Where to Next with Experiential Marketing:
A Year-Long Journey

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Where to Next with Experiential Marketing: A Year-Long Journey

Once the fastest growing brand activation discipline, Experiential Marketing has been upended by the advent of COVID-19. Many marketers shifted their strategies in the immediate and short term but as vaccination rates are rising and infection rates dropping, what are brands doing next? What is the next step on this return to “normal.”

Building on the success of our initial April panel, we’ve created a year-long series; each quarter, we will feature the biggest brands and the brightest minds as they share their thoughts on the future of the industry and share some highlights of their plans over a tumultuous year-long period.

October Panelists
(see executive bios below)

Donny Jensen
Chief Marketing Officer
Spartan Worldwide

Christopher Lee
Head of Sponsorship, Events and Experiential Marketing
U.S. Bank

Ronnie Yoked
Head of Experiential

Panel Moderators:

Dee Hall
Executive General Manager
Advantage Marketing Partners

Cliff Rigano
Creative Director / Head of Culture, Content & Experiential Marketing


Donny Jensen - Spartan

Donny Jensen is the Chief Marketing Officer for Spartan Worldwide, where he leads marketing strategy and implementation across the brand’s extreme wellness properties, including Spartan Race, Spartan Training, Spartan Trail, Tough Mudder, La Ruta, Patagonia Run, and DEKAFIT. Previously, Mr. Jensen was the head of brand for PERFORMIX and held positions at marketing agencies and brand consultancies McCann, Droga5, and R/GA, where he led marketing programs for some of the world’s largest brands, including Nike, Under Armour, Hennessy, and Verizon. 

Christopher Lee - U.S. Bank

Christopher Lee has enjoyed a successful 20+ year career in the sports/entertainment sponsorship industry. A well-respected industry leader, Lee is one of the few brand-side sponsorship experts that can activate a three-pronged approach to sponsorship marketing - applying a strategic sponsorship framework and evaluation process, integrating sales and business revenue driving opportunities, and incorporating strong consumer-facing social and experiential marketing programs. Lee was recognized for his career efforts as a member of the 2019 Sports Business Journal’s Forty under 40 class.

Lee joined U.S. Bank in 2016 to lead its sponsorship marketing team. He was brought in to assess, evaluate and revamp the way that sponsorships were procured and activated by the company, in order to strategically and seamlessly incorporate sponsorships into a fully integrated brand marketing strategy. Lee recently completed a very successful activation of the Super Bowl at U.S. Bank Stadium and NCAA Men’s Final Four.

In 2019, Lee developed a new experiential marketing team at U.S. Bank to help change the way in which the brand engages with consumers in the live event space. His team focuses on developing new technologies and leveraging industry insights to help develop effective activation programs to help bring the brand to life. In 2020 Lee was asked to take on leading the U.S. Bank corporate events team and will be responsible for overseeing all major internal and external events for the bank.

Prior to joining U.S. Bank, Lee was the Director of Brand Partnerships and Social Engagement at San Francisco-based Esurance. At both the bank and the insurance firm, Lee successfully developed and implemented national sponsorship brand strategies for both brands, taking fragmented local market approaches and developing nationally recognized sponsorship portfolios.

His efforts and expertise have proven successful and drawn accolades. In 2016 his efforts around Esurance’s Major League Baseball (MLB) national rights partnership and title sponsorship of the All-Digital Esurance MLB All-Star Ballot were recognized with the Marketers that Matter Award for Digital Innovation. More importantly, his work drove results for the business.

Earlier in his career, while at the pre-championship Golden State Warriors, Chris was an integral member of the sponsorship sales and marketing team. During his tenure he built successful partnerships with major brands, including Verizon, Symantec, Visa, Ross Stores, Autotrader, Clorox, 24 Hour Fitness and more.

Lee also serves on the Board of Directors of Juma Ventures an nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, CA whose mission is to break the cycle of poverty by paving the way to work, education and financial capability for youth across America.

Lee received his bachelor’s degree in Communications at San Diego State University, and a master’s degree in Sports Management at the University of San Francisco. 

Ronnie Yoked - Anheuser-Busch

Ronnie Yoked joined Anheuser-Busch with a knack for innovation and a love for experiences. In her previous role with Bud Light, she redefined their presence at festivals, by thoughtfully devising and implementing programs with her consumer top of mind. Ronnie unveiled Bud Light’s Dive Bar Sessions, where she created a space to showcase over 50 emerging artists across SXSW, Lolla, Panorama and more. As Head of Experiential for Michelob ULTRA, Ronnie was behind the first-ever sunset mass meditation for over 2,000 people at SXSW with The Big Quiet and Grammy-nominated Miguel and the evolution of the successful ULTRA Movement events that continue to evolve in the current environment. In her current role as Head of Experiential for all of AB, Ronnie brings her deep love of consumer-centered experiences and strategy to help define the future of what experiential marketing should be, ensuring AB will lead the way, as evident in the programs and work executed in the midst of a pandemic when the team shifted their real-life events to some of the most-watched livestreams like Bud Light Seltzer Sessions Presents NYE with Post Malone as headliner.



Dee Hall - Advantage Marketing Partners

Dee began her career at Leo Burnett where her lifelong passion with advertising, albeit with a twist, was born. Her 30 plus-year career has spanned media, retailtainment, promotions, sports and experiential marketing. Combined with her 13-year stint at agency ownership, she leverages her multi-disciplinary expertise to consistently deliver integrated marketing best practices and solutions.

When her agency launched Coca Cola's Fruitopia beverage in the mid 90’s, her boutique shop was lauded in the industry as being pioneers of experiential marketing. In 2005, her agency then joined forces with FCB Chicago, to enhance their more traditional advertising offerings. While there, Dee was instrumental in the development of multiple award-winning experiential marketing campaigns.

More recently, Dee is leading agency services for the Advantage Customer Experience division of Advantage Marketing Partners and its collective of award-winning general market and multicultural brand activation agencies. Her team spearheads a diverse client portfolio including, consumer package goods, entertainment, retail, beverage, adult beverage, pet specialty and QSR.

Dee brings an entrepreneurial and collaborative spirit to everything she does. She embraces building agency culture, teams, and people—all while retaining her zealous belief in the power of creating human experiences.

Cliff Rigano - Jägermeister

Cliff is the Creative Director and Head of Culture, Content & Experiential Marketing at Mast-Jägermeister US. As part of the brands’ Marketing and Commercial Leadership teams, Cliff is responsible for driving conceptual thinking, vision and interpretation of brand strategy, creative, content and design through internal teams and agency partners. His creative oversight includes Brand Marketing, ATL Advertising, Innovation, Social and Digital Marketing, Commercial Programming and Distributor engagement.

In addition, Cliff is also responsible for delivering a global brand strategy focused on entertainment, lifestyle & pop culture content & conversation. This comes to life through strategy development, talent relations, sports partnerships, content creation & experiential marketing.

Prior to joining Jägermeister in 2012, Cliff was Director of Marketing for Universal Motown Records and Republic Records, leading the marketing campaigns which broke some of today's largest artists including Lil Wayne, Drake, Nicki Minaj, Black Sabbath and many more. In addition, Cliff ran label partnerships for some of the largest songwriters in the industry including Linda Perry, Thurston Moore, Pete Wentz and many others.