Event Industry

Industry Insider — Keeping Up With Vince Thompson

Written by The Meeting Pool

Vince Thompson is the President/CEO of MELT, an experienced marketing agency that has worked with many major brands in navigating the collegiate athletic space since its conception in 2000.  In 2013, Vince was named as one of BizBash’s “50 Most Innovative Event Professionals.” He recently spoke at BizBash Live: The Expo, South Florida in the Event Innovation Forum and we were able to sit with him after the Expo to pick his brain some more on the topic of engaging millenials at events. To take a look at his presentation from BizBash Live: The Expo, download it here.


thompson1. Vince: your name is strongly tied to big brand names. What’s your secret?

Service, Service, Service. Listen. Play offense. Try and stay ahead of the client with solutions.

2. How did you get into the event business?

When I attended Auburn University, my goal was to be a sportswriter and so I started working in the sports information department. It was a golden age of Auburn with Bo Jackson and Charles Barkley! My first Saturday in the press was magical, I was hooked!

3. And what’s the secret behind your passion for engaging millenials at events? How do you imagine it differently than others?

Know and realize their media and information consumption habits are unlike any generation we’ve ever seen. Their expectations of an event, their perception of the value of their experience is higher than ever. Most of these consumers welcome information and branded content – when delivered properly and with authenticity.

4. How do you keep the ideas fresh and appealing to such the millenials? What are the 3 things that you need to keep top of mind at all times when you are engaging this generation?

We recruit, hire and retain a lot of this generation, because their attention span is very limited, so we need to always stay abreast of the latest technology and we need them to tell us

3 things:

  • Be authentic
  • Be nimble
  • Listen to their feedback

5. What are the 3 common challenges for engaging millenials that you see happening?

  • Not delivering authentic messages and experiences.
  • Not thinking and activating through their lenses.
  • Be careful not to “over-brand” the experience message and content.  Be organic and authentic.

6. What do you think needs to change with the events industry as you see it now?

This needs to be a continuing upgrade and integration of technology into events. Continue to find new ways to move into each consumer’s “wireless/real estate” without being too invasive but still add volume to their experience.

7. How would you change it?

Build out activations that make technology a core component – not just an add-on.

8. How can we apply what you do on a production level to create that ‘wow’ on an event or on the show floor level for the millenials?

Augmented reality is begging to play a larger role in this process and what’s being done right now with RFID technology is nothing short of amazing.

9. How does technology play a role in your concepts?

Technology is playing a bigger and bigger role especially if you can use it to gather data, track habits, track consumption and continue a discussion with each consumer even after they leave the event.

10. Give us your predictions for 2020 for our events industry?

I think that the way we define “event” right now will be adeptly altered.    With the advent of Google Glass and other exciting technologies, I can envision the entire event industry moving to an entirely virtual or augmented experience.

11. Gotta ask – what is your favorite app on your phone these days?

Tinder, and I’m only half-joking!