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Ten time nominee and five time winner of Billboard’s 'Concert Marketing and Promotion Award,' Marcie Allen, Founder and President of MAC Presents, creates memorable events for the world’s leading artists and brands. Having worked with brands such as Citi, Verizon, and Southwest Airlines to create dynamic partnerships with artists like Billy Joel, Foo Fighters, and Imagine Dragons, Marcie has been named to Billboard’s ‘Women in Music’ list every year since 2010, received Billboard’s ‘Humanitarian Award,’ and most recently, Variety included her in their 2015 ‘Power of Women: New York Impact List.’  Learn how Marcie creates unforgettable events for brands and artists, how she uses technology to enhance the concertgoers experience, and her advice for becoming a leader in the music industry.

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It’s about finding an authentic connection between artists and brands.

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Creating Harmony

What are the elements of an impactful event for fans and concertgoers?

When you’re planning an event to have an impact and break through the clutter in the industry, you have to build a story.  When we worked with our clients, Southwest Airlines and Imagine Dragons, it was about finding an authentic connection between the artist and the brand, telling that story, and then taking consumers along for the ride.  When we launched Smoke + Mirrors with Southwest Airlines (right before it debuted at number one in 2015) we took consumers back to the original club where Imagine Dragons broke.  Then, on one special flight between Las Vegas and Atlanta, fans were surprised with Imagine Dragons taking the same flight and doing a performance in-air.

What is the key to a successful partnership between brands and artists?

The key to a successful program is pushing the envelope.  If you look at sponsorships 10 years ago, it was a $500 million industry and today, according to IEG, it’s a $1.4 billion industry.  Every day we have to be more and more creative.  Whether it’s utilizing new technologies like virtual reality or figuring out ways we can use social media gaming, we have to continue to come up with creative ways to connect artists and brands.

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The key to a successful program is pushing the envelope.

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How can technology and music connect artists, brands, and fans?

Technology is very important when you’re planning a program between an artist and a brand.  Fortunately, we’ve seen some unbelievable breakthroughs over the past few years.  RFID bracelets are a way consumers can interact with the brand in a meaningful way pre-, during, and post- event.  That’s a great way for brands to connect with consumers and give value even after the program is over.

How can emerging artists and managers make their mark?

My advice to emerging artists and managers is to find your voice.  You have to build a story.  You have to figure out how you’re going to show people, not just tell people, 'This is what I believe in and this is what’s important to me.'  Even if it’s something as simple as saying, ‘I’m going to connect with a brand from my hometown.  I’m going to connect with a brand that has the same philanthropic ideas, love, and interest that I have.’  You have to find that story and you have to find a way to have an authentic connection with the brand.

What is your vision for the future of MAC Presents and your legacy?

People often ask me what I want my legacy to be.  After 21 years in the music industry and after getting married three years ago, and now being the proud stepmother of an eight and eleven year old, it’s very important to me to show not only my stepdaughters, but all women that you can do anything.  You can achieve anything if you put your mind to it.  Unfortunately, there are gong to be instances when you fall down, but you have to learn to fail forward.

Watch Marcie's bSmart interview here!

My advice to emerging artists and managers is to find your voice.

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Chief Rule-Breaker

What’s required to be a front-woman in business?

Before I give advice on what’s important to be a leader as a woman, I’m going to quote my favorite line from Madeleine Albright, ‘There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.’  If you think you can be successful in any industry and not help the women of tomorrow and not respect the women of yesterday, you’re never going to get anywhere.

How should we break the rules in our industry?

In order to be a leader, you have to be willing to take risks.  Six years ago, I packed up a truck with my two dogs, Maddie and Boots, and drove in the snow in the 9 degree weather from Nashville to New York City because I had a vision.  I had a vision that if my company, MAC Presents, was going to go to the next level after being in business for five years, I needed to move to where the action was in branding and sponsorships. (And boy, am I happy I did!)  Don’t be afraid.  What’s the worse thing that could happen?  If you fail, you pick yourself up, you dust yourself off, and you move forward.

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If you fail, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and move forward.

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What are the keys to growing a successful business in entertainment?

To be a successful entrepreneur, you have to build your network.  You have to build your database.  I have binders of business cards of every person I’ve met in the last 21 years.  And yes, I’m a Southern belle debutante from Nashville, Tennessee, but my grandmother raised me well and she taught me to write thank you notes.  Any time I meet someone, I send a little note.  If I read an article, accolade, or an award that they’ve received I send them a note saying, ‘Congratulations!  Hope to see you soon.  xx Marcie.’  Make it personal, make them remember you, and remember it’s not always about reaching out to someone when you need something; it’s also about reaching out to someone just to say congrats. 

How can we support the music industry and artists we believe in?

You can get involved in the music industry, but you have to start early and you need to do as many internships as you possibly can in college.  It’s the key to success, it’s the key to getting hired, and it’s the key to getting noticed in a flood of resumes that come into music industry agencies every day.  Make your mark, build your network, reach out to anyone that you’ve ever met, and see if they’ll champion you.  You need to find a mentor and you need to find a champion.

How can we be smart women of influence in our industries like you?

I wish I could have told my 21-year old self to not take everything so personally.  The music industry is cruel and sometimes it’s very lonely, but there’s also some unbelievable opportunities, especially now for women.  There are so many women from Cara Lewis to Marsha Vlasic that have broken the glass ceiling.  So don’t be afraid to take a risk and become a successful executive in the music industry.

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Make your mark and make them remember you.

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Find a mentor and find a champion.

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It’s important to me to show all women that you can do anything.

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Spotlight on Marcie Allen

Neighborhood: Flatiron

Occupation: President, MAC Presents (music experiential agency)

Women I Admire: Cara Lewis and Marsha Vlasic

Dream Mentor: Oprah

Ultimate Accessory: Celine bag

Favorite Store: rag & bone

Cocktail of Choice: Moscow mule

Travel Destination: Kauai, Hawaii

Best Advice: 'Fail forward'

Favorite Quote: 'There's a special place in hell for women who don't help other women.' - Madeleine Albright

De-Stress Technique:  Soulcycle

On My Playlist: Led Zeppelin, Foo Fighters, Jay Z, Cold War Kids, Adele

Favorite App: CNN

College: Rhodes College

Sorority: Tri Delta

 

Hair + Makeup: Glamsquad l Outfit: Karolina Zmarlak

 

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