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Interview with Lindsey Bancroft – A New Experience: Learning About Experiential Marketing – Episode #33

“What you thought was cutting-edge yesterday is already outdated or been done 20 times over by the next day…I find that to be the biggest challenge and the most rewarding part of this job.”

Vowing to create the ultimate consumer experience out of anything she touches, Lindsey Bancroft has spent more than a decade producing activations for top brands including Jeep, ViacomCBS, PepsiCo Foodservice, and Hulu. Leaning on her background in touring logistics, large-scale event production, and sponsorship management Lindsey loves the challenge of turning wild ideas into incredible Experiential programs. She is also a founding Partner and VP of Client Services at Be The Machine.

In this episode we talked about the similarities and differences between digital and experiential marketing, the distinct challenges experiential marketers face in 2021, is Out-of-Home (OOH) advertising dead, and much more. If you’re interested in learning more about marketing in general, not just digital marketing, this episode is for you!

Full Episode Transcript:

Kenny Soto  0:01  

We are now recording in 54321. Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of Kenny Soto’s Digital Marketing podcast. Before I introduce today’s guest, I wanted to do some quick admin to make sure that we are servicing you the listener in the best way possible. And essentially, I want to know, what topics do you want covered this year that you feel aren’t being covered? Right now we’ve gone over product development, marketing, a martec, or software as a service company. We’ve gone over SEO PPC. And we are having in the future more media buyers on the podcast, more creatives. But this is just done done through my own research. And I definitely want to hear from you the listener, what topics What skills what experts do you want me to reach out to? So that way, as we go into Episode 40 Episode 50 Episode 60, you are getting the best of the best in terms of digital marketing experts and marketing experts overall. And with that being said, I want to introduce today’s guest. 


Her name is Lindsey Bancroft. Vowing to create the ultimate consumer experience out of anything she touches. Lindsay has spent more than a decade producing activations for top brands. Now here this, these brands include Jeep, Viacom, CBS, Pepsi, food service, and even Hulu. Leaning on her background and touring logistics, large scale event production and sponsorship management. Lindsay loves the challenge of turning wild ideas into incredible experiential programs. She is also a founding partner and vice president of Client Services at BU the machine. Welcome, Lindsay. 


Lindsey Bancroft  1:50  

Thanks for having me. Perfect. 


Kenny Soto  1:52  

So I wanted to start off the podcast by asking you an overarching question. That way the listeners can get a better context of who you are and why you are in the career that you’re in. So my first question is, why did you get into marketing?


Lindsey Bancroft  2:13  

That’s a great question. So I what I wanted to do, like I think most found my way into the Mass Communication School. Admittedly, I went to a program that also had a digital media program. And at the time, it was an up and coming thing people didn’t know what that was. So I sort of went down the rabbit hole. And when I came out the other end, I found building experiences was really my, my bread and butter. I spent a little bit of time working for Live Nation on the sponsorship and marketing side. And then moved into building brand experiences. And I have not looked back since.


Now, brand experiences and experiential marketing, from what I can understand is different as a, as opposed to digital marketing. So my next question would be What are those differences? And are there any similarities between the two?


Yeah, absolutely. So I mean, you know, I think that the common goal that marketers share, whether it’s digital, experiential, you know, out of home is that we’re trying to target consumers, you know, we’re evaluating patterns, and really trying to find audiences that we know, are captive and ready, you know, and speak to them directly. I think the biggest difference is that, at least now, is I think that there’s a lot of tools available for digital marketing, to help target audiences and to find, you know, a captive consumer, you know, you’re getting people in a moment when they’re on their phone, they’re on their computer. 


And, you know, obviously now in 2020 2021, we are constantly attached to our devices, experiential, you know, we’re shooting a shot, you know, we’re looking for a moment in time to engage with a person, you know, in real life. That’s not to say that, you know, we as experiential marketers haven’t gotten creative in particular, in the last year, year and a half, you know, in making engagements that are still experiences for people and honestly, shared experiences that people can have. But to me, that’s, that’s the biggest difference between experiential and digital. You know, we don’t have things like search engine optimization to best target our audiences. 


You know, we don’t have the opportunity to use repetitive formats. You know, maybe if you do a tour, and there’s some consistency from, you know, a multi stop multimarket tour, you know, we’re able to kind of build some efficacy in that but, you know, it isn’t necessarily as simple not to be little digital marketing. It’s not as simple and there’s not as many you know, tools are writing the rules.


Kenny Soto  5:03  

Now, one of the main reasons why I wanted you to be a guest on the podcast is I’m always trying to figure out what are some new skills and new areas of marketing, not just including digital marketing, that our listeners can use an explorer to be better in their career. And with that being said, there are, I’m assuming very distinct challenges that you face in your industry and in your specific job role. What are those challenges? And can you be specific in terms of experimental marketing,


Lindsey Bancroft  5:40  

I mean, I find the biggest challenge, which honestly is the most fun part of it, every request that we get, is, we want to do something new, never been done first to market, you know, we want to, we want to set the trend, we want to be the thing that people are talking about in trades on LinkedIn. And that is, it’s a challenge, because, you know, every day we’re seeing new things pop up, and, you know, what you thought was cutting edge yesterday is already outdated, or been done 20 times over by the next day. 


So, you know, I find that to be the biggest challenge, but also the most rewarding part of this job, you know, the chase of it all, in trying to really reinvent the wheel, day in and day out for any kind of brand out there. I mean, and in the truth is that, you know, the brands may differ, but the goal is always the same, you know, we want to be the coolest, the most innovative, we want to draw the most attention, you know, everybody wants to be the one being talked about. So, you know, I found that to be a challenge, obviously, in the timing that we’re in right now, the the second or maybe biggest challenge is, you know, people for a long moment in time we’re not in person, they weren’t getting together, they the the whole idea behind experiential marketing. 


You know, in particular, when you talk about major events, the idea of putting hundreds, if not 1000s, if not hundreds of 1000s of people in the same space to experience a moment in time, with their hands, with their eyes, with their, you know, with their everything. It really rocked us to be honest. You know, and I am a firm believer in the world of experience and the physical nature of being able to get your hands on a product or do a test drive in a vehicle or sample, a packaged good. It really rock just to figure out how to be able to offer that to people in a way that would still have meaning, you know, that would still, you know, make them want to actually engage. I mean, it’s it’s been a wild ride this last year and a half. If we can even say half February feels like a whole year,


Kenny Soto  7:58  

because it certainly does and out of home advertising. Does it still work in 2021?


Lindsey Bancroft  8:07  

Honestly, I think out of home advertising is not only working, but it’s booming right now. I mean, and the truth is that, you know, there was obviously a change in consumer traffic patterns that the beginning of COVID. And, you know, traditional out of home is all you know, they rely heavily on people in motion, you know, and so you weren’t getting your nine to five commuters you weren’t there weren’t as many cars on the road, everybody was kind of hunkering down. 


But the truth is that at this moment in time, when things are starting to open up and shift, I’ve found that some brands are really taking advantage of the fact that they can buy really great out of home space at a really low rate by comparison. And saturate markets. And you know, now people are starting to come out a bit more and make its move. So I honestly think that this coming year is going to be the year that have home. The nice part is that, you know, we’re experiential and out of home, you know, to me, I find like a good there’s an open door without of home that, you know, we can get some experiential tactics in there. There’s extensions of traditional out of home, you know, we ourselves offer a few things that I would consider like untrue, non traditional out of home, you know, artistic murals is a really great example of that. 


So, you know, we’ve been doing those quite often in COVID times. And the beauty of those is that, you know, we’re able to go into locations where traditional out of home boards don’t exist and create that space for somebody. But yeah, I am a big believer in out of home right now. I think it’s having its moment in the sun.


Kenny Soto  9:52  

Out Of Home advertising, does it work for clients across all industries? is, are there certain industries where out of home performs better than others?


Lindsey Bancroft  10:08  

I think I think there’s a case to be made for out of home for any, any medium or any, any category, I would say that direct to consumer, the DTC category is certainly seeing a really great uptick from out of home. You know, and that I think makes sense, because, you know, we’re in this mindset of, you know, we’re home all the time, what kind of things are we buying right now? You know, so in the parallel between a direct to consumer category, and, you know, what we’re doing right now is a people who’s coming out of hibernation, if you will, it makes sense. 


But, I mean, there’s some really, again, there’s some really creative things, I think, that have been done in the out of home space, there’s been, you know, a good introduction and use of things like experiential tactics to bolt on to out of home campaigns, you know, you see a lot of now like 3d, juicy, a lot of digital out of home, you know, projection mapping and things like that. So, you know, as, as technology becomes better, or there’s more offerings involved, you know, what you can do with traditional out of home media is becoming, you know, sexier, if you will.


Now, would you say there is a way to combine or transfer the skills that you have in experimental experiential marketing, excuse me into digital marketing? Could there be a blend between the two practices?


I mean, sure, you know, I think in any, any good marketer is going to tell you that, you have to wear like, 10 hats at once, you know, probably 20 Some days. So, you know, I think that, we’ve all kind of gotten, you know, we’ve put our head downs and gotten gritty and tried to figure out what, what skills we have that can be applicable across the board. You know, I think that contact skills are huge, you know, engagement skills are huge. 


And that, you know, from a digital perspective, I think, just because you’re behind a screen, or you’re outputting, something that’s meant to be seen on a screen, you know, you still have to be able to communicate a voice and, you know, there has to be a tone that said, you know, we talk a lot about like, brand energy, you know, and making sure that that energy is shown from start to finish. And that’s part of it to keeping that a part of the conversation. So, you know, I was reading a bit on your bio, also, and I know that copywriting is huge for you. 


And that’s something that I’m starting to, and have spent some time trying to brush up on, because I see that there’s a good parallel and use for that, you know, on my end, the organization tactics, I think that we need the planning that goes in to any type of marketing and any type of media, you know, it’s a different means to an end, but we all again, have a similar goal. So, you know, the, the planning stages and the, the HyperX. Organization, I think that any any good marketer has, no matter what section of marketing you’re in, you know, I think all of us have, you know, that kind of closeted type A personality that takes us from one to the other.


Kenny Soto  13:37  

Are there any particular resources that you use to stay up to date in your particular field, and, more importantly, to stay competitive in your career?


Lindsey Bancroft  13:52  

Yeah, I mean, ahead of COVID, my biggest thing was, was really going to other events and experiencing other things that people had out there, you know, going to the trade shows, going to the CES is of the world going to the south by southwest of the world going to Comic Con, you know, in an ideal situation, we would be activating and then also doing, you know, a little bit of recon, but there were times that we’d be going to, you know, events and activations that we weren’t involved with just to really see what was out there and what was happening. 


You know, obviously, there’s a lot of really great industry trades available. You know, it’s kind of hard to cut through the noise of that sometimes. LinkedIn has been a really good resource as of late. There’s a lot of folks that are, you know, actively sharing what they’re doing, you know, which has been really helpful. I’m, I personally am a visual person, you know, so for me, it’s all about, you know, seeing something and experiencing something and kind of getting an understanding. I mean, I also have to give a big shout out to the vendors that we work With because they’re constantly staying on top of the trends, and they’re making sure that we know that, you know, there’s new things out there, there’s new things that exist, you know, ahead of of the last year, you know, they would come in and do presentations, in the very least, you know, we’re getting sent videos and, and, you know, demo of product. So, you know, it’s kind of the symbiotic relationship between us, our vendors, the client, and then you know, the end user, which is the consumer, to really bring it all together. 


You know, and I think in this last year and a half, and I keep kind of harping on that, because it really, it’s been a whole different world. But I can honestly say that, that whole, we’re in this together vibe, you know, there’s moments in time where I really have felt that from a client perspective, and even from a vendor perspective, you know, because all of us have the same goal, which is really, to offer these, you know, incredible opportunities for consumers to experience these products and these services, you know, and to do it now in a safe and comfortable way.


Kenny Soto  16:07  

Love it. And my last question is, hypothetical. And something that I like to ask every single guest, which is, if you can go back in time, let’s say 10 years, and know everything that you know, right now, how would you speed up your career to get to where you are today? Even faster?


Lindsey Bancroft  16:35  

Honestly, and it’s gonna, it’s gonna sound so cliche, I don’t know, if I would. I really don’t know if I would I, and I think back on it often. And it might be because I’m like five and a half months pregnant. And so I’ve got all this, like, extra energy happening. But when I think about the last 10 years, and I think in general about my career, from literally, from graduation day forward, it has been a hell of a ride in the best way possible. You know, I have had the opportunity to learn so much by trial by error by mistake by success, you know, you name it, we’ve done it, you know, in locations from, you know, Bozeman, Montana, to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to Aspen to New York to Los Angeles. 


I mean, it’s we’ve really run the gamut, you know, National Hot Rod Association races in the desert to the winter X Games at Aspen, you know, to state fairs in Ohio and Iowa. So I don’t think I would go backwards in time, I think it is, I needed to make those mistakes, right. Like, I knew I needed to learn. You know, I will say, I have to give a shout out to our founder and CEO, that’d be the machine because he, I mean, he really took a chance on me when I was a fresh college grad. You know, I felt like I had a solid resume coming out of college. But, you know, I moved from Denver, Colorado, to New York City without a job and was like, I’ll figure it out. And he rolled the dice on me. And the truth is, I’ve worked with him now for the better part of a decade, over a decade at this point. You know, and he let me make those mistakes. He let me learn. 


And he let me kind of grow and, and make those mistakes and kind of get to where I am today. So yeah, I know, that’s not the answer, maybe that you were hoping for, but I don’t think I’d go back in time. I think I’d want to do it all over again, the high highs and low lows, it was worth it.


Kenny Soto  18:43  

Mistakes are seeds for knowledge. I forgot where Yeah, I read that. But that’s one quote that came to mind as you were giving your answer. If anyone wants to find you online, Lindsey, where could they connect?


Lindsey Bancroft  18:59  

So and this is again, not probably the ideal answer. I do have a LinkedIn I am working on being more active on it. I for as much as I’m I’m interested in offering experiences, I am a very, you know, behind the door type of person. So I have an Instagram but it’s on private. I have a Facebook that I’m pretty sure I’m going to delete here in the next couple of weeks. So yeah, my biggest presence honestly, is you know, our company, Instagram is a great place to see what we’re up to. 


Again, I’m working on being more active on LinkedIn. So if you if you listen to this and you want to connect with me, I encourage you to please send me an invite and let’s start a conversation. I’m always open to those conversations. I I mean, I consider myself a young in kind of in the space. So if anybody has any questions or you’re trying to break into the industry or you know you’re you’re in Digital money, you want to move into experiential or you just started in experiential and we’re in the middle of a pandemic and you want to talk, talk it out. I’m totally open to that. 


And then I think you can connect with me through through email. Also, I don’t know if you want to put my email in the notes, but that’s fine, too. If you want to share my email, I’ll always, always take shoutouts


Kenny Soto  20:22  

you heard it here first, folks. This has been another episode of Kenny Soto Digital Marketing podcast with Lindsey Bancroft. And, again, thank you for your time. Thank you for listening and I hope everyone has a great week. Bye.

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