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Experiential Marketing Careers

In this section, we'll look at the pros and cons of experiential marketing careers—as described by a professional experiential producer; Marie Davidheiser, Managing Director, iris New York, and former Senior Vice President, Director of Operations, Jack Morton Worldwide.

marie davidheiser
Marie Davidheiser
iris new york / Jack Morton Worldwide

Marie Davidheiser is the former Senior Vice President, Director of Operations for Jack Morton Worldwide.

Based in their New York office, she has worked on experiential campaigns and brand experience events throughout North America for clients including Bank of America, Samsung, Kimberly-Clark, American Airlines, Verizon, LEGO, and Walmart.

Having originally worked for Jack Morton as a freelance production coordinator, Marie then spent several years working for creative agency C2 Creative (now GO! Experience Design) on events for Bank of America, National Geographic and TV Guide, before returning to Jack Morton as a senior producer.

In 2016, Marie left Jack Morton and is now Managing Director of iris New York.

Pros of Experiential Marketing Careers

The Creative

“The creative element is my favorite part. Creating content and bringing an idea to life. Versus, if I worked at a hotel, doing events where I’d set it up and it didn’t matter what the content was, because I’d just be putting the pieces together. What I produce is so dependent on the idea that every day is different.”


Creating Integrated Solutions

“Experiential involves creating integrated solutions, so it’s not just about the build and then the day of the event. What’s really cool is unpacking that creative idea and thinking through the communications map, which might be live, digital, print, or something else. That’s where you get to switch your brain on and really problem solve.

I felt limited when I was doing traditional events, in that you have things like venue or food and beverage to think about—which is fun—but it wasn’t challenging enough for me. I wanted to work with big brands that have big problems.”


Experiencing New Things

“I work with a tremendous number of talented people and because each project is different and we’re constantly working in new environments, I get to talk to different experts in their field all the time.

I might be liaising with a brilliant fashion designer one day, and then the next day I’ll be speaking with someone who knows how to make an LED mesh wall on the ceiling and program that in with radio-frequency identification tags—and they’re equally brilliant at what they do. So I get to learn about a variety of different things.”


Agency Life

“The environment I work in is awesome. People who come in that don’t work here are always saying, ‘oh my god, I want to work here’. It’s completely open plan, with jukebox music playing, and themed conference rooms that are designed as basketball courts, fishbowls, and diners.

The working environment is designed to be an experience in itself. We have areas to hang out and collaborate, writeable walls, ping-pong, beer on Fridays, and many social outings—all the perks of working at a cool agency.

Plus there’s always fun creative stuff going on. Just yesterday, we all dressed up as Vikings! We were doing a proposal for Capital One, and its media was based around Vikings (or really Visigoths), so for the pitch we all dressed up as Vikings and took pictures so we could relate to their brand—that kind of stuff doesn’t happen everywhere.”


Working with Different Clients

“You’re probably going to learn a lot more at an agency—or at least a lot faster. If you’re working in-house, whether for a brand or a corporate, you’re working with just one client. Whereas, if you’re working for an agency, you’re learning so much more from different types of clients and events, for example, I work on eight different client accounts.”

Cons of Experiential Marketing Careers

Unused Ideas

“One of the more frustrating things about the business is that you come up with amazing ideas that sometimes never get used. It might be ideas you have internally that never get pitched to the external client, or you might pitch something to the client and they award you the business, but end up wanting to do it totally differently. It’s super frustrating to fall in love with an idea and not be able to execute it and see it come to life.”


High Expectations

“From a production point of view, because we try to be ideas-led, one of the cons is that there’s a lot of pressure to execute it brilliantly. Sometimes that can be difficult if the budget is limited.”


Working Outside of your Comfort Zone

“The fact that every project is so different is usually a pro, but it can also be a con because you have to do things you’ve never done before, which takes you out of your comfort zone.

It’s demanding; you have to be ‘on’ every day and because every day is different, every day has a different problem, so you have to play your A-game to deliver the required results.”


Managing a Team

“We work with a tremendous number of people, all with different styles and ways of working, so it can be pretty intense. When so many people are working together, you need to be willing to be patient, flexible, and communicate well—as well as meet the usually tough deadlines.

A creative person is going to work very differently to the person who does the logistics, so as the producer you’ve got to be able to meld those personalities and working styles together.”


Working as Part of a Large Team

“It’s not so much a con, as perhaps a difference that people might need to adjust to, but we bring in a lot of people that have solely worked within a small team, whereas we have 150 people here in New York alone.

Working in big teams, with so many different people, can be hard. You need to understand their roles and what they contribute and it can get confusing. I have people who come in and they say, ‘I can do all of this, I don’t need a team, I can just do this by myself’ but that’s not how we do it. We work as a team and yes, we have our specialties and some people lead at certain times throughout the project, but it’s very much a team job.”

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charlotte saynor