Five Questions with agencyMAMA’s co-founder, Michelin Hall

What made you want to go into experiential marketing, as opposed to traditional marketing? 

Well, I started out producing events even before anyone paid me to do it.  So, first and foremost, it was my skillset.  This is what I was meant to do, that was clear.  Plus, I always found traditional marketing rather boring to execute.  As a business owner, there is a lot of money to be made in traditional forms of marketing and advertising, but it’s mind-numbing work.  I didn’t want build a team of brilliant, creative people only to subject them to cold calls, list trades, ad buys and the like.  

How would you describe your job in five words? 

Fun.  Creative.  Hands-on.  Immersive.  Rewarding.

What is the most important thing to remember when beginning to create an experiential campaign? 

The most important thing to remember is the bottom line.  Too many agencies seem to be forgetting the business of the business!  At the end of the day, we have to create results if we want our clients and ourselves to prosper.  Last year, we had an ROI of 350% here at MAMA.  This is something of which I am extremely proud.  Creative ideas and flawless execution are key, but you must begin with the end in mind.  And in the end, it’s all about the Benjamins.

Do you think experiential marketing is overlooked? If so, why?

There are people who overlook experiential.  And then there are their more dynamic, more successful counterparts.  I find it fascinating that some of the best Advertising and Marketing schools in the world…like FIT for example, don’t even teach Experiential.  It’s possible for students to come out of years of schooling without even knowing what this form is all about.  Can you imagine going to cooking school and no one showing you how to use a mixer?
The best marketing and advertising professionals need all kinds of “tools” in their “toolbox,” as client needs are always changing.  For years, guerrilla marketing and activations were definitely marginalized.  Today, however, we’re seeing the best and biggest companies like Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy, for example, invest a lot of money in experiential marketing managers because they’ve seen its impact.  One study after another continues to show that Millennials especially will not adopt a brand unless they’ve had a personal experience with that brand, or know someone who has.  Those who do overlook it today, will soon find themselves in the same place as those folks who swore they would never get an email address.

What advice would you give to someone going into experiential marketing?

Go get your hands dirty.  Experiential companies are by nature very personable and approachable.  Don’t be afraid to reach out to one in which you are interested and intern or request an interview.  Secondly, I would say, start collecting experiences of your own.  Find out who produced the parts of an event or experience that you loved and get to know them.  If you saw some projection mapped exhibit you loved…reach out to the creator.  If you walk by an installation, happening, chalk drawing, or crazy flash mob…find out who did it and get in touch with them.  Artists love to talk about their work.  Listen and stay in touch.  Your rolodex of trusted, tested, vendors is powerful and not to be underestimated.

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