Kitty Hart: The ROI of Experiential Marketing on CMO Convo Podcast

Heroic Productions’ own VP of Client Brand Experience, Kitty Hart, had the opportunity to go on CMO Convo podcast to discuss a couple of important topics: what is experiential marketing, and where is the ROI? 

Experiential Marketing? Tell Me More!

Kitty has an infectious passion for experiential marketing. Having navigated the twists and turns of sales and marketing throughout her career, she totally gets why these topics are big deals. 

According to her definition, experiential marketing is all about, “events, experiences, and interactions that will create a lasting emotional connection between a brand and its audience.” 

As part of the conversation, host Will Whitman asked, “what about the future of experiential marketing?” Well, it is taking a digital detour. Yep, you heard it right – experiences are no longer confined to the in-person realm, all thanks to our good friend, technology.

The Thrilling Rewards of Experiential Marketing

But let’s talk about the benefits, shall we? The benefit of an experiential marketing experience is different for a B2B business versus B2C business. In B2C experiences, like a State Fair for example, the path to purchase is instant. The mouthwatering scent of Sweet Martha’s Cookies draws people to their stand, forking over $$ for an immediate exchange of sweetness. B2B, on the other hand, takes a bit of a scenic route. It’s about leaving a brand impression and creating a connection, and, well, exercising a bit of patience. The path to purchase takes a little longer but sales will be realized following a variety of meaningful touchpoints. Good things take time, right?

The Secret Sauce

What’s the secret sauce? Being different and unique. Kitty’s insight? “Audience expectations become more and more challenging over time. It becomes harder to surprise and delight people.” So, aim for that memorable impression that has them itching to tell someone what they heard, saw, and felt at your event. 

Social media is your sidekick in this adventure, and it has tremendous value. Sharing from your event and creating some buzz with things like event hashtags go a long way.

Don’t let any of this scare you! It turns out, experiential marketing events don’t have to break the bank. Take Kitty’s Uber example where the top 12 Uber users were invited to an event thrown by Uber in a giant bus with a celebrity chef. Not your typical Thursday, right? But the social impressions? Off the charts! Intimate, effective, and budget-friendly. Put the right people in the right room and your experience can have a huge impact.

Everyone’s Favorite Measurement: ROI

In regards to measuring ROI for an experiential marketing event, there is no textbook answer. Each company must decide for themselves what is meaningful for them to measure. Surveys and social buzz are a great way to gain insight. Start with a simple question: “What challenge are we trying to solve here?” Are you launching a new product? Are sales slacking? There are many reasons to throw an experiential marketing event. Your goals should be the Sherlock Holmes to your marketing mystery.

Here’s a tip: Gather the troops – sales, marketing, executive leadership, CMO – everyone’s invited to the table. Teamwork makes the dream work, after all.

Kitty also drops some wisdom on the importance of corporate events and investing in your work fam, which is a lot of the work Heroic does. She brings up a favorite quote of hers, “CFO to CEO: What happens if we invest in developing our people and they leave us? CEO to CFO: What happens if we don’t and they stay?” Mic drop moment, right?

Now, brace yourselves for the future of experiential marketing. Tracking and facial recognition software are the cool kids on the block. The Mall of America’s been using tracking software for a while to map out the customer journey. A lot of companies are investing a lot on making their own apps. They’re like data superheroes. Gamification is also stealing the show – who doesn’t love a game on their phone for some freebies? Will Whitman, adds that he loves a good QR code! Thanks COVID for the comeback!

Surprise & Delight!

Let’s make waves in the experiential marketing ocean! Whether you’re planning a B2B soirée or a B2C extravaganza, remember Kitty’s golden rule: know the challenge you’re tackling and keep asking the question, “why are we doing this?”. Let’s keep surprising, delighting, and creating experiences that not only leave a mark but also have everyone shouting, “Encore, encore!” 

To speak with the experiential marketing maven herself, contact Kitty Hart.

Curious to dive deeper into the world of experiential marketing? Check out our resources page.

Kitty Hart: Building Brands Through Events on Digital Velocity Podcast

Our powerhouse VP of Client Brand Experience, Kitty Hart, recently stole the spotlight on the Digital Velocity podcast, hosted by the dynamic duo, Erik Martinez and Tim Curtis. They dove deep into the world of building brands through events that are not just memorable but downright life-changing.

Business development is the name of Kitty’s game. She currently sits in this seat selling experiential meetings and events. She’s got this knack for selling experiential meetings and events that are more than just gatherings – they’re highly architected experiences where nothing is left to chance. Why? Because connecting brands and people is both a science and an art. It’s about creating events that hit you right in the feels – engaging all the senses.

So, where does it all start? According to Kitty, it begins with a simple yet tremendously important question: “Why are we doing this?” Then, in a world where we’ve seen it all, the challenge for event and marketing teams is to ask, “how can we do this event differently from how we have done it in the past?” It’s important for returning audience members to look forward to the event year after year. 

And here’s a nugget of wisdom – just because we live in a digital age doesn’t mean experiential marketing takes a back seat. Take Uber, for instance. Identifying super users, they crafted a unique dining experience on an Uber-branded bus for 12 lucky souls with a celebrity chef. The physical experience was intimate but the buzz those super-users created through social media was through the roof!

Now, creating buzz isn’t exclusive to consumer brands. B2B marketers, it’s time to embrace the buzz! Heroic’s corporate events aren’t just about meetings, education, and a bit of entertainment sprinkled in; they’re about creating experiences that people can’t wait to share.

In the world of Heroic, collaboration with brands is more than a partnership – it’s setting the stage, literally and figuratively. As Kitty puts it, “All the world’s a stage. We are going to help your brand show up on that stage in the very best way that it can.” Crafting the narrative is key.

In-person events are evolving, now often accompanied by a virtual component. It’s like creating two different worlds – one for the in-person audience and one for the virtual voyagers. Holding the attention of virtual attendees is crucial; after all, distractions are just a click away.

Kitty brings up her Starbucks example. Describing how Starbucks must tailor experiences to different customers. Customers who go through the drive through, customers who come in, order and sit down, and customers who come in and order their coffees to go. Each of those customers need a different tailored approach. 

“Event marketing is a tried and true method of marketing,” Kitty says. It is unmatched and worth every penny. 

She leaves us with “the next big thing in your industry will come from another industry.” So stay on top of marketing trends! Identify things that can be applied to your business.

Ready to dive deeper into the world of brand-altering experiences? Connect with Kitty and let’s create some magic!
Need help planning a hybrid event? Download our Hybrid Event Planning Guide!

Another Heroic Production for Gustavus Adolphus College’s 50th Year of Christmas in Christ Chapel

Heroic Productions was back in St. Peter, MN for another year of Gustavus Adolphus College’s Christmas in Christ Chapel. “What is Christmas in Christ Chapel?” you ask. Well, it’s Gustavus’s 50 year-old tradition of bringing the community together to joyously celebrate Christmas. Picture this: a large production with singing, dancing, live music, and the spoken word; all brought to you by the incredible performances of Gustavus Choir, Choir of Christ Chapel, Christ Chapel Ringers, Gustavus Symphony Orchestra, Lucia Singers, and select members of the Gustavus Dance Company.

A Heroic Journey Through Time with Christmas in Christ Chapel

Why Heroic you ask? It all started 14 years ago when Heroic was contracted to help enhance the lighting in Christ Chapel using professional-grade instruments to better illuminate the superstars – the choirs, orchestra, and speakers. Fast forward four years, and Heroic decided to go beyond being a rental contractor. We approached the college with an idea to broadcast the show on the college’s web-streaming services. Gustavus’s response? A resounding “Absolutely!” For the past 10 years, we’ve been an integral part of this magical celebration.

Then came 2020 – the year of the unexpected plot twist. Gustavus decided if the community couldn’t be together in person, they still wanted to spread the Christmas cheer. While other colleges either canceled or used previously recorded versions of similar shows, Gustavus knew they still wanted to showcase the production. Heroic was able to come up with a safe set and recorded all the musical magic in October and edited the show together for a magical broadcast to showcase in mid-December. “It was an incredible undertaking and one of the proudest of my career,” Heroic CEO, Jon Young beams. 

Christmas in Christ Chapel Today

Today, Christmas in Christ Chapel holds a special place as one of Gustavus’s “signature events.” Heroic is honored to be Santa’s little helper behind this prestigious production. Our roots in music and entertainment make this event close to our hearts.

Christmas in Christ Chapel is not a “made for TV” show. It’s a live worship service, a dynamic experience that we strive to deliver to both in-person and virtual viewers. With 1,000 people seated in the audience and 10,000 viewing from home, Heroic is in charge of finding that perfect balance. 

The building is also not designed for our work – it’s a chapel! Working with stringent engineering specs and adding more power to the building has turned us into efficiency experts. We get more efficient every year! Our team of nine camera operators, four audio technicians, two lighting designers, a director, an assistant director, a page turner, video engineers, an executive producer, a technical director, and 20 stagehands expertly get the job done every time!

So, as we close out another year of spreading holiday joy, we invite you to join us next year, whether in person or from the comfort of your cozy couch. Christmas in Christ Chapel is a celebration like no other, and with Heroic Productions at the helm, you’re in for a treat.

To see the work that goes into this production, visit our website.

Ready to elevate your next event? Let’s start a conversation about how Heroic can bring your vision to life, contact us.

A Heroic Impact at Mall of America’s Nickelodeon Universe

This past Sunday, December 3, 2023, was a day to remember as Be the Change shut down Mall of America’s Nickelodeon Universe theme park from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. The goal? Simple – spread joy and make a positive impact in our community.

Imagine this: an entire Winter Wonderland extravaganza exclusively for underserved kids and their families. Eight hundred students from Bethune Arts Elementary, Nellie Stone Johnson Community School, and Hall STEM Academy were invited along with 800 of their friends and 800 of their parents to spend a day of fun at the iconic theme park. Yep, you read that right – the more, the merrier!

The day was filled with loads of thrills! And no, we’re not just talking about unlimited ride wristbands (although those were pretty awesome too). The event also hosted local DJs, face painting, photo booths, and a free holiday store stocked with gifts for the kiddos! Santa even paid a surprise visit from the North Pole. 

The excitement didn’t stop there. Attendees dined on catered meals from local chefs as well as, the most exciting part, a giant donut wall!

Volunteer Power Unleashed

Kudos to the incredible partners who made this event come to life: Mall of America, the Minneapolis Police Department, the Minneapolis Fire Department, The Minnesota Vikings, The Minnesota Timberwolves, Sue McLean and Associates, Event Lab, many Minneapolis elected officials, and Heroic Productions! Without their support, none of this would have been possible.

A special shoutout to our very own Heroic Account Manager, Miles Kipper, for spearheading the site logistics and day of execution to make sure everything ran like a well-oiled machine. Heroic is beyond proud to be a part of events that create lasting memories and smiles.

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Supercharge your next event with Heroic, send us a message.