Our culture thrives around learning and we encourage our seasoned employees to engage in discussions with junior staff about the experiential industry and career growth. Recently, Dan Martone, Marketing Operations Analyst, chatted with Allen Yesilevich, VP of Marketing & Growth, to learn about his experience and insights.
Dan: How did you get into marketing?
Allen: I always had an interest in digital communication going back to 1995 with the early days of chat rooms on AOL. However, it wasn’t until search engines, blogging platforms, and social media became viable business development avenues that I foresaw and pursued a career in marketing. I quickly became obsessed with learning the latest tactics and methods to generate interest online… and this was way before influencer marketing became a thing. I was fortunate that a previous employer gave me an opportunity to validate some of my theories. That experience allowed me to grow my credibility and confidence and turn a passion into a career.
Dan: What were some of the marketing tactics you explored?
Allen: I mainly focused on building customer relationships through a mix of online content creation, search engine optimization, digital advertising, and email marketing.
Dan: Has marketing drastically changed since the early days of your career?
Allen: Absolutely! Over the last decade, marketing has seen a tremendous transformation, mainly due to advancements in technology and data-based approaches. This has changed the realities and perceptions of how marketing can impact the bottom line. Through digital and physical mediums, marketing has the ability to identify, nurture and convert passive prospects into loyal customers and even into ambassadors of a brand. Moreover, organic and paid activities can be tracked and directly linked to profit. Quantifying marketing’s contribution is no longer an abstract notion. Today, marketing can tell a brand’s story in an effective and measurable manner.
Dan: Where do you see these and other changes in marketing impacting the experiential industry?
Allen: In light of increased competition on and off the trade show floor, sophisticated brand marketers are now looking for new ways to optimize their experiential and overall marketing budget spend. Historically, trade shows were the ideal place for companies to connect with buyers, build buzz and sell products. However, the investment return was often difficult to assess. Now you can incorporate digital tactics within an activation to collect information and consequently nurture prospects through a series of targeted campaigns. Moreover, activations no longer have to be an individual event. There should be a sequence of connected events that keep the momentum going all year long. Currently, many of our clients are re-evaluating their programs to determine how to maximize their face-to-face exposure while simultaneously enhancing their ability to reach financial and non-financial goals.
Dan: When you say re-evaluating their programs, do you mean that a trade show exhibit is not enough to make the most out of experiential marketing?
Allen: Not exactly. Every scenario is different. My team and I wrote an ebook last year that detailed ideas and strategies to extend a companies trade show presence by going beyond the booth. For the most part, we believe an exhibit at a trade show is one single component of a greater, connected brand experience roadmap.
Dan: You and your team recently updated the MC² website. Did recent industry changes contribute to this update?
Allen: As any industry evolves, an organization has to be nimble and responsive to their client’s expectations. The same rules apply to a brand’s digital presence. I felt the need to enhance our website to better convey our full suite of service offerings, value propositions and competitive differentiators in addition to creating a better user experience for both current customers and passive visitors. The new website makes it easy for anyone to discover who MC² is and what it is we do. I believe the website now truly represents our position in the market as a trusted advisor and strategic partner.
Dan: The amount of experience and knowledge you’ve accumulated could be applied to any company but what made MC² stand out to you?
Allen: Unlike the other places where I’ve worked, MC² unites several core competencies. From strategy to design to fabrication to installation, they are able to deliver a client’s vision and exceed their expectations. It truly takes a team of people from all types of backgrounds to come together and contribute to a common goal. There is something very unique and special about that in this day and age.
Dan: The amount of effort that goes into any project at MC² is something I’ve grown to appreciate. Is there anything else you would like to add before we wrap-up?
Allen: When an activation or event opens and both the client and attendees have a smile on their face … there is no greater feeling than witnessing the sheer amazement and joy of people experiencing something we created. Not many industries or careers can offer that level of satisfaction. That is what keeps me going day in and day out.