Soulfrito Founder Melissa Giles on Miami Tech: Digital, For Me, Is Very Important

Melissa Giles is the marketing genius behind the Soulfrito Urban Latin Music Festival.

The inaugural concert in 2002 was the first event she ever threw; and she was just was just 18 years old when she did it. Needless to say, it was a smashing success, and in the years since, she has helped launch the careers of today’s stars, like Pitbull.

Soulfrito 2014 will feature headline performances by international recording stars Nas, Busta Rhymes, and Don Omar.

Successful Digital Marketing can take any company to the next level, we know that at Pacific 54. Seeing the hard work that goes into digital marketing payoff for someone is as inspiring as it is educational.

So in advance of the big show at Sun Life Stadium, we caught up with Melissa to find out how digital media has affected her promotions strategy over the years.

Pacific54: How have your event promotion strategies evolved with the emergence of digital media?

Melissa Giles: I’ve definitely seen it grow. Yeah. When I started the festival social media wasn’t what it is now. I don’t think Myspace was even around yet. When we started they didn’t even exist. And then of course Facebook and Twitter and everything else came in…

What about print media?

In terms of working with print, I think that street promotion, guerrilla marketing, and grassroots marketing are a crucial component of the mix, but that there’s too much clutter in print media for events, and we haven’t done much of that sort of advertising.

However, we do work with the digital components of print mediums. How important are digital efforts for you and for Soulfrito?

Digital for me is very important. There are certain digital elements we want to integrate from an artistic standpoint for how the artists and the audience interact with the event. I wanted to do more with that this year, and in future years there are creative elements we will incorporate into the show that are going to be interactive for anyone attending.

What ideas do you have for that?

I don’t wanna let the cat out of the bag, but there are going to be things with performers themselves, and additional components with the art in terms of the murals and the graffiti side where we’ll incorporate some interactive aspects as well.

In deviating from the norm in terms of how you stage, promote, and activate your events, are you sometimes stereotyped as just another Latin festival?

Stereotyping comes with the territory, but that’s why we keep on pushing the envelope. When we first started Soulfrito, we had a lot of naysayers who said “Oh, it’ll never work.” And now all the major giant companies have Urban Latin categories. This is the first stage where Pitbull, Wisin y Yandel, and Aventura ever played, and we plan to keep launching artists and being successful.