Archive for the ‘Experience’ Category

Event Marketing Summit 2018 Takeaways

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The 2018 Experiential Marketing Summit (EMS) took place at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis from May 14-16, providing a unique opportunity – especially for our West Coast MKTG’ers – to attend and learn in their own “backyard”.  It was also a great time to network and reconnect with industry friends, colleagues, and current and potential clients and vendor partners.

Joined by over 1,500 marketers from 32 countries around the world, emerging trends were predicted and dissected, and best practice case studies shared (including participation by some existing MKTG clients such as Amazon, Facebook, and Toyota).  While the buzz from past years focused on the Internet of Things and big data, STRATEGY emerged as the top common theme amongst all of this year’s panels and sessions.

Below we share a summary of the top experiential trends to watch out for in 2018 and beyond.

Macro trends:

-Mixed reality: Use of geo location + _________ [fill in the blank]

-Personalized everything!

-Shoppable everything with same day fulfillment

-Social by design: you must amplify for the brand

-Data drives strategy

Micro trends with some great experiential examples:

-User triggered content and experiences. Examples: Beck’speriment and Beck’s Conductive ink posters.

-The resurgence of cause marketing for all (not just millennials). State Farm and The Marketing Arm not only won the 2018 Best Cause/Community Program at this year’s Ex Awards, but also took home the prize for Grand Ex Award with their Neighborhood of Good campaign. CSR focused initiatives are a win-win!

-Earned experiences: Quid pro quo: Data collection,  social sharing, any behavioral action needed to participate in the experience. Kit Kat staring contest.

-Tradable experiences: Crowdsourcing with a twist. Examples include donating your breakfast in exchange for early admission to general session and this 2017 Ex award winner Take 5 Swap Exchange

-Windows and vending. Tribeca Film Festival ReActor 

-Adaptable engagements. Uber and Visa Ride and Dine mobile tour and KLM care tags

-The maker movement: Letting people create things. Netflix Make It Socks More projects here!

-Surface design: Heineken

-Festivalization: Peer-to-peer dialogs, less content and more networking.

-Hi production, short run of show: WestJet Vegas Surprise. It takes a village!

-Super buzzers: Exclusive tiny events. Taco Bell test kitchen w/ OpenTable.

-BtoB to C: Less content, more choice. Excursions. More peer-to-peer interaction. Keynotes at 8 p.m. not 8 a.m.


And that’s a wrap. EMS 2019 will be held in Las Vegas from May 14-16 at Caesars Palace.

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Written by Stephanie Rudnick
Stephanie Rudnick

June 5th, 2018 at 3:58 pm

Five questions with…Michelle Fung

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Q: What do you do at MKTG and what’s a typical day/week like for you? (who do you interact with, what keeps you busy) 

A: I’m on the People Ops team for the West Coast and there’s not much of a typical day/week! Some days I’m working with a Graphic Designer to create assets for a social event; or I’m working with the strategists on event strategy for our adopted non-profit org; or recruiting alongside of Patrick (my manager) and Sha’Ron; or talking L&D with Jenn; or coordinating baby goats visits or an office Easter egg hunt with our People Ops Trainee, Lisa (yes, we did that for real in SF!) We’re doing all the things to try and build a special culture at MKTG SF.


Q: Who inspires you personally and professionally and why? 

A: I think my mom instilled the value of working hard in me. She is the most resilient person I know, and that makes me feel like I need the be the same for her.



Q: What excites you about your work?

A: When I see a problem, I get paired with an opportunity to design a solution and “fix” it. This can be the small, petty stuff like “we’ve got dishes in the sink” to the bigger, cool things like “how do we set a New Hire up for success” and “how do we start building a community within the DAN network?”

Q: What are you watching (TV, films, docs, reality, etc.), listening to (radio, podcasts, books, etc.) and reading (which blogs, sites, books, mags, etc.) 

A: Watching: The Magicians, 13 Reasons Why, Terrace House, How to Get Away with Murder, Grey’s Anatomy, Arrested Development, the list goes on…; Listening (Podcasts): Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations, Hidden Brain, Criminal; Reading (Books): Designing Your Life by Dave Evans and Bill Burnett, The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy, The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur + a small stack of half-finished ones.


Q: Do you have a morning routine? If so, what is it? 

A: I can be somewhat of a routine person, and mornings are important (because I’m not a morning person): I get out of bed around 7am, take my puppers out, feed him, do my business, have a glass of warm water with apple cider vinegar, and then I’m on my way for my commute with music or a podcast episode. Lastly, breakfast in the office- usually oatmeal or smoothie.

Q: BONUS QUESTION: Anything else you want to share? Do you have a special talent?Passion? Hobby? 

A: Passion/ hobby…trying to pet every dog I see!




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Written by Stephanie Rudnick
Stephanie Rudnick

June 4th, 2018 at 2:49 pm

Red Nose Day @MKTG

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Red Nose Day, a fundraising campaign run by the non-profit organization Comic Relief Inc. that brings people together to have fun, raise money and change the lives of kids who need our help the most, launched in the US in 2015, and in the UK in 1988. The campaign is dedicated to ending child poverty, both in the US and in some of the poorest communities in the world. The money raised by Red Nose Day in the US has benefited programs for children and young people in all 50 states and in 34 countries internationally. Globally, Red Nose Day has raised over $1 billion since its launch in the UK.

In support of Red Nose Day, MKTG offices across the US distributed red noses and hosted fundraising events. Take a look at some of the fun had about MKTGers below!

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Written by Stephanie Rudnick
Stephanie Rudnick

June 1st, 2018 at 1:45 pm


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At the NFL Draft last month in Dallas, MKTG produced and managed the uber-popular P&G Style Lounge, where Draft prospects and their families were able to come and get VIP treatment in preparation for the Red Carpet and the stage at AT&T Stadium. Beyond concepting and producing the entire lounge, MKTG also was responsible for securing the players and influencers to come through including Minkah Fitzpatrick (Head & Shoulders), Derrius Guice (Head & Shoulders), Josh Rosen (Old Spice), Bradley Chubb (Old Spice), Derwin James (Old Spice), Connor Williams (Gillette), and Roquan Smith (Gillette).

Check out the video featuring our partner Whistle Sports and their host Brittney Elena chatting it up with the prospects over on Facebook here!


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Written by Stephanie Rudnick
Stephanie Rudnick

May 31st, 2018 at 1:17 pm


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Tide and Jon Gruden Spoiled This Amazing Mom Rotten on Mother’s Day!

This Mother’s Day, MKTG in partnership with our long-standing client P&G, managed messaging & production to create digital content in a some key NFL markets – Chicago, Indianapolis, Oakland and Pittsburgh – where players and coaches surprised some hard-working Moms in the area with gifts including Tide products and team merchandise. As an added bonus, the players and coaches took over laundry duty so these amazing moms could kick back and relax a bit, something all Moms deserve!

Check out some highlights from the Oakland Raiders and Head Coach Jon Gruden over on Twitter HERE or below!

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Written by Stephanie Rudnick
Stephanie Rudnick

May 31st, 2018 at 1:07 pm

MKTG S&E Green Week

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For the third year in a row, the MKTG Westport and Charlotte offices as well as remote S&E offices took part in Earth Day by removing all disposable cups from the office for the entire week leading up to April 22. This was an effort to raise awareness about Earth Day and to encourage everyone to be MKTGreen! Looking forward to the next Earth Day on Monday, April 22, 2019!

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Written by Kelly Lewis
Kelly Lewis

May 22nd, 2018 at 4:12 pm

MKTG Westport’s New Mascot

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MKTG Westport has a new mascot – Doug Hall’s brand new puppy, Chatham! Everyone in the office sure has a case of puppy love.

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Written by Kelly Lewis
Kelly Lewis

May 22nd, 2018 at 4:11 pm

Posted in Experience

SPOTLIGHT: MKTG Hospitality & Events

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In the latest MKTG Spotlight Q&A, we’re featuring our Hospitality & Events team. This 40-person team manages high-end hospitality experiences at sports and entertainment events. The group also plans and executes incentive programs, meetings, and employee events.  They work closely with clients to create, produce and execute uniquely memorable attendee experiences that capitalize on their business objectives and attendees’ affinities, resulting in long and profitable relationships.

The team has hosted small, intimate gatherings for 20 guests to larger audiences of 2,500, from customers and C-Level executives to employees and prospects – bringing the same level of excellence to each:

-Hospitality strategy & asset optimization

-Full event coordination

-Executive hosting

-Meeting planning

-Incentive program development

-Influencer & media events

-Ticket management

-Digital communications & registration

-Ground transportation


-Talent procurement & management


What this group is known for:

-Understanding VIP and C-Level programming specifics

-Delivering for clients with high standards

-Ability to innovate and refresh repeat programs

-Building impactful event programs that resonate with the target audience

-Delivering exceptional concierge-style service

-Impactful brand integration

-Location, property and venue expertise

Q: Tell us a bit about your team and what you do:

A: Our team is made up of 40 event pros who live and breathe hospitality, including our senior leadership team that represents a combined 75+ years with MKTG.  You’ll find our team at major sporting and entertainment events in the US and beyond, entertaining our clients’ stakeholders – whether that be senior executives, customers, employees, and beyond.  We combine client business objectives with live hospitality experiences that provide deeper connections between brands and event attendees.  We always say that we sweat the small stuff, so that our clients don’t have to.  But we also pay equal attention to the larger strategy behind hospitality, the WHY of what we’re doing with every event that we execute.

Q: Who are your key clients?

A: IBM, FedEx, Toyota, Mars, Charles Schwab, Dow, Lexus, AIG, Otis, ARRIS – the first four of whom have been with us for over a decade!  Our work for these clients varies greatly.  For some clients, our work is centered around hospitality tied to our clients’ corporate sponsorships.  For others, it may be their internal or external incentives, their board meetings, their employee training programs, or other bespoke events created from the ground up.

Q: Tell us some tentpole events you work at each year and what you do:

A: Name a marquee event and it’s likely that we’re there, executing hospitality for at least one client, if not multiple – Super Bowl, Daytona 500, Grammy’s, Masters, NCAA Final Four (men’s and women’s), Tony Awards, US Open Tennis, TOUR Championship, Summer and Winter Olympics. At these events we are facilitating the guest journey from start to finish – from the minute they first receive an invitation or hear about the event, through the onsite experience, and finally through post-event communication and event measurement.  For any given event, that could include lodging, transportation, décor, food and beverage, evening functions, in-venue hospitality, guest communication, signage and collateral, gifting, client branding and messaging, and more.  No two events are the same!

Since a lot of our events are tied to client sponsorships, we also spend a lot of time maximizing assets and budgets through the integration of sponsorship assets into the event experience.  What assets does the client have available that might enhance the experience?  Whether that’s backstage or all-access passes, athlete or celebrity meet and greets, inclusion of celebrity chefs, or behind the scenes venue tours – we’re always looking for those moments that take the experience from great to once in a lifetime!

Q: NASCAR events are huge for your team. Can you explain to us how you support clients at NASCAR races. Who are the guests? What do you do for the guests? Are the programs the same week-after-week?

A: Just like the players on the PGA TOUR and the drivers who compete in NASCAR, our team is on the circuit replicating the hosting environment and experience around the country for important customers in our clients’ local markets every week.

The objective is to deliver an immersive brand experience of the same quality in every market, week in and week out, regardless of the location.  That involves not only the logistics of getting our hosting supplies and staff from place to place every week, but also working with different third-party vendors each week on inventory management, menu planning, gifting, scheduling athlete appearances, providing special access for guests (such as “inside the ropes” at a golf tournament or pit and garage passes at a NASCAR race), and a myriad of other items that bring to life the client’s vision.

While we may execute similar events each week, we understand that it may be the first (and sometimes only) time for our guests to attend – so it’s up to us to make sure that we deliver in a way that seems fresh and exciting, regardless how many times we’ve executed the same event before.

Q: How many event days do you think you execute each year?

A: In 2017, we executed over 400 events days and hosted over 25,000 guests.  That’s about average for most years.


Q: What are you best known for by your clients?

A: We are honored time and time again when our clients comment on our white glove treatment. We have a way of making every guest – whether the CEO of a Fortune 100 company or a line-level employee – feel catered to and appreciated, like every aspect of the event was designed with them in mind.  We are all about the small touches that make an event truly memorable for our guests.

We are also known for how we integrate business messaging into the fabric of our events – in a subtle way that is very authentic.  Our clients do have a business objective they are trying to meet with their events…and while building relationships and human connections is always at the top of the list, they quite often also want to share information related to their business…whether it be a new product or service to showcase or general business messaging they want to share with customers.  We spend a lot of time finding the right ways to do this.  The sweet spot is when our integration of the client’s brand, product, service or technology can actually enhance the event experience for guests – that’s when we know we’ve hit a home run.

Q: What are a few of the biggest requests you’ve faced over the years?

A: One is refreshing repeat events.  Frequently our clients are hosting in the same venue in the same city year after year – sometimes for the same guests – so we are tasked with making it fresh and different every year.  What can we bring to the event that makes it seem totally different from previous executions while still staying true to the client’s brand and objectives?  We love the challenge that this request brings to our team and believe that it’s when we do some of our best work.

Another is being increasingly more responsive to individual guest needs, regardless of the ask. We have some fun stories to tell there – most of which we’ll never share.  From a guest not wanting a hotel room with a certain number in it to hunting down a tattoo artist to create a custom tattoo for a guest while they were at an event, and everything in between, we’ve heard it all…and delivered.  It goes back to that difference between great and once in a lifetime.  If there are small things we can do to cater to individual guests, we’ll always do it.  And we’re finding that being able to deliver on those types of requests, in an age of customization and personalization, is more important than ever.

Q: Finally, share with us some trends you’re seeing in the business of hospitality.

A: Hospitality has certainly evolved over the years and client expectations have too. A few of the top trends we are seeing right now include:

-The integration of social causes and thoughtful use of resources into events (including using local resources whenever possible…whether that be ‘farm to table’ culinary offerings or other local vendors for various event elements)

-An increased level of guest participation – interactive, engaging activity that is experiential in nature.  No more old-school cocktail parties.

-Use of non-traditional event spaces and venues, as well as locally-themed functions and activities

-Use of social listening to better craft events that will resonate with audiences

Contact Emily Spiegel ( to learn more about our Hospitality & Events team!




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Written by Stephanie Rudnick
Stephanie Rudnick

May 13th, 2018 at 5:04 pm

Posted in Experience

MKTG Westport Gives Back to St. Baldrick’s

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For seven years running, a small group out of the Westport MKTG office have been supporting the St. Baldricks children’s cancer charity, each pledging to shave their heads in return for charitable donations.

Childhood cancers are very different than adult cancers, but less than 4% of the National Cancer Institute’s budget is solely dedicated to childhood cancer research.  That is where St. Bladricks comes in. The foundation funds more in childhood cancer research grants than any organization except the U.S. government. The charity has raised over $39 Million in 2017 alone.

We are very pleased to report that the team of Tom Hendry and Iain McWhirter surpassed their fundraising target of $5K, by raising $7,541 this year, taking the total raised for the charity to over $40K since 2011. Check out their new dos below! 


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Written by Stephanie Rudnick
Stephanie Rudnick

May 8th, 2018 at 4:07 pm

Welcome to the World Unicorn Charm!

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When Lucky Charms began planning the introduction of their first charm in ten years…a UNICORN… they gave MKTG a call to make sure it was as much fun and flawlessly launched, as it was memorable and a shareable experience.

In support of the introduction of the Unicorn charm, MKTG concepted, developed and produced the “Lucky Charms Unicorn Land” at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago that was essentially a “live pop-up book” experience that encouraged the creation and capture of kid’s very own unicorn stories of how the unicorn charm got its magical power.

We created an immersive experience for kids to let their imaginations run wild as they frolicked amongst the Lucky Charms storyline that we brought to life.

The experience: Upon entry into Unicorn Land, the kids were asked to draw what they imagined the unicorn looked like; to tell us what they thought it sounded like; and demonstrate to us what they thought its power was. In another area of activation, they got to meet Lucky the Leprechaun in person, jump into the “Charms Chase” booth to capture magical prizes, and best of all, walk away with a new box of Lucky Charms complete with the new unicorn charm.

To bring all of the elements together we also produced a live puppet show that featured Lucky and the Unicorn. The participants were then asked to deliver their own show where they expressed their own personal interpretation of how the unicorn got into their box of cereal and what the unicorn’s magical power is.

In the end frankly, the big kids and the little kids had a blast. Take a look at the gallery below to get a taste of the action! Also, if you want to learn more about the activation, reach out to Erica Calhoun, Chad Shirley, Brianna Engleke, Cam Armstrong, Kurt Russell or Donald Dahl.


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Written by Stephanie Rudnick
Stephanie Rudnick

May 1st, 2018 at 5:01 pm