Key Talent Additions Boost SCCA’s Digital Future

If you've attended any recent President Updates or SCCA Conventions – National virtual or in-person Divisional – you may have noticed a steady topic of discussion about the shift away from the printed member magazine, SportsCar, and the addition of a pair of talented new Marketing team members in the first 60 days of 2024.

Both are part of a much broader strategic plan to adapt to evolving communication trends and bring the Club into the digital age.

SportsCar Shift

After 80 years of publication, the January/February 2024 issue of SportsCar magazine landed in mailboxes last month as the last print edition. The decision – announced September last year – was made based on many factors including the change in media consumption habits across the past 40 years, survey data that indicated that SCCA members are spending far less time with SportsCar today than ever before, and production costs that have almost doubled across the past four years.

The Club’s Membership Demographic Survey conducted in 2023 showed that more than 30% of members spend less than 15 minutes with the magazine while only about 20% spend more than an hour. Pair that data with sharp increases in printing costs and the need to cast a much wider net for communications than current membership, and the path was clear.

“I personally enjoy magazines, especially SportsCar,” said Mike Cobb, SCCA President and CEO. “But consumption of print media has been declining for some time while digital media consumption has been increasing. Looking at this through another lens, eliminating print production costs affords us an excellent opportunity to reinvest in other – and more current – communication channels that reach way beyond membership, so this pivot will help us continue to grow the Club.”

That doesn’t mean the type of articles published in SportsCar magazine over the past several decades are going to disappear; in fact, it opens the door for more timely and impactful stories about the Club’s members and programs.

“It’s exciting to think about the possibilities for a re-imagined digital outreach,” said Kristen Poole, SCCA Director of Marketing and Communications. “The first step on that path was to invest in increasing the bandwidth and talent on the Marketing team.”

New Additions

The Marketing and Communications (MarComm) department – a service arm to the entire SCCA family, marketing the SCCA brand, programs, membership, and partners – is responsible for the evolution and maintenance of all marketing and communication channels including graphic design, written content, video, websites, email, social media, digital and print advertising, partnerships, and more.

The MarComm department underwent a dynamic shift in the first quarter of 2024 with the creation and filling of two new positions – Multi-Channel Marketing Manager and Social Media coordinator – bringing the department’s full-time staff to seven.

Multi-Channel Marketing Manager
Lifelong SCCA member Blair Deffenbaugh rejoined the SCCA staff as the Multi-Channel Marketing Manager on February 12.

With a background in data-driven marketing strategies, Deffenbaugh brings a wealth of knowledge to the team. His proficiency extends across various marketing channels, from event activations and video production to SEO optimization and website strategy, and is set to drive SCCA's marketing executions alongside Andie Albin, who holds the same title.

Deeply ingrained in SCCA's culture, Deffenbaugh's connection to the Club runs deep. Growing up at the track alongside his racing father, he held various volunteer roles, eventually earning his competition license and contributing to Region leadership on the North Carolina Region Board of Directors. With an intimate understanding of the Club's membership, Deffenbaugh is primed to help expand SCCA's communications channels and strengthen its digital footprint.

Deffenbaugh reenters the fold – with a fresh perspective and refined skill set acquired through industry experience – at an opportune time for SCCA, aligning perfectly with the Club's objectives and vision for the future.

Social Media Coordinator
Langlee King joined the Marketing and Communications department on January 29 as SCCA’s first ever Social Media Coordinator, responsible for executing the Club’s social media strategy and crafting engaging social content to drive growth in SCCA membership and event participation. The hire marks the first time SCCA will have a dedicated resource focused on intentionality and engagement across social media channels.

King graduated from Virginia Tech’s Department of Communication – and is currently studying for her Master of Arts in Communication – and gained marketing chops at VIRginia International Raceway before joining the SCCA Team.

A second-generation SCCA member out of the Cincinnati area, King has attended local Solo events since she was just seven years old, and drove in her first event as soon as she got her learner’s permit. She’s competed at National-level events since 2016, with four Tire Rack SCCA Solo National Championships podium finishes across SSL, BSL, and CSL classes.

“SCCA members are what makes this organization so special,” said King. “I’m eager and excited to bring a creative new perspective to our social media strategy, to tell your stories.”

Looking to the Future

The organizational changes and additions over the last several months have also sparked necessary shifts in other roles across the department.

Philip Royle – 17-year editor of SportsCar magazine turned SCCA’s Senior Manager of Content a couple of years ago – is at the helm of expanding the Club’s written content to include topics formerly covered in the magazine. This is set to include guest columns, anniversary celebrations and member spotlights throughout the year. All Club news will continue to be delivered to more than 150,000 email inboxes on a weekly basis via our Up to Speed newsletter – which may undergo a name change of its own as we navigate what’s next for the SportsCar brand.

Andie Albin and Blair Deffenbaugh – both Multi-Channel Marketing Managers – will execute expanded marketing, advertising, and communication channels including driving continued growth on YouTube through increased video and visual content, and email marketing expansion through marketing automation to better connect with members and potential members.

Brandy Wiggans will continue in the Marketing Services Manager role, providing logistics support to the expanded MarComm team and Contingency Program management across the organization.

Ultimately, these additions, shifts, and reinvestment of funds means the department and broader organization can focus on a website reboot – already in the beginning stages – with an eye on providing a solid foundation for all of these initiatives, and better serving SCCA Regions, members, and participants.

Pair all of that with the recent addition of Lee Grimes in the Partner Relationship Manager role, and the MarComm department is poised to accelerate.

“These changes mark a significant milestone for SCCA,” said Poole. “The talent and tools we’re developing now – sparked by the pivot away from printed SportsCar – are all aimed at setting us up for long-term success as a Club focused on a future of engagement, connection, and growth.”

Photos by Jon Krolewicz and courtesy Blair Deffenbaugh