The content she and her team generate has been seen by millions — actual millions of people — all over the globe. Remember when the Milwaukee Brewers spoofed The Sandlot with an instant classic on social media to kick off the historic 2018 season? Or the Dumb and Dumber and Mean Girls parodies that followed? How about the videos of Brewers legend Bob Uecker and MVP Christian Yelich popping celebratory champagne in a locker room following the 2018 postseason celebrations?
Caitlin Suess Moyer, DSHA ’01, is the Director of New Media for the Milwaukee Brewers, and she and her team were behind it all — both figuratively in the ideation and strategy; and literally, working behind a screen to provide behind-the-scenes access to the over 2 million followers across the ball club’s various accounts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
But back when Moyer started with the team, these platforms that she now oversees for the team — and consume her daily life — did not even exist.
She has been with the organization for over 16 years, working in various capacities — from intern and Famous Racing Sausage to advertising and social media — ultimately becoming an influential player in an organization with a following heard around the world, simply by mixing old-fashioned hard work with the ability and instinct to create opportunities.
As she says, “I got my foot in the door, and I never took it out.”
Baseball has always been a part of Moyer’s life. Her dad was a pitcher in high school and college. America’s pastime was always on TV in the background of her childhood. Her grandparents were fans as well, but originally from Illinois and belonged to the die-hard Cubs fan-base.
“That was okay back then because we were in different leagues at the time,” she says smiling with both an affinity for the game, but a clear nod to her allegiance to Milwaukee. “I did attend quite a few games at County Stadium growing up and I would say that Mr. Baseball provided the soundtrack to my summers.”
Fast-forward to high school where her passion for the game of baseball began to grow. With a driver’s license came the ability to attend more games — at times even by herself. And the excitement surrounding the brand-new-at-the-time Miller Park also fueled an interest in the community as a whole.
Simultaneously, her love of writing began to expand and the dream of becoming a sports journalist kicked into full gear.
THROWBACK TO HIGH SCHOOL
Moyer’s love of writing took root before high school — even as a child she dreamed of becoming an author. But she credits her four years as a student of the DSHA English department for encouraging an authentic confidence in her writing abilities.
She recalls a specific moment her freshman year during an honors English class with Peggy Grafwallner. Moyer shares it was one of those classes where, “no one gets an A. And all the freshmen knew it.” As a hopeful author at the time, she stressed over the first essay assignment of the year. Between turning her paper in and receiving the official feedback at school, Moyer and her mother ran into Grafwallner at the grocery store. “She told me, ‘I don’t give out A’s, but you got one!’ And my confidence was immediately boosted. I began working harder. I began to believe in my abilities and that changed me — it changed my approach.”
Moyer credits all of her English classes at DSHA, as well as her time working on the school newspaper, The Word, for honing her creativity and craft of writing. She served as the creative editor for the publication running an Onion-type column called Caitlin’s Corner — a DSHA parody that ran headlines such as, Male Brain Dissected, History Test “Really Hard”, and Pot Pie Lets Off Steam.
“Writing, creative ideation, and problem solving are really the backbone of what I do now,” she shares. “My time in high school encouraged these passions in ways that have absolutely translated into my current role with the Brewers — whether that is writing an Instagram caption or tweet, thinking of a creative way to highlight the team, or coming up with a new social media promotion to engage our fans.”
THE WIDE WORLD OF SPORTS
Moyer attended Marquette University following high school. Her path veered to a public relations major, but she continued to write. Following an op-ed she submitted to the school’s Marquette Tribune, she was asked to join the paper’s staff. And it is here that she officially broke into the wide world of sports with a regular beat covering the Milwaukee Admirals along with some additional coverage of Brewers events.
As a requirement for her major, she applied to an internship with the Brewers. And she did not get it. Disappointed but unphased, she applied again the following year. “I told them I would apply again and be persistent,” she says of the moment. Rather than moving away from the rejection, she embraced the connections made during the application process and followed up. “I emailed. And called. And emailed and called again. And then applied a year later as promised — I meant what I said.”
“I got the internship the following year,” she says of the 2003 corporate marketing position that would eventually set her up to hold a director level position with a Major League Baseball team — a position that wasn’t even close to existing at the time. Because there was no Instagram. No Twitter. And Facebook was barely a secret idea-in-progress.
Moyer speaks so fondly of her internship year. She credits this position as a launching pad for her career. But make no mistake — she actively directed her own launch. For her peers, the temporary, non-paying job may have served as a graduation requirement, but for Moyer, it was an opportunity ripe to create more opportunity.
“I took full advantage of my internship. I made sure to talk to as many people in other departments as I could — even if their job did not directly interact with my own. I was curious about all aspects of the business,” she says. Whether talking with the employee running the TV broadcast truck, or seeking wisdom from more experienced members of the organization, she established relationships and learned as much as she could. Recognizing the finite nature of her position, she squeezed every ounce of insight she could from her dream job at the time.
“I made sure that I didn’t just meet people. I made every effort to keep in touch with them,” she says. “And from these relationships I landed a spot on the Brew Crew.” The Brew Crew is the Brewers in-game entertainment squad, facilitating promotions at the stadium, and making mascot appearances in the community. It was not glamorous, but it was another chance to keep her foot in that proverbial door. And it helped solidify her interest in a career in baseball.
“What I loved best about my time on the Brew Crew was the direct interaction with the fans,” Moyer says. “Being able to impart some of my passion for the game to them and help make their experience even a tiny bit better was gratifying.”
A CAREER IN THE MAKING
Moyer was determined to continue to work in baseball. And she was willing to go anywhere to do just that. In 2004, the baseball stars appeared to align with perfect timing. Thanks to Advanced Placement courses at DSHA and summer classes at Marquette, Moyer had hustled through college and graduated that August, almost a full year early. So in December, she made plans to attend that year’s Baseball Winter Meetings in Anaheim, CA, where there was a baseball job fair taking place.
“I was certain I had a leg up because I was willing and ready to move anywhere given I was done with school, could start immediately, and would be up to speed by Opening Day,” she says reminiscing about her determination. “I was ready to work in baseball. I didn’t care what team it was.”
She participated in some interviews but did not land any of the positions. So back to the Brew Crew it was. At the same time, the team was acquired by a new owner and with that came a new marketing director—and an opening for a seasonal position.
“I was fortunate enough to be hired as the marketing director’s assistant in May of 2005. My goal from the outset was to try to make myself indispensable,” she says of the support position that was intended to be temporary. “We were a two-person department at the time, working with multiple outside agencies. I became a marketing jack-of-all-trades and learned everything I could. Part of this was taking on some in-house marketing ideation — I grew professionally and also felt a sense of contribution.”
Her role as Marketing Coordinator became permanent later that year.
A SOCIAL NETWORK
Around this same time, social media was on the rise and Facebook was becoming more mainstream. “I remember we held a Student Night promotion and I decided to set up an event through my own personal Facebook page to self-promote,” she shares, noting Facebook was not open to businesses at the time. “I invited all of my own friends and it spread. It worked and we began to realize the potential power of social media.”
By 2012 the Brewers had begun using all major social platforms, and Moyer had held various roles in the marketing department, including her then-current position of Senior Manager of Advertising & Marketing. She made a case to the ball club for having a person dedicated to solely focus on digital media. This role took off in the fall of 2013, and by the 2014 season Moyer was fully working in her new role as the Director of New Media for the Major League Baseball team she grew up watching.
In this position, which is her current role, she serves as the internal lead for the team’s social media strategy across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more.
TAKE ME “INTO” THE BALLPARK
The goal of Moyer’s department is to engage fans — to bring them as close to the organization as possible via the digital world. To connect humans — fans to players, team to community. The job is to inform and entertain, to serve and celebrate.
During the historic run of the 2018 season, this goal took on a number of forms. “We are the smallest market in Major League Baseball, but I don’t like to use that as an excuse for engagement. So we take advantage of the times that are good,” Moyer says.
The content fans interact with requires a tricky dovetail of both strategic planning and the capitalization of organic moments. One of Moyer’s favorite campaigns from last season was the “We Believe in Jesús” campaign to help get first baseman Jesús Aguilar into the All-Star Game.
The whole organization was behind it. It was such a grass roots effort to motivate the city. We even worked with Father Jerry (Herda, Vicar for Clergy of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and Moyer’s theology teacher while at DSHA),” she says. “We beat the bigger markets and even had the second highest total of votes ever. And, most importantly, at the end of the day, we helped get Jesús into the All-Star Game. It was an awesome ride and I was honored to play a small part in it.”
The team’s recreation of a scene from The Sandlot was also a favorite project — for both the fan-base and Moyer; she shares, “It was so fun for us to see an idea come to life in that way. We’re lucky to have such willing players and a talented in-house productions team to be able to pull those types of things off.”
The video spoof in celebration of The Sandlot’s 25th anniversary hit the viral mark and was shared well beyond the Milwaukee market — with recognition by most major sports media outlets including ESPN, Bleacher Report, and Sports Illustrated.
And of course, there was the postseason.
A MAGICAL RUN
The Brewers postseason run allowed for the optimization of social platforms and played an important role in fan participation and encouragement when it mattered most.
As strategic as Moyer and her team are, she admits it is difficult to plan out content in the unpredictable setting of postseason baseball, and she points to the magical and electric moments that can truly spur fan engagement. Whether it be the “Let’s Goooooooooo” campaign that evolved from Christian Yelich energizing the fan base via a Player’s Tribune article late in September, or Lorenzo Cain’s “Not Today” mantra — fans love the unplannable.
Moyer points to two other special and organic moments from the postseason: the champagne shower with Uecker following the division championship, and the postgame videoing (from Moyer’s cell phone) of the typically social media-shy Ryan Braun after game six of the NLCS as he spurred fans on to cheer louder because, “the louder you cheer the better we play,” he says.
A CATEGORY LEADER
It is worth noting that Moyer speaks about these moments as though she has a “normal job” — even when prompted to share about how exciting it must have been to be covered in bubbly standing next to a couple of MVPs and the legend that is Milwaukee’s Mr. Baseball. She speaks with humility and grace, as someone who appreciates — but does not take for granted — the role she is in. As Moyer helps lead Milwaukee to a greater connection with its hometown team, she’s also helping lead her hometown team to be a category leader in social media engagement and innovation. The Brewers are among the first to take on The Sandlot-type content (following up with a Mean Girls spoof to kick of the current 2019 season) — among other types of creative content such as the Club’s award-winning Countdown to Opening Day promotion, as well as fun banter with rival teams like the Cubs.
When asked where they would like to take the Brewers social content next, the answer is tricky. “The social media landscape is always changing,” she notes. “You can’t really even think about where you hope to go in five or even two years, because the things you’ll be doing may not have been invented yet.”
So strategy meets creativity. And creativity engages fans. And when fans are engaged, the team plays better — Braun said it himself to Moyer’s cell phone for all of Brew City to see. And while Moyer herself is hesitant to admit this, an observer who hears her speak about her role will quickly understand that her instincts — coupled with her intelligent and quick response to these instincts — are directly correlated to the team’s success via fan engagement.
With the taste of postseason play from last year still fresh, fans are hoping for another season of the same. And so far, with reigning MVP Christian Yelich leading the league in home runs and the Brewers in a deadlock with their biggest rivals at the top of the NL Central (at the time of printing), it is shaping up to be just that.
While no one can predict just where the Brewers will end up in October, one thing is for certain: Moyer and her team will be there every step of the Crew’s journey, documenting the on-field highlights and sharing those special behind-the-scenes moments.
“We have a long season of 162 games, much more if you count Spring Training and the postseason if we’re lucky. While it could be easy for it to become monotonous, what I love most about baseball is that unpredictability. In a sport that’s honoring 150 years of pro baseball in 2019, there is still a chance for things to be done that have never happened before in the history of the game. And it’s our job to tell those stories, keep fans connected with the team, and create a sense of ‘fomo’ (fear of missing out) that gets them to come out to Miller Park again and again.”
SPREADING THE BREWERS LOVE
“If you had asked me back in 2003 as an intern what I saw myself doing in five years, the precise details wouldn’t have mattered because realistically, the things I ended up doing hadn’t been invented yet. Ultimately, though it didn’t — and still doesn’t — really matter to me exactly what I’m doing so long as I’m helping spread the love of Brewers baseball. I’m really lucky to have a job with my hometown team, where we’ve been able to grow and adapt to the changing landscape as an organization and where I’ve been lucky to grow, adapt and contribute in my career,” Moyer says.
And her hometown team is lucky to have her.