Rick Pace

A year ago, we bid farewell to Rick Pace. He was off to explore new adventures in a new city doing a completely new gig at one of our partner companies. You may even recall Pace being quoted in this recent blog post about our BookedOut partnership.

A year later, Pace is returning to fulfill his creative madman duties. He’s stepping right back into his role as vice president of national field marketing at both dio and our big brother company, do it outdoors media.

I asked Pace a simple question: “What have you learned over the past year?” Here’s what he told me….

“The experiential marketing industry consistently evolves, but one thing stays constant. The experience is always about connecting the consumer to the brand.”

In his career, Pace has had the opportunity to work with some of the largest agencies in the world.

“My advice is to create moments where consumers engage on a one-on-one level with brands,” Pace urges. “The interaction must be in an authentic setting to allow for true relationship building. The end goal is for a consumer to walk away from a brand experience as a buzz marketer for the brand. It’s now them who will influence the marketplace.”

Sampling

What’s the one thing experiential marketers often overlook?

“Sampling is key to the success of moving product quickly in the field but goes much deeper than just getting the brand into the consumers’ hands,” Pace explains. “Sampling product boosts brand awareness while giving consumers a unique experience that hones in on all five human senses: sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch.”

Product sampling activations can be very simple in nature, such as branded 10′ X 10′ booths at bars, festivals, sporting events or street side activations. Or, sampling can become an extreme production set. Regardless, every product sampling activation should focus on the simplicity of allowing a consumer interaction with that product.

“Let the human senses take over,” says Pace. “Create an immediate relationship for that consumer with your brand. There’s no media spillover. It’s one-to-one engagement and literally puts the brand into hands.”

Pace calls this the H2H element: human to human connections.

“Most consumers make buying decisions after the H2H interaction. Sampling opportunities allow for hyper-targeted activations in any market. Sampling drives purchase intent.”

Sampling is experiential. It doesn’t have to be elaborate to be effective. Maybe it’s just about putting the product into someone’s hands. Then watching what happens next.

“The largest agencies in the world offer sampling within larger footprint experiences,” says Pace. “Sampling is at the heart of an activation and allows consumers to fully immerse themselves in the brand environment.”

We’ve missed our creative genius this year, but his journey was enlightening. Please welcome Rick Pace back to the team!