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Experiential Marketing panel: Plan well, stay true to your goals

The Future of Experiential Marketing

Erik Bahr, Facebook
Will Bortz, Taco Bell
Shannon Dan, Intersport
Greg Skasko, AT&T
John von Stade, USA Today Sports Media Group
Eric Winter, Yahoo! Sports and Entertainment

Experiential marketing is more sophisticated and complicated today than it was only a few years ago, and it’s important not only to have a solid plan, but to be true to your goals, said a group of panelists on Day 2 of the 2013 Intersport Activation Summit.

“You used to do a pop up and throw out some balls and allow consumers to interact with the brand and sample,” said Facebook Client Partner Erik Bahr. “Experiential in the digital age is everywhere. It’s caused us to be more creative and be more intuitive with how we drive back to this experience.”

USA Today Sports Media Group VP/Properties John von Stade talked about the changing nature of the relationship between brands and the agencies they hire to activate their digital platforms. “In today’s experiential, you’ve really got to make sure that both the client and the multiple agencies that are working on these brands have some understanding.” AT&T Sponsorships Director Greg Skasko took that a step further to stress the need to have a plan in place far in advance, especially in the case of real-time activation. “It’s best when you set up a task force,” he said, “an onsite war room, to say we’re going to attack this thing together and have the conversation with each group internally.”

Will Bortz, Taco Bell senior manager of brand partnerships and sponsorships, added, “Whether you’re a brand or an agency or a league or another entity, stay true to what you want to do and follow that principle in how you engage that audience. If you’re trying to force fit it, you might not get the return or you may get some backlash.”QUICK HITS:
Bortz, on responding to mobile callouts: “It’s a simple gesture back, personifying the brand and making it more of a one-on-one discussion and that you’re an actual person on the end of the other line is a powerful connector for anybody’s brand to be able to engage. Something very small can become something big.”

Skasko, on having a plan and taking a risk: “A lot of times if you’re too contrived, then you’re missing out on these intimate relationships, these intimate moments that can be important.”

Bortz, on interacting socially with consumers: “Be witty. Be fun. Ask questions back to them. Make it open ended. Don’t close down the conversation. Choose to respond to some stuff – some negative stuff, some positive stuff – and then leave some positive and negative stuff open. Let the community organically facilitate itself.”

Intersport VP/Digital Shannon Dan, on getting the message out: “Distribution and making sure that that content you’re spending so much money on and time on, making sure that the distribution is right and getting to the right audience on the right platform, is often overlooked. We need to make sure that that’s at the forefront of our strategy.”

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