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episode 9

If You Host It, Will Anyone Actually Come?—Featuring Wendy Blackshaw

When you’re a leader in uncharted territory—like trying to plan a mega-event during a pandemic—what do you do? Make your own map. Brand visionary and dynamic leader Wendy Blackshaw has been making her own map using digital tools throughout an adventurous career. Wendy joins the podcast to talk about how digital has changed what’s possible in marketing, her experience building mega-event brands (including Super Bowl LII & the upcoming NCAA Women’s Final Four 2022), and why trusting your team of experts is vital to successful outcomes.

 

 

Our Guest

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Wendy Blackshaw

Known as a strategic alliances brand visionary and dynamic leader, Wendy Blackshaw has spent 20+ years in the Marketing and Sales of high profile corporations, creating iconic brands; generating over $100M in sponsorship revenue, co-op advertising, media sales and billions of brand impressions in her collaborative leadership roles with MN Super Bowl, Sun Country Airlines, Mall of America, MN North Stars, Rollerblade and numerous media organizations. Blackshaw is currently CEO of 2022 Women’s Final Four Local Organizing Committee and lead consultant on numerous “mega-event” bids, including Special Olympics 2026 and Big 10 Football Championship Game.

As SVP of Marketing/Sales for the 2018 MN Super Bowl, Blackshaw was part of the executive team that developed and executed an exciting vision, unlike any other Super Bowl, by creating the “Bold North” brand. She raised $54M in private corporate funding (more than any other Super Bowl) and developed and executed the 10-Day “Super Bowl Live” that attracted more than 1M people and introduced MN to the world as a great place to live, work and play. As SVP of Marketing/Company Officer at Sun Country Airlines, Blackshaw created and built the still beloved “Hometown Airline” brand, overseeing all marketing, advertising, PR and partnerships. Blackshaw also build a new profit center for the airline, Sun Country Vacations. Blackshaw was part of the team that opened Mall of America and created the iconic “Place for fun in your life” brand. Blackshaw is passionate about her community, serving on numerous boards including University of Minnesota Alumni Association, The Emily Program Foundation and Alive + Kickin’. An award winning marketer, Blackshaw has been recognized as a U of M Alumni of Distinction, 40 Under 40 as well as numerous other marketing and retail awards.

Show Notes

In this episode we cover:

  • [1:10] Wendy Blackshaw Intro
  • [2:13] A high level look at Wendy’s career journey
  • [3:30] When did Digital "kick-in" during your career?
  • [5:00] Wendy’s introduction to Digital
  • [6:36] How did Wendy leverage Digital for her work as Senior VP of Marketing on the Super Bowl LII Host Committee?
  • [8:11] What is Wendy doing with Digital at present?
  • [10:40] Wendy’s work on NCAA Women’s Final Four 2022 and
    the impact of Title IX
  • [13:14] Creating Digital assets: how to add value to event sponsors & partners without a roadmap
  • [17:40] Gino & Wendy talk Super Bowl event craziness & why their partnership was so successful
  • [21:05] How does Wendy find great people who understand digital?
  • [22:45] Does Wendy prefer to work with generalists or specialists?
  • [26:30] How do you keep your team engaged and willing to learn and the grace to figure it out?
  • [28:35] Rapid Fire: Quick Questions & Fast Answers with Wendy
  • [30:26] Wrap Up- How does Wendy stay current in Digital?
  • [31:45] What’s the next big thing in digital?
  • [34:35] Key Takeaways with Kathy & Gino

Links & Resources:

  • Find Wendy on LinkedIn
  • Contact Wendy by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Read this profile about Wendy's work on Super Bowl LII
  • Wendy is co-authoring a forthcoming book, "Big Brands, Small Budgets"

"Key" Takeaways

  • When you haven’t done something before, lean on your experience, trust your gut and source experts to help you strategically “make it up” as you go along.
  • Digital can be used to make events bigger than just ONE event on a specific day. Think of an event as an ongoing brand to expand it’s impact. The reach of digital allows you to always be marketing.
  • Content is key. Get others to help you tell the story. Leverage content from other sources, regardless of who sourced it. Over-deliver value to clients or partners. Make it easy for others to market for you.
  • Successful roll-out of marketing campaigns comes down to trust for leaders. Give guidelines to people, give them digital a toolkit and let them go. You can always edit and change the content as you go. Find people with a CAN DO passion over a HAVE DONE skillset.

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