Digital Velocity
Skip to main content
Digital Velocity Podcast Hosted by Tim Curtis and Erik Martinez

56 Brand Building Through Experiential Marketing - Kitty Hart

This week on the Digital Velocity Podcast, Kitty Hart of Heroic Productions joins Erik and Tim to discuss how to build a brand through innovative, memorable, and life-changing marketing events and experiences.

Businesses can either choose to do nothing and have no control over the brand, or they can develop the brand using various marketing strategies. Kitty says, “In the brand world, we often will hear people say the brand is not what you say it is, it's what other people say it is. And I get that. I understand what they're saying. So, I always kind of push back on that and say, well then, you better make sure that the experiences that you're putting out there are telling the story that you want to tell.”

An important way to cultivate a brand is through special events and experiences. When experiential marketing is done effectively, it will leave a long-lasting brand impression that generates revenue. Kitty explains, “…if you're not designing that entire experience, I guarantee that you're leaving a lot of things that will be less than experiences for people in the room. So, it's important that the brand, that the planning committee, the marketing team, that they're thinking about, why are we doing this? How do we want people to feel? What do we want people to do as the outcome of this? Because that's where you will get that ROI length somewhere down the line.”  

Experiential marketing has been a reliable and profitable marketing tool for many years even though it is challenging to show direct return on investment. Kitty says, “It is difficult to attach hard ROI on these initiatives, but we do know that there is such a strong connection between physical experiences and people. Experiential marketing has been around for a very long time. This isn't something that's just risen in the last few decades. This goes back to the 1800s, in fact. I wish that there were more examples of tangible ROI on it, but event marketing is a tried and true method of marketing. We see it most in engagement and what that does for a team and an employee base. The physicality of bringing people together and that interaction, networking, learning together. All of that is unmatched.”

Listen to this week’s episode to learn more about how businesses can use experiential marketing to create brand impressions.

About the Guest:

Kitty Hart is an accomplished sales and marketing professional with a passion for creating unforgettable experiences. As the Vice President of Client Brand Experience at Heroic Productions, Kitty leads the charge in producing in-person, virtual, and hybrid events for large corporations and organizations.

With over 28 years of experience working with brands of all sizes, Kitty’s expertise extends far beyond traditional marketing and sales approaches. She has a unique ability to help brands discover their authentic story and bring it to life through impactful brand strategy, naming, package design, and brand storytelling. Her passion for experiential marketing has also led her to become an expert in experience design, partnership marketing, and solving complex business challenges with Design-thinking.

Throughout her career, Kitty has been a sought-after speaker, writer, and mentor, inspiring countless professionals in the marketing and events industries. Her unbridled creativity and passion for experiential marketing make her an invaluable asset to the Heroic team.

When she’s not busy creating unforgettable events, Kitty can be found dreaming of becoming the next Food Network star. Her commitment to excellence and unwavering dedication to her craft make her a true hero in the world of event production and marketing.


Tim Curtis: [00:00:00] Hello, and welcome to today's episode of the Digital Velocity Podcast. I'm Tim Curtis from CohereOne.

Erik Martinez: And I'm Erik Martinez from Blue Tangerine.

Tim Curtis: And today we would like to welcome Kitty Hart to the show. Kitty Hart is the VP of Client Brand Experience at Heroic Productions. With over 28 years of experience, she specializes in creating unforgettable in-person events for large corporations and organizations. Kitty is an expert in brand strategy, package design, brand storytelling, and experiential design. Kitty, welcome to the show.

Kitty Hart: Thank you. So happy to be here.

Tim Curtis: Good to have you [00:01:00] here. Why don't you tell us a little bit about your journey and arriving at Heroic?

Kitty Hart: Sure. Thank you. I have been in business development my entire career. So, this track that I went down in marketing started because my very first sales job was mid-nineties when video marketing was the hot form of media at the time. I don't know if you guys will remember that or not. But it became a very hot tactic to drop very personalized video cassettes into the mail.

So, I was a sales rep for this manufacturing company who was doing this. I sold to marketing agencies, big brands, advertising agencies, et cetera, and that was what sent me down this track. So, my entire career, when I've been in branding and package design and experience design, I've always been in a business development role, which is fun and challenging. I'm very happy to be here at Heroic [00:02:00] Productions and sitting smack dab in the middle of experiential marketing in the form of meetings and events.

Tim Curtis: Well, we were talking a little bit before the show and I mentioned, you know, my history in producing events, both large and small over the years. A couple of thoughts that came to me. You know, I remember back in the day, in the early 2000s, searching for someone that could sort of manage the experiential and stage production aspect of an event. It was a bit fleeting actually, trying to find that, but we didn't have your card, so to say, in the day.

A lot of brands today are either hosting their own events or they're creating some type of an event experience. A lot of what you do is you marry different aspects of the client brands, it could be operations, it could be sales, whatever they're doing, to really kind of highly architect a very brand-building experience. And we were chatting about the importance of that.

When you host an event or you produce an event and it's [00:03:00] exceptionally well done and it has all of those elements that really take it over the top and really wows, it pays dividends for years and years to come. We see it all the time. We've experienced it at CohereOne and I know Erik has at Blue Tangerine.

A couple of questions about that and kind of hear your thoughts. What is that, from your perspective that goes into that aha, that really creates that and how do brands need to think about those events to ensure that you can come alongside and execute the outcome that they're really asking for, whether or not they know the question to ask?

Kitty Hart: Yeah. Well, I love the term that you used, highly architect. That's key. Event marketing is not an inexpensive track of marketing. These are big events. These can run anywhere from a full day to three or four days. Oftentimes you're flying your audience somewhere because that's part of the experience as well.

Tim Curtis: Right.

Kitty Hart: Highly architected is absolutely correct because if [00:04:00] you're not designing that entire experience, I guarantee that you're leaving a lot of things that will be less than experiences for people in the room. So, it's important that the brand, that the planning committee, the marketing team, that they're thinking about, why are we doing this? How do we want people to feel? What do we want people to do as the outcome of this? Because that's where you will get that ROI length somewhere down the line.

There are so many things that go into creating these experiences that will make them successful. There's a reason why brands and people connect with each other. It's an art and a science. There are fabulous books written on this topic.

So, how do you engage people? One of the first things that I remind our clients about is the fact that we are human beings and we have these [00:05:00] senses. So, let's think about all of these senses when we design our experiences. When you can tap into as many of those senses as possible within the experience, you have the best opportunity to have an amazing outcome from that event.

Tim Curtis: That's a really excellent thought. I hadn't even thought of that.

Erik Martinez: Definitely.

Kitty Hart: We are people. We're people. We're not users. We're not consumers. We're not employees. We are human beings.

Tim Curtis: I do a lot of speaking to audiences at conventions and conferences, and one of the questions that always comes back is, when we're talking about in a B2C environment, obviously B2C, very dynamic, you're dealing directly with consumers, the technological ecosystem you're working in is much larger than it is in just a pure B2B play, but the B2B person will always raise their hand and say, okay, but what about me? I focus on B2B. We can't do any of those fun things.

But you're right. You're still marketing to a human. By covering those five [00:06:00] senses, you really have a chance to put your brain into a thinking mode that otherwise you wouldn't think about that. You're guiding them almost to a goal that they can't even articulate. I mean, is that fair?

Kitty Hart: Yes, very. Yeah. And I push back on those companies who will say, yeah, but that's a B2C strategy. We can't do that. You can take ideas from that or take inspiration from what you've seen consumer brands do. I think that's very small-minded. It's one of the things that I think stunts creativity within B2B brands.

Tim Curtis: When you're dealing with an event, you really have to take a step back and mentally go through, okay? What is the discovery process? How are they finding out about this event? What is the registration process like? What is the registration process like on-site? Are they getting a bag full of things that they have to drag around all the time, or are you really thinking through the element of we don't [00:07:00] want that at this event? This is what we want.

And if you start to really ask those questions, I would think it would be very helpful to have someone like Heroic come alongside. Because most of the time when you get into why is this event happening? It's, oh, we're launching a new product or we're doing this or we're doing that. Okay, but how do we support that through an event? That's a very different play than launching some sort of a new product or something or a new product line.

Kitty Hart: Yep. Yes, exactly. Starting with why are we doing this? That will help inform then how do we want to engage people, what do we want them to experience. The options are endless. There are so many different ways that you can do that. What has become challenging is that again, as human beings, it's become really difficult to surprise and delight people anymore. We kind of feel like we've seen it all.

Our clients, these larger companies typically will have a meetings and events team. It's constantly their challenge [00:08:00] to figure out, okay, how are we going to do it differently this year? And it doesn't necessarily have to be, can we one up from last year? But we do need to create different so that people don't look at it and go, oh, yeah, we have to go to that annual event again with dread. People should look forward to this.

Tim Curtis: Right. Yeah. That's the goal.

Erik Martinez: I think that's right. Kitty, you know, we work with a number of brands that are predominantly online-only brands. To a certain extent, they have some of those same characteristics you were talking about in the B2B brands. Like, that's for the brick-and-mortar retailers to do because they have physical spaces and things that they can go to. So, what thoughts might you have in taking an online-only business and leveraging an event, a physical event to help promote their brand? What are the things that they could [00:09:00] potentially do?

Kitty Hart: Well, so many things. But it has to be authentic to the brand. This is a really cool example. I love looking at brands like Uber, these brands that totally disrupted their category. A really cool event that they did a number of years ago now, but it's still just a really good example. that brand lives here. We interface with it through our phones.

Tim Curtis: Right. Our phones. Yep.

Kitty Hart: And then, of course, the car is physical, and that experience that we have in the vehicle and being transported, that's a physical experience. But most of the time, we're interacting with it through our digital device. When they were really getting off the ground, they created a really cool experience. It was in New York. They identified their super users. These are people who are using Uber daily, probably multiple times a day.

And they created a beautifully branded, bus is not a good word because it was a beautiful vehicle, and they created [00:10:00] a really special and unique dining experience on that vehicle. They brought in a celebrity chef. They invited maybe 12 people, 12 of these super users, to have this dining experience on this Uber-branded vehicle. What I think was really fascinating about it is that it was a tiny event. We're talking 12 people. I don't have the figures on it, but the social reach that came out of that event because of those people and because of the experience itself was amazing.

Erik Martinez: What's cool about that is yeah, it might be expensive in the context of a dinner with a celebrity chef, but it's not an expensive event to do and reasonably easy to accomplish. Right?

Kitty Hart: Yes.

Erik Martinez: So, this is a pretty low-hanging fruit idea that anybody could apply and they could say, hey, you know what, we're going to take our 20 best customers, fly them into our [00:11:00] headquarters, and do something like that. I think that's amazing. And you're right, the social value from doing that type of event is incalculable.

Kitty Hart: Yes.

Erik Martinez: That's pretty cool. That's pretty cool.

Tim Curtis: It does contribute to goodwill, and goodwill is a monetary value of a brand. So, when you have those kinds of experiences and you can create that inevitable buzz off of that, that's an example where you don't sit down in accounting at that moment, right?

Kitty Hart: Right.

Tim Curtis: And calculate out the return on that. But it does. And I think anybody who is a business owner or you've negotiated an exit, you do know that at the end of the day, when they go to calculate that goodwill for that brand, those kind of experiences really, really matter.

Kitty Hart: Yes.

Tim Curtis: The smart brands have figured that out and they do those kinds of things. That's a great example of what you could do.

Kitty Hart: I love it.

Tim Curtis: Yeah. What a great idea. When you're in brand storytelling and you're in that space you've got to approach it from that buzz [00:12:00] perspective. Such a good way to think about it, man.

Kitty Hart: Buzz is not just for consumer brands either. We need more business-to-business corporate marketers to embrace that. We are a corporate event production company, but our events aren't snooze fests. They can't be. It's putting on a production. We need to keep people's attention from the moment they walk into the room until they are leaving the event with all of the memories and the experiences that they've just had in the day. And then they go and you know what they do with that? They share it with everybody that they possibly can.

Tim Curtis: Yeah, they do. They absolutely do. So, let's talk a little bit about the audience. Let's say you're working with a brand that's going to need your services to produce an event. On the brand side, what I've experienced is oftentimes there's a degree of uncomfortable when you step into these events and you start talking about things that are outside the normal scope of what those [00:13:00] businesses talk about. If they are a company that sells widgets or they sell things to other companies or services to other companies, they're not really acclimated to talk a lot about the things that make an event succeed. And they certainly don't always have their hands around terms like goodwill, right? You know, social value, buzz, and architecting an event.

But you all have to do some degree of work with them to gain insights into the audience that's going to be attending in order to help orchestrate or architect the outcome that is desired. Walk us through that. What does that look like? What are the questions and the probing things that you're helping those clients think about, and the strategies to then, you know, start to escalate those ideas to a roadmap and an outcome?

Kitty Hart: Yeah. Our clients, again, that meeting and events team that sits within the marketing entity of that company, they know the audience because it's typically an employee base. They know [00:14:00] the audience. They know all the roles that will be represented. They know the age ranges that will be represented. So, that's one thing. And then again, we look at what is the purpose of the event. Are we launching a new product? Are we celebrating achievements? Is it a sales kickoff for the year? Whatever that might be.

So, then the client typically knows, this is the content that we're going to need to present. Then we are at the table where we can help influence how that is shared across the day or the two days or the three days, whatever it might be. How will the presenters present? Is there an opportunity to infuse some entertainment into the experience? Is there an opportunity to bring in a keynote speaker that is outside of the company that would be a particular interest to the audience?

That's not new. Really cool, unexpected keynote speakers and entertainment, that's been around for a while, [00:15:00] but it just keeps getting better and better. These people are more reachable than ever. You can have Mel Robbins on your stage, you can have Barack Obama on your stage, you can have Pitbull on your stage talking about resilience, and overcoming all of the crazy things that he had in his, did you know that he's a keynote speaker now?

Tim Curtis: I do actually. I do.

Kitty Hart: It's so great.

Tim Curtis: When I first learned that, I thought, what must that be like? But love him or hate him. He's compelling. He's a very, very, very compelling figure.

Kitty Hart: Yeah. I love him.

Tim Curtis: I do too.

Kitty Hart: And I've seen him in concert. His concert is like a big wrapped-up motivational speech. So, the collaboration that happens around the table with our client identifying and really knowing the audience inside and out because it is their customer base, and then looking at here's the content that needs to be shared. Our team comes in and helps them set the stage, literally.

I use the [00:16:00] analogy all the time, all the world's a stage. We're going to help your brand show up on that stage in the very best way that it can. How will it look? How will those messages be conveyed? Every speaker that comes out onto the stage, we need to make sure that they are seen, heard, and their messages are felt, they resonate through the entire event. That's what our clients rely on us to do.

Tim Curtis: It's like you're coming alongside the clients and guiding them to go deeper almost in their own thinking. Like I mentioned, at the beginning of the question, how uncomfortable or how unfamiliar some of this seems to be for people to navigate. For a brand to do this on their own, you're really asking them to step into shoes and step into experience that they've not experienced.

You wouldn't ask members of the finance team, for example, to say, hey, we need you to step way outside of your comfort zone and help think about content and entertainment for an event. It's an art form that has science built around it. The most common core here or [00:17:00] foundation is human psychology and the way that humans interact. You guys start to unlock some of those things so that the experience opens up, the mind opens up, the heart opens up. And at that point in time, what you're really doing is you're then leaving them with a brand impression.

One that they get to kind of walk out and carry with them. And, you know, you've referred to that before. That really is the intrinsic value of what you're doing in that process. And I love that. And I'm gonna go back to that goodwill again. It's the hidden figure of what you're spending on your brand from a PR perspective. The argument I've had in talking about these kind of events and selling the events, and sometimes they're events that you had charge a registration for. Because you're going to try to offset some of, if not all of the cost that you do. You'll have, maybe have some sponsorships, you'll have some of those kinds of things.

But at the end of the day, the question you have to ask is very strategic in nature. This allows us to either change, modify, or reinforce the arc of our story, our own story, our [00:18:00] own branding, and our own position in the marketplace. And the challenge for people who sometimes are uncomfortable thinking about that or investing in that is if you are not architecting your story, your competitor is. So, you really have to think about that and you have to kind of decide where are we going to fall on this. Where are we going to fall on this? And that's why I think the services are so key and critical when you're talking about the event space.

Kitty Hart: Yeah, absolutely. In the brand world, we often will hear people say the brand is not what you say it is, it's what other people say it is. And I get that. I understand what they're saying. So, I always kind of push back on that and say, well then, you better make sure that the experiences that you're putting out there are telling the story that you want to tell.

Erik Martinez: You got to take control of the narrative. You got to be a voice in your own narrative. I know I'm guilty of this where we fall into that trap of well, I [00:19:00] can't control what other people say. Which is also true, but we need to be able to at least let them have an informed opinion. I think that's the magic you're talking about.

I think the other thing that's really interesting about what you do is you're also talking about transformation. Transformation of the brand, but also transformation of the audience. What are they coming out with that makes them feel, do, whatever, better than they did before they came to that set of experience?

Kitty Hart: Yes, absolutely.

Erik Martinez: And that's a critical piece. So, let's talk about transformation for a moment and shift into this really interesting time in the event world. We were shut down for a couple of years.

Kitty Hart: Yes, we were.

Erik Martinez: For the most part, and then we've come out and everybody with a rage went back to in-person events. And now it's, at least we're seeing, that there's a little bit of a pullback on that. Some might say it's the economy. Some people might [00:20:00] say it's companies don't have the budgets that they did. And I think some of all of those things are true.

During the pandemic, we all went to these digital virtual events, and you had two or three 500 people show up who probably paid attention for 10 minutes, the vast majority. Right? And then we went back to these in-person events, and we're seeing that some of these events are well attended and yet, they feel like they're missing the point. And so, the question for you is, as we move forward in time, what's the ideal blend of this in-person versus virtual event? How do brands navigate that so that they can get the maximum effect and value out of the programs that they're trying to put on?

Kitty Hart: Yeah, Well, your assessment there aligns with what we've seen on our side as well. Once the restrictions were lifted and we could get back to in-person, our clients were [00:21:00] ready to go back to full in-person. So, we got crazy busy. I mean, we were busy through the pandemic because like you said, our clients needed to do something, so we went full virtual. And I think everybody in the space would say we've learned how to do that really well.

So then, in person came back. I'm in my office today. It's very quiet here because our crews are out. They're out doing events all over the country. And we're finding that now some of them are adding in a virtual component. And I think you're right. It's for a few different reasons.

So, one might be if the company has said, you know, we still want to have this physical experience, but our budget isn't going to allow us to bring everyone. So then, for those people who aren't able to travel, there is a virtual component of the event. There are also people who have just decided they're not going to do it anymore. They [00:22:00] don't want to travel for whatever reason. So, there's a virtual component for them as well. The challenge that that creates for the team and for us then is that we're basically creating two experiences.

I mean, I'm sitting here with three screens around me. There's nothing preventing me from multitasking and not paying attention. So, you have to create that experience almost completely separate from the experience that's happening in the room. There has to be content just for those people. This is not an inexpensive undertaking, and there was a big learning curve there through the pandemic. I think there were a lot of clients who thought that, well, this is not going to be nearly as expensive, right? Because we don't have to rent a venue.

Well, right. No venue, no food, none of that, but we've got a whole different technology system that now we need to create. And if we're going to be engaging with this event right here on this [00:23:00] screen that's this big, we have to make sure that that screen holds people's attention. There are so many things to consider in the virtual component. There are really good ways to bring the two together. Again, it just takes the mindset that we are going to design this experience.

Erik Martinez: I mean, you're really driving at the fact that regardless of what you do, you need to be intentional about it.

Kitty Hart: Yes.

Erik Martinez: You need to start with, why am I doing this? What's the intended effect on the audience? We at Blue Tangerine did this attitudinal survey on a segment of our customer base. One of the things that was really fascinating is that the psychological mindset of people is different. You could have four people sitting at a table, and they could all have four different points of view in terms of what their expectations are for that event.

So, whether it's digital or physical doesn't [00:24:00] really matter. You've got people who they're just thinkers. They're there in the world of ideas. And then you've got people who are a little more doers, right? They're very tactically-oriented. Right? And then you've got people who sit somewhere in between. Like, you know, I just need this one thing from this event. So, we've got to be able to think about all of those little things. What do they want to get out of that? And that applies not just to event marketing, that applies to everything.

Kitty Hart: Everything.

Erik Martinez: We do as a brand.

Kitty Hart: Yes. Can I give you one really good example of that?

Erik Martinez: I absolutely would love that.

Kitty Hart: Okay. I find that people get this example. So, let's use Starbucks as an example because I know everybody knows that brand. So, Starbucks has at least three different kinds of customers in, you have the person who will drive to Starbucks, get out of their vehicle, go in, order, and then sit down. Either meet with somebody or [00:25:00] work, you've got the customer who will come in and order. They like the act of driving there, getting out, going in, ordering, and walking out. And then you've got the customer that's going to go through the drive-thru. Now, also you've got the customer who's using the mobile app and will come in. Yep.

Tim Curtis: That would be me.

Erik Martinez: Tim's raising his hand.

Tim Curtis: Yeah.

Kitty Hart: Yep. Or drive-thru. Each of those customers is going to have a different experience. What do you want them to see? How do you want that experience to be? One of the best examples of a behavior that can be infused into these experiences is what a difference it makes when you order your coffee, and let's say that you're a five or six-dollar-a-day mocha drinker, and you pay for it and the barista makes it and they set it on the counter and there's no exchange. That says something. Versus the barista has now made it [00:26:00] and they hand it to you. I'm going to look you in the eye and I'm going to hand this to you delivering this $5, $6, it doesn't even matter how much it is, but that experience is radically different. These are moments within the experience that can create tremendous impact.

Erik Martinez: And what's really also interesting about that, the mindset of the customer at the time also impacts how they experience that. If I'm really running tight to get to a meeting or whatnot, I may not care that day if they hand it to me and call out my name. Right? Whereas, if I'm in a little more of a relaxed mode, I'm expecting that experience.

Kitty Hart: Yes.

Erik Martinez: So, we got to also remember that our customers have different emotions and they may be in different frames of mind, even though the experience that they're seeking is generally the same thing that they're pursuing.

Tim Curtis: Again, it underscores that psychology. Where are we? Each of those people are actually interacting with [00:27:00] different areas of the store. You have to think about each one.

Kitty Hart: Yeah. There's a reason why, at the drive-thru, there are things that sit on that little ledge right there, whatever they might be.

Tim Curtis: This is a great segue because it's really getting into some of the, almost the mind games, you have to play when you're thinking about experience. One of the exercises that's always been helpful to me is to have different people of different ilks, and people who experience, so you have a mix of introverts and extroverts, they perceive the world differently. And it's amazing the kind of things that introverts pick up on that extroverts don't. I always like to say sometimes the extroverts, like they're running through the place, whereas the introverts are taking their time and really soaking up all the perceptions around them.

When you are setting out on the beginning process with that client, let's use an example of not someone who's been doing this annually. Because I think there's a rhythm to those kind of engagements. And we're really talking about this is somebody coming for the first time. Maybe they're doing their initial event for the first time, and you're really kind of having to come alongside them.

And we [00:28:00] talked a little bit before the show about sales and marketing and handoff. A lot of teams, a lot of companies, I should say, if they're larger in size, they will have an event team within the marketing department. And so, as you're kind of starting to come through that process with them, it's really focusing on here on the strategy theme and content development. You know, you're really beginning to ask them a lot of questions and you're coming alongside. Let's go a little bit deeper just into how you might go about that.

The Starbucks example is I think one that everybody can, cause everybody goes into Starbucks at least a couple of times. I've split my time between Starbucks and a local coffee shop. If I'm racing somewhere, I go through the Starbucks. But you know, I'm really curious about that strategy theme and content development and what that really looks like with your team as you're setting it out. Because again, that's that brand representation that has to carry through the event and then out the door as they leave.

Kitty Hart: Yep. The heavy lifting of the nitty gritty, this is the content [00:29:00] that needs to be presented at this event, conference, meeting, whatever it might be, that's going to come from the client. Again, they know why we're doing this, what leadership's expectations are for this event.

Then from there, our team jumps in to then figure out, what will be the best way to present that information. How can we create an experience that will make the best environment for that information to be exchanged? Marketing, they know the brand inside and out. When you're bringing an external agency partner in like us, it's our job to push creatively. There's nothing wrong with that.

I don't like using the word brand police, but you know, those that are responsible for the integrity of the brand and just making sure that brand style guides are followed and guidelines, that's going to live within our client. It's okay for them to say, love this idea, but you've gone too far. They're [00:30:00] just ideas. But allow your process to be open enough to explore lots of ideas.

Erik Martinez: I think you raise a really good point there, Kitty. I try not to do this, but I know I'm guilty of doing this from time to time of being so laser-focused on whatever the thing is at that moment that we're not open to the broader world of ideas and realizing that there's not one solution that fits this particular scenario. And making sure that we take the time and energy to allow other people's thoughts and input and incorporate those ideas.

Like you said earlier, you can seek inspiration from almost anything that you experience in your life. Being able to take some of that other inspiration and say, hey, you know what, I might be able to add a little spicy sauce, extra something here to make this feel really, really special. I think the other important thing that you [00:31:00] said earlier, just to bring it back is really covering the five senses. If you can do that, then you're going to create an experience people will remember.

Again, something you said earlier, it's really hard to stand out. Marketing looks and feels the same. And I think in this world where a lot of content is starting to be AI-generated or supported, it is starting to look an awful lot the same. And so we have to get more creative and we have to take some bolder risks and try some things with our audiences.

Kitty, before we close out today, I think this has been a fantastic discussion. One quick question, and then the final question of what advice you'd like to leave the audience. But before we get to that, you have said several times today that these are not inexpensive things. I want to go back to that because I want to put some perspective on this.

Some of the people listening are going to go well, Kitty says it's expensive to do, so I [00:32:00] shouldn't do it. I would like you to turn that on its head. What's more expensive, not having a brand that people recognize or a brand that people talk about, right? Going back to the buzz piece of that. So, could you address that just for a moment?

Kitty Hart: Sure. Yeah. What I said was, these are not inexpensive experiences. So, that word is subjective, of course, you know, as we look at a marketing budget. For some brands, a three-day event, these events can run anywhere from 50, 000, that's just a small little, you know, maybe a half-day something, all the way up, all the way up.

It is difficult to attach hard ROI on these initiatives, but we do know that there is such a strong connection between physical experiences and people. [00:33:00] Experiential marketing has been around for a very long time. This isn't something that's just risen in the last few decades. This goes back to the 1800s, in fact.

I wish that there were more examples of tangible ROI on it, but event marketing is a tried and true method of marketing. We see it most in engagement and what that does for a team and an employee base. The physicality of bringing people together and that interaction, networking, learning together. All of that is unmatched.

Erik Martinez: I would totally agree. I just want to put this in perspective for the audience. Fifty thousand dollars for a 2 or 3-million-dollar marketing company may seem like a lot of money, but remember folks, [00:34:00] $50,000, when you apply it to your digital marketing efforts, let's just say Google ads, as an example. How many clicks does that really buy you? And when you turn it off, it's gone.

What you're talking about, if you do it consistently and you do it right, organically, it keeps growing. You keep getting the dividends and you can build on top of that. And then that digital marketing expenditure in something like Google ads, or your SEO, or your email marketing, whatever it is, is that much more effective. It 's not a one-to-one, it's a one-to-many return on the investment. So, Kitty, as we go to close out, is there any last piece of advice that you'd like to leave the audience with today?

Kitty Hart: Yeah. So, understanding a little bit about your audience here, I think one piece of advice that would be relevant to everyone, and we touched on it just a little [00:35:00] bit, but I want to put a little exclamation point on it. With regard to taking inspiration from outside of your four walls, outside of your company, I challenge people to go outside of your own industry for inspiration.

I was at a conference many years ago, and the speaker said the next big innovation in your industry will come from another industry. Get out there. See what other industries are doing. You have to challenge yourself to look at those things, components, ideas, whatever it might be, and not be so literal about it, but be able to see pieces of it and to maybe identify something that can be applied to your business or to your industry. It opens up a whole new lens when we do that.

Erik Martinez: I think that's fantastic advice. Going back to Starbucks and talking about the drive-thru, [00:36:00] right? The drive-thru concept was inspired by NASCAR.

Kitty Hart: Really?

Erik Martinez: Racetrack. It was inspired by auto racing and making a quick pit stop, doing things quickly. So, you hit the nail on the head. There's lots of great ideas that you can learn by studying other industries and other types of businesses. Kitty, thank you so much for taking time out of your schedule today and joining us on the show. If any of the listeners want to reach out, what's the best way that they can get in touch with you?

Kitty Hart: Yeah, so you can find me on LinkedIn. I love to connect with people on LinkedIn. Please do that. You can reach me here at Heroic Productions. My email address is And our website is

Erik Martinez: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for being on the show today. That's all for today's episode of the Digital Velocity Podcast. I'm Erik Martinez from Blue Tangerine.

Tim Curtis: And I'm Tim Curtis from CohereOne. [00:37:00]

Erik Martinez: Have a fantastic day.

Hosted By

Blue Tangerine Logo
CohereOne Logo