Competition and Marketing in the Chicago Metropolitan Area

Being a Minneapolis based promotional event staffing agency, we at Modern Talent would love to think that we are located in the marketing epicentre of the Midwest, but we know when to be confident and when to be humble.  Chicago is quintessentially the hub of the Midwest for marketing and the most globally connected city in the region.  After all, the O’Hare International Airport on the Northwestern side of Chicago was named the busiest airport in the world in 2014.  The Chicago metropolitan area, a.k.a. “Chicagoland”, is also the 3rd largest metropolitan area in the U.S. (roughly 9.4 million people) and the city of Chicago is the largest in the Midwest by almost 2 million people.

So what does this mean for large and small businesses in the Chicago market?   Or even a promotional event staffing agency like Modern Talent?  It means that competition is STIFF.

Business Landscape & Marketing Tactics

Chicago has a rich landscape of art, history, professional sports and businesses large & small.  As of the 2010 Census, Chicagoland was said to have 230,624 small businesses alone.  In 2016 the Chicago metro area was also home to 36 Fortune 500 headquarters.  Trying to break into this market with a new product or simply maintaining relevance among well established brands is a daunting task that requires outside-of-the-box marketing techniques.

We’ll touch on the wine, spirits & beer industries specifically, being that is an area we specialize in at Modern Talent, but we think that our strategies to increase sales and grow brands through promotional events can be applied to many other industries.  The need to get brand ambassadors out in front of your product, especially in the Chicago market, has become a necessity in the modern age of excessive brand exposure.

The rise of the craft industry throughout the U.S. has had maybe the largest impact on the adult beverage industry umbrella.  It has carved out a niche in the market with microbrews & limited production beer, wine & even spirits more recently.  Relatively speaking, the craft industry still represents small pieces of the pie in each respective industry, but they’re changing the way people view and choose their alcoholic drinks.  Authenticity is a buzzword that will likely ring true for many millennials, and we’ve seen the shift with big beer companies going back to their roots and promoting their more “original” selves.  Maybe you’ve noticed the switch to vintage looks from Budweiser, Coors & Miller Lite cans & bottles in recent years.

For our purposes though, authenticity plays a larger role in connecting with consumers beyond labeling and visual ad campaigns.  The best way to build connections between brands and consumers is to leave lasting interpersonal experiences with them.  If you have a product in one of the thousands of beer, wine & spirits stores, restaurants, or bars in the Chicago area, how do you stick out from the crowd?  Even big labels can’t rest on their laurels if they want to continue to grow sales.  Our answer is always going to be this: hire well-trained, experienced and local promotional event staffing agencies to run live events and connect your brand with consumers.  People generally remember positive interactions with other people more so than materials.

Check out these 9 tactics alcohol brands are using to add flavor to their live events

Promotional Event Staffing in Chicago

Unless you have your own promotional staff in-house (which is expensive!) or connections within the event staffing industry, knowing where to look and who to look for to promote your product in the Chicago market can be a big headache.  The industry is flush with local, national &  international agencies that offer such services, Modern Talent being one of them, but outsourcing your promotional and branding events can feel a lot like dropping your child off at school for the first time–you just hope and pray they’ve been listening to you and will make you proud of all your hard work!

A simple YellowPages search for “Promotional Event Staffing Agency near Chicago, IL” revealed 2,654 results.  Yikes!  Yelp did a better job of narrowing things down, but knowing which keywords to use is the tricky part.  Our Yelp searches yielded 58 results for “modeling agency”, 24 results for “event staffing agency”, 13 results for “promotional modeling agency”, 9 results for “promotional staffing agency”, and 5 results for “promotional event staffing agency” in or near Chicago.

A big issue with these search results is also the amount of filtering you have to do on your own to find a match.  It’s the nature of the game, but it furthers our point that the market is saturated to the point that finding what/who you really want can be a difficult process.  The big questions that you need to ask: Are there agencies that specialize in my industry?  If so, are they locally staffed?  To what extent do they train their brand ambassadors and live event staff?  Often these questions may not be so easy to find answers to, so the best thing we can do to help is to clarify what Modern Talent can do for you.

Modern Talent’s primary services include Promotional Models, Bar Promotions Staffing, Brand Ambassadors, Event Staffing, Guerrilla Marketing, In-Store Product Demos & Tastings, Trade Show Staffing & Promotional Models and Wine Professionals.  With any event, we strive to pair talent that is local to your community to create a more personalized and homey experience for consumers.  

Modern Talent has worked with and continues to work with numerous well established brands such as Jagermeister, Corona, Maker’s Mark, and Grey Goose Vodka.  The backbone of how our business came to be was the need for well-trained, outsourced promotional event models and brand ambassadors, especially in the adult beverage industry.  Along with the growth of technology, travel costs have continued to grow and have threatened to make in-house promotional event teams a thing of the past.  But, there is hope!  Our remote capabilities allow us to have well-trained, versatile and local models and brand ambassadors to help brands promote their products in 13 states throughout the U.S., with Chicago being one of our most prioritized markets.  

To learn more about Modern Talent and the services we offer please visit our website at:  If you would like to book Modern Talent for your next event, please click here.

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