Archive for the ‘Atlanta’ tag

3 Key Learnings from Digital Summit Atlanta 2015

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DS2

Digital Summit Atlanta, a gathering of some of the most forward thinkers in digital marketing, took place this week and I was proud to make it my 3rd time in attendance. Each year I have been able to discover new topics and discuss the next trends in digital marketing.

Overall, each year has followed its own theme as digital marketing as a whole evolves so quickly. In 2013, trends in how social media was changing for brands was explored in a lot of sessions. Last year it shifted to a major focus on content marketing and SEO. Now, at #DSUM15, the next stage in UX (User Experience) design seemed to be the key focus.

And with that, here are three key takeaways from the conference as it can relate to what we do in the experiential space…

1. Humanizing UX

Many of the sessions at Digital Summit really focused on UX as we were challenged to think of what was next in the field. For example, how do we run UX more lean and understand better, powered with ‘big data’, how to humanize someone’s digital experience. When we map out the consumer journey – remember that each user is an actual person with problems and needs.

When you look at bring a consumer through a brand experience for experiential this line of thinking makes a lot of sense, right? It is our expertise to bring brands to life in a way that they can interact with consumers as people and not anonymous IP addresses. However many activation designs we see in the field could do a better job from at the ideation stage to keep in mind that once launched, these are people with their own objectives who will walk through our ideas.

So when thinking through your consumer experience idea, map it out. Literally draw out each stage of the activation UX and use this tool to identify where the gaps are or more importantly, where it can be more streamlined.

2. Millennials are mobile-first…and are starting to earn a lot of money

When you hear the word “millennials” – how old of a person pops in your mind? Probably an early-20-something with new student debt maybe? Well consider that millennials are were born starting in 1980 and now are entering their mid-30s. Sure there is probably a healthy amount of debt still lingering – but this generation is now entering over a $Trillion in buying power and loves to spend.

So with all of this data we now have on the ‘Connected Generation’ – what have we learned about marketing to them? It’s a long answer but here are two quick tips from @annieg from StumbleUpon.

First, “6 is the new 60” – as in the 6” phone is more important than the 60” TV. Now that doesn’t mean the generation is consumer less video – in fact it’s more than ever. But reportedly 33% do not watch any broadcast TV.

Second, it seems obvious that millennials are connected to their mobile devices, sure, but how many experiences are being built mobile-first? When we consider social, if you stop to think why they are so effective with the connected generation it’s not just because they are social – but because the most popular experiences are mobile-first. Snapchat, Instagram, Vine…some of the most powerful platforms for the younger Millennials have excelled by being native to the 6” screen. So consider mobile-first experiences to connect and make an engagement that this group wants to use. After all, it is why the younger Millennials are now being known as Social Natives.

3. The Entrepreneur Wants to Solve a Problem

I heard a great line this year and it came during a keynote speaker Chris Brogan, whose content I highly recommend. To summarize:

Stop chasing innovation, which aims to just do something.

Be an entrepreneur, which aims to solve someone’s problem.

While this is absolutely a trap in creating the latest in digital experiences, it is also a trap in experiential marketing. Brands and agencies alike all want to innovate and create and truly great new things are activated in our space every year. But when coming up the ideas for the experience on the front end, don’t just try to chase an innovation for the sake of doing it. Instead, identify an audience’s problem and solve it. That is where the entrepreneurship mindset excels and where experiential marketing can truly make an in-person impact on someone.

If you are ever free in May, I highly recommend Digital Summit. This is only a small snipet of content from the 2-day conference. I still have to go through pages upon pages of notes but in the meantime, enjoy the learnings and feel free to find me @BradMEpstein if you want to go through my timeline where I shared some more real-time leanrings!

Bonus! PowerPoint is where data goes to die!

If you work with data (you should!) treat it as a living, breathing source. PowerPoint it becomes static and if 2015 taught me anything – is that static is kryptonite for the modern marketer. So learn new tools that keep you agile and keep your brand’s marketing velocity as fast as possible.

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Employee Appreciation Day

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EAD

One of our favorite traditions here in Atlanta is our annual Employee Appreciation Day, which just took place on Thursday, April 23rd. This day is a welcome diversion to take a load off and as Team Epic’s Melanie Hatcher put it: “play hooky while AT work.” More than anything, it is a way to stop and appreciate all of the good people who make this one of AJC’s Top Workplaces!

The day started with free Chick-Fil-A for breakfast, which is always the best way to start a day in Atlanta, home of Chick-Fil-A. From there, everyone signed up for a complimentary massage and car wash.

Once noon came around, lunch was served outside on a beautiful afternoon from one of our favorite mobile food services: fresh Woodfired Pizza. You can find S & J Woodfired Pizza at festivals around Atlanta and so it’s a pleasure to have them cater a unique lunch experience for everyone in the office.

For the late afternoon, it was time to win some prizes with bingo, raffles, basketball, and beer. Up for grabs were multiple gift cards, free Reebok shoes, and even new free 42” televisions!

Finally, it wouldn’t be an Employee Appreciation Day recap without the inaugural psLIVE Darts Championship, help from 9am and coming to its dramatic conclusion around 6pm. Featuring 22 [mostly] talent dart throwers, each round proved to be as much fun to watch as it was to participate. When the dust settled and all of the bullseyes were hit, Matt Barth emerged victorious to cap off what was, once again, a great day for everyone to feel appreciated!

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MKTG Holiday-Party Hilarity

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NEW YORK
MKTGNYC Holiday

This year’s holiday party proved once again that the New York office really knows how to “shake things up.” As guests stepped into our snowglobe-themed party space they stepped inside the wintery world of an MKTG snowglobe. Glittering gobo snowflakes fell from the ceiling while polar bears posed for selfies, loving coworkers pelted each other with fake snowballs, and the snowmen of IT mosh-pit the red-hot dance floor. In a word: face-melting.

ATLANTA
Atlanta

psLIVE Atlanta hosted its Ugly Sweater Party on December 18th, utilizing our very own expansive warehouse space, and it was a huge success! Our annual traditions were intact—volunteering at the Salvation Army in the morning, a heated Bingo competition, Secret Santa gift exchanges, and our awards ceremony.  We were spoiled with a southern style BBQ dinner before the awards which gave us the energy to celebrate all night! We crowned our very deserving award recipients as well as our Ugliest Sweater victor and moved out on the dance floor.  With so many talented dancers, an impromptu dance-off went down and it epic!  Victors were crowned and moments were forever burned into our memories.  It was a great night of fun and camaraderie with friends and colleagues alike.  We can’t wait to do it again next year!

CHICAGO
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The MKTG Chicago holiday party took place on December 11th in the covered patio of Stella Barra Pizzeria. The team enjoyed countless snacks, fancy seats, the company of special guests such as Ron Burgundy and Storm Trooper, homemade ice cream, and a very exciting White Elephant gift exchange. The team finished off the night with some extreme karaoke and a second feast of leftover pizza.

View the Beautiful Memories Slidely Slideshow here.

CINCINNATI
Cin Holiday Party

The Cincinnati office gathered for an ugly sweater & cookie exchange day! Some folks made sweaters, others borrowed and sadly – a few even owned. Our VP of Creative has a special name for these “ugly sweaters” and refers to them as “Holiday Awareness Sweaters”. She claims to own none. A fun day was had by all and even those too lazy to bake (the men) were lucky enough to get a few leftover cookies of their own. Merry Christmas from Cincinnati!

LONDON

MKTG London celebrated the holidays with some new friends this year.  With Charlie Horsey and Matt Manning making appearances we were kindly invited to the psLIVE Christmas party.  The celebration started with a quiet team lunch at a French Brasserie in the new neighbourhood in North London.  We then headed down to the psLIVE office and got a tour of the new digs and had a cocktail hour to meet some of the new team.  The party then made its way to Shoreditch House in East London to carry on the festivities.  The memories came rushing back from 2012 and the Olympics activation as we made our way up to the rooftop.

Great views, great food and great company made this end to 2014 one to remember for MKTG London as we move into a new era in 2015.

SAN FRANCISCO
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The 12 Days of (an SF) Christmas
On the twelfth day of Christmas, my favorite clients gave to me:
12 blank event credentials,
11 custom workout kits,
10 photo booth templates,
9 menu tastings,
8 approved signage plans,
7 Hangout meeting requests,
6 custom playlists,
5 stage renderings,
4 program managers,
3 consumer journeys,
2 coffee options in the kitchen,
And an IT ticket filed electronically!
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Written by Stephanie Rudnick
Stephanie Rudnick

January 7th, 2015 at 1:15 pm

Q&A with psLIVE’s Peter Pearce

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Peter PearceFor this month’s Guest Column, we sat down with Peter Pearce, who heads up the Atlanta office for our new sister agency, psLIVE. Hear how he got where he is, where he’s going and why he loves his job.

Tell us about psLIVE – how do you describe the company to strangers?
My elevator pitch usually starts with defining “lifestyle marketing” (sports, entertainment, grassroots, retail) and who our clients are. Then I describe the work we do: Large-scale sponsorship activation, event development, mobile tours, sampling, street teams, staffing. You take it for granted because you live it every day, but the usual reaction is “that sounds like a lot of fun,” and it is!

What differentiates psLIVE from the competition? 
I think it all starts with our values – we live them every day. We are fiercely competitive, and our reputation for “doing it right” has followed us since inception. Secondly, the Dentsu Aegis push to collaborate across agency brands is a huge advantage – shared insights, tools and resources are a great business driver. Finally, we’re not just a creative, client-service and production agency. We are vertically integrated, with assets and services inhouse that many agencies outsource. This allows us to achieve budget efficiencies and get to market quickly.

What three words would you use to describe your staff?
Best. In. Class.

How did you get into this industry?
It’s sobering to realize I’ve been in the business for 18 years! I finished school and worked for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games after school, then I began in the agency world at what is now CSE (formerly Career Sports Entertainment). After five years, I helped open the Atlanta office of Strategic Sports Group, where I spent another five years building that business. I’ve now been with psLIVE (formerly Vivid and Team Epic) for eight years, and it has been a great ride so far.

Looking back at 2014, do you have a few favorite programs or campaigns your teams managed?
That’s hard because we emotionally invest so much in all our clients, but a few programs stand out. Our work on ESPN’s Heisman House is remarkable because of sheer scale, complexity and inherent logistical challenges. Our USTA work, which showcased the US Open of Tomorrow exhibit, really pushed the design envelope. And our work for AT&T is constantly evolving to keep pace with technology and continue to integrate into the consumer experience.

How has technology changed the way you approach the business? 
The smart phone has dramatically changed the event landscape, and we’ve leveraged technology in creative and compelling ways. We strive to design a pre/during/post-event engagement via mobile and social channels because mobile technology shortens the time between brand engagement and purchase. I see a bright future for two-screen interactive experiences at events, where you use your personal device to play on larger screens, or to create physical action onsite. You’ll also see more photo opportunities designed for selfies, and a decline in green screen/photo booths. Finally, I think beacons, NFC and other pushes to mobile engagements will become more prevalent in 2015.

What publications/website do you find most relevant?
I always try to stay current with AdWeek, MediaPost, BrandWeek, etc. to understand the broader media world. I also read traditional Lifestyle Marketing media like Event Marketer, Sports Business Journal and BizBash. However, I think the single most relevant website I visit frequently is Reddit – it’s truly the “front page of the Internet.” Although it’s not always totally PC, no other website captures the current cultural zeitgeist like Reddit.

What are your favorite apps?
The ones I use routinely are pretty limited, but my essentials are Uber, Spotify, Delta Airlines, Waze (traffic in ATL sucks), Open Table, GolfNow and Instagram.

What excites you about psLIVE’s integration with MKTG INC?
I’m most excited about the combined potential of two agencies coming together. The whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts, and I’m looking forward to what 2015 holds. We’re so culturally similar: the type of work we do, how we do it, and everyone I’ve met along the way has been great!

What do you do to relax?
With this job, and two active kids under 10 at home, relaxation comes in small doses. I’m a formerly avid golfer, fisherman, skier and sailor, so I try to vacation where I can combine at least a few of these. Also, cocktails.

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Live from Atlanta, It’s psLIVE

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Photo courtesy of psLIVE

As you’ve probably heard, MKTG INC was acquired by Dentsu Aegis Network this fall. With this exciting development comes the great news that psLIVE, another Dentsu agency, and MKTG INC are now in the same happy agency family. Here’s a note from our new friends in Atlanta:

“With the recent addition of MKTG INC to the Dentsu Aegis Network family, we here in Atlanta are looking forward to working with a great, innovative group. And you then must be wondering – what is with those guys in Atlanta? Who are they? What is their office like? Does it smell like Chick-Fil-A?

Well first, psLIVE is made up of brand strategists, creatives, producers and innovators with a passion for doing things different in order to deliver a better live brand experience. And to be honest, that pretty much describes every one of us. We are a small group of around 60, so each of us wear a lot of hats. We’re all creatives who find ways to do things differently for our clients. At the same time, we’re all producers with frontline field experience. Whether behind the desk or behind the pallet jack, we love every step of the process, from start to finish.

Part of the reason we’re so hands-on is that we have the privilege of having our office attached to our warehouse of truss, trucks and toys. Between our office, warehouse and outdoor storage of buses and trailers, we come to work every day to a 100,000-square-foot operations center. This allows us to be active with our inventory on a day-to-day basis and gives us the space to experiment and have fun. At times our warehouse has been home to inflatables, a functional bar, a helicopter, and a fully serviceable batting cage. Not to mention all of the internal events and parties we can throw in the vast space!

A few of our key clients include AT&T, ESPN, PepsiCo, Peet’s Coffee and Tea, Southwest Airlines, the NFL, the USTA and ConAgra Foods. In addition to Atlanta, we have people in Norwalk and Chicago.

IMG_3235We are excited about having MKTG INC within the Network and we continue to look forward to creating and innovating together.

And yes, we are obsessed with Chick-Fil-A. It’s the best.

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Smirnoff Ice Toasts Ladies with Game

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SLWG

Football season started September 4, but the real fun kicked off the day before when Smirnoff Ice launched its Ladies with Game Tailgate tour in NYC. Hudson Mercantile played host to a packed tailgate bash, where attendees enjoyed a variety of cocktails made from the Smirnoff Ice portfolio, including the Screwdriver Sangria and the Preparada, a Southwestern favorite made from fresh fruits, chamoy (a popular condiment in Mexican cuisine) and Smirnoff Ice Green Apple. Of course, it wouldn’t be a tailgate without the right bites, so there was no shortage of sliders, mac and cheese, buffalo tater tots, and chicken and waffle snacks.

DJ Stef Nava provided high-energy tunes as guests challenged each other to cornhole, giant Jenga and backyard-tire football toss. For those not ready to get their heels dirty, DryBar provided blowouts and Ami V and Ria Lopez gave custom manicures to prepare them for the custom photo booth. Now everyone knows that a tailgate is nothing without a proper host to make everyone feel at home — so singer and reality TV personality Jessie James Decker led the festivities and showed off her impressive arm in the football toss challenge. Looks like she’s been practicing with her husband!

Over the course of the football season, Smirnoff Ice is hosting tailgate parties in nine cities, including Washington DC, Dallas, Atlanta, San Diego, New Orleans, Charlotte, Nashville and finally Phoenix. With the way things kicked off in New York, this looks to be a winning season for Smirnoff Ice!

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A World Class Event for MKTG INC

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At MKTG INC, we pride ourselves on executing world-class events – but this time, the event was actually World Class.

Earlier this summer, the national finals of the USBG World Class Bartender Competition were held in NYC at the Monarch Room’s Gilded Lily, and MKTG INC was there to make sure it went off without a hitch!

The NYC Final was the culmination of the 2014 US World Class program. Presented by the US Bartenders Guild and sponsored by Diageo, 75 top bartenders competed in 5 regional finals in Boston, Los Angeles, Portland, Atlanta and Chicago. The top 3 from each region were chosen to move on to the national finals in NYC for a total of 15 national finalists.

In all stages of the program, nationally and internationally recognized industry luminaries served as judges. The competition challenges tested all aspects of the bartenders’ abilities, from speed and efficiency to presentation, creativity and service, using brands from the Diageo Reserve portfolio.

From the regionals to the finals, MKTG INC worked closely with Diageo, the US Bartenders Guild, Liquid Productions and all the judges and competitors to ensure that the program was executed within World Class standards.

Charles Joly from Chicago was named the World Class US Bartender of the Year and will represent the US in the Global Finals in the UK starting July 27th. He will be competing against bartenders from 49 other countries and the global winner will be named in London on Aug 2nd.

The Diageo World Class competition is considered “the best” in the industry and is in its 6th year globally with 50 countries competing each year. This is the 3rd year that the US has participated, with US winners Ricky Gomez placing 5th globally in 2012 and Jeff Bell placing 2nd globally in 2013.

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MKTG Grows Hope With MSNBC

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MSNBC is more than a cable news channel. It not only champions progressive issues and values, it seeks to directly engage with its viewers and their communities. So this year MSNBC launched Growing Hope – a campaign inspired in part by MKTG’s design for the channel at last year’s Essence Festival – to give people a voice around the issues that matter to them.

As developed by MKTG, the spirit of Growing Hope is embodied by a community garden, a place where people come together to nurture and grow. The symbol of Growing Hope is a grand solitary tree, evidence of the power and possibilities of voices united.

Visitors begin their experience in our digital greenhouse, where they choose the topic that directly impacts their families and communities, and write their hope for change. Issues include: Education, Economy, Equality, Health & Environment, Community, as well as Veterans and Foreign Affairs. Next, visitors print their hope (now entered into MSNBC’s database), attach it to a flower petal, connect it to a stem and plant it in our outdoor garden – a place where people literally put stakes in the ground.

The Growing Hope Tour began in Houston at Texas Southern University with stops in Atlanta and Charlotte. It culminated in New Orleans at the 20th Annual Essence Festival during Fourth of July weekend.

You can join in the conversation and submit your own hope by clicking here.

 

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