Back then: Cover stud Michael Lynch senior vp-sponsorships and events was heading up Visa USA’s “secret regime” in the battle for consumer share of wallet. Lynch’s chief weapon sponsorships at the time included the Olympics which runs through 2012 the Super Bowl Halftime Show horse racing’s Triple Crown NASCAR and new in 2003 a deal as the official card of Disney’s theme parks cruise lines retail stores and video releases. Sounds magical.
Now: Lynch is still running the show at Visa. Let’s see how all his hard work is aying off:
What has changed at Visa since February 2003?
Our marketing strategy continues to evolve to meet our overall empowerment position (“Life Takes Visa”) and the needs of specific market segments and specific products. The consumer and the business marketplace continue to change therefore as a company we change and from a marketing standpoint we need to adapt. The department I manage which used to be called event and sponsorship marketing is now called the partnership marketing department. Our property portfolio has evolved over time to meet those specific needs. We have dropped the Triple Crown but kept the Kentucky Derby and turned it into a Visa Signature experience. Pinehurst Golf Resort Broadway shows and film screenings are also for that segment. We’ve also taken on soccer with FIFA on a global basis and a partnership with Soccer United Marketing in the U.S. for the Hispanic audience.
And your biggest achievement?
Nothing compares to being on the cover but a couple of things come to mind: We have built the best partnership marketing team in the business and evolved our portfolio to meet our new brand position of empowerment. I’m also proud of what we’ve done with the Olympics and the NFL NASCAR and Disney and product and segment sponsorships. We’ve also had two Olympic Games since I was on the cover which garnered us a lot of No. 1s in terms of sponsorship awareness advertising awareness advertising favorability our support of the Olympic movement in the U.S. and the athletes we’ve been associated with.
What is your greatest challenge going forward?
It continues to be our ability to meet the ever-changing needs of the business and the consumer. Your marketing strategy has to be on-target and partnership marketing has to be in sync with the needs of the business and the consumer. It’s about consumer control instant gratification and the additional value you can provide. It’s also about experiences and who can make them the most rewarding. The other challenge that never goes away is accountability and the metrics measurement that goes with our business.