Factory 360: Turning Marketing into an Experience
BY Abigail Tracy
Two-time Inc. 5000 honoree, Factory 360, uses experiential marketing to amplify the affect a product or service has on the consumer.
For the Seychelles Shoe Fashion Night Out 2011, Factory 360 had models in custom-designed hats featuring shoes from the new spring line march the streets of New York city neighborhoods as a guerrilla marketing tactic.
Michael Fernandez, founder and CEO of the New York-based marketing company, Factory 360.
As we process applications for the 2012 Inc. 500|5000, we thought it would be worthwhile to shine a spotlight on some of the companies that are vying to appear on our ranking of the fastest-growing private companies in the United States. One that caught our eye was Factory 360, in New York City.
For years, Michael Fernandez worked for large corporations—experiencing firsthand the client side of marketing. Growing privy to the ins and outs of traditional marketing and conventional advertising models in his role, Fernandez saw the need for experiential marketing, so in 2003 Fernandez founded Factory 360.
"I noticed there was a niche for a great execution agency," says Fernandez. "For products that need something beyond traditional marketing tactics, we create a physical experience for users—connecting with them on an emotional level.”
The New York-based Factory 360 has a huge range of clients and specializes in combining traditional marketing techniques with event tactics—utilizing such techniques as guerrilla marketing, non-traditional media outlets, stunt marketing and pop-up stores.
“Everything we do we want to have an amplification effect,” says Fernandez, who is founder and CEO of the company. “At the end of the day, we always want the brand or the service we are advertising to be the hero.”
Drawing from pop culture, social media and thriving on the “dynamic atmosphere that is New York,” Fernandez stresses how important it is for Factory 360 to stay on top of emerging trends and technology.
"Getting new clients is the most difficult and marketing is a constantly growing sphere where traditional marketing is changing by the minute in this high-paced technology driven world we live in," says Fernandez. "You never know what’s around the next corner."
The national marketing company is made up of 15 full-time employees, operating in all states with 10,000 to 15,000 people who Factory 360 can call on to mobilize—working for the company on a part-time basis. Fernandez stresses the importance of Factory 360 maintaining its own staff, rather than subcontracting out work to local staffing agencies as many other agencies do.
"We feel that that’s where even great ideas fall down because of poor execution—so we handle all training and recruitment in house, and our end product continues to prove itself," says Fernandez.
Factory 360 has seen great success, making the Inc. 5000 list the past two years and hoping for a third year running, the company has seen exponential growth—with a 2011 revenue of $2,500,000 and a three-year growth rate of 213 %.
Fernandez hopes to continue to grow the company, and to maybe one day join a larger company, but for now he is enjoying the ever-changing landscape that is marketing.
"In experiential marketing you really have one chance to impress and create the performance that is worthwhile enough to sell the product," says Fernandez. "I find the dynamic of marketing in that every single day seems like a new opportunity to create new experiences and change people’s behavior so exciting."