketing staff are up against professional staffs from the Sharks, Browns, Raptors and more in chasing a SAMMY Monday in Las Vegas.

MACON, Ga. — Sometimes the biggest ideas can come from the humblest beginnings.

On Feb. 11 in Las Vegas, Nevada, Calumet native Tyler Vertin, director of marketing, and members of his communications staff, will be up for a SAMMY (Sales, Advertising, Marketing and Management Idea of the Year) award for their work in promoting the Macon Bacon baseball team.

The team behind the SAMMY awards became aware of the Macon Bacon, which became the team name after a fan poll chose Bacon as the favorite, after their marketing push in May. The ticket staff of the team presented their season ticket holders with their tickets, and they did so in a very memorable way that helped endear them to the community.

“We gave our season ticket holder boxes of bacon with their tickets inside,” said Vertin. “It was designed to look like you actually went to the store and picked up a box of bacon.”

With the boxes, the Bacon marketing team struck the right mix of comedy, and marketing, gold.

From there, Vertin and his staff went to work on making everything that they could relate back to bacon.

“Everything that we can make bacon, whether it smells like bacon or looks like bacon, we did it,” said Vertin. “Everyone, for the most part, loves bacon. It kind of made my job easy as a marketing person to really sell it and make it fun.”

Soon, the push went viral thanks to one of their sports broadcasting staples, Darren Rovell.

“Darren Rovell found it and put it on Twitter,” said Vertin. “From there, people saw it and contacted us and told us that we needed to get in on this other award, the SAMMY award. Basically, you just pitch your campaign that you did.”

The Bacon marketing team got to work on submitting their work, which included their entire first-season plan, which the bacon ticket boxes, their mascot, Kevin (a piece of bacon), the fact that their mascot’s number is 6 degrees.

Of course, being able to put a quality product on the field helped as well.

“It was kind of all of those things together,” said Vertin. “Then we had a tremendous year. We sold out half of our games. (We were in) the Top 10 in attendance in the country for summer collegiate baseball.”

The Bacon are up against some franchises from the top professional leagues, which shows a high level of respect for what Vertin and his co-workers accomplished.

“To be able to show that a small team in Macon, Georgia, can make such a big impact in this industry,” said Vertin, “up against the San Jose Sharks, the Cleveland Browns, the Toronto Raptors, the Frisco RoughRiders and the Los Angeles Football Club, it’s kind of crazy. They are all professional teams, for the most part. Then there’s us, a tiny little team with eight people in the front office.”

Having professional franchises like the Sharks, Raptors and Browns up for a SAMMY makes sense to those in the industry, the teams are some of the most creative in marketing their squads to their throngs of fans across the country. When put to task by Bacon owner Jon Spoelstra suggested that Vertin put his team’s hat in the ring, so to speak, the Calumet native was skeptical, but he put together a video about the team and the marketing plan.

“I was like, ‘We can put it in there and see what happens’,” Vertin said. “I wasn’t really sure that was going to get it. Then, when I got the email, I said, ‘I guess we’re going to Vegas.’ It’s kind of crazy.”

Vertin found his way to Macon via the league the Bacon play in. The Bacon are in the Coastal Plain League, and in the summer of 2016, he spent the season as an intern with the league office, so he became a bit of a known quantity when the Bacon were looking to build their marketing team.

“I never thought I would work in baseball,” he said. “It’s definitely not my No. 1 sport. I prefer hockey and football, but I took an internship two years ago in the Coastal Plain League. I kind of just went in there as a marketing intern and kind of did a little bit of everything.”

As Vertin was looking to go back to the league the following summer to try to get some more experience, he started doing a little research and discovered that Macon was adding a team in the league. He applied for, and got the director’s job before he had even finished at Northwood University. At that point, he made the decision to head to Macon and finish his final semester at Northwood online.

No matter what happens Monday during the ceremony, which starts at 2:30 p.m., Vertin feels as though he has made the right decision to pursue a career in sports marketing.