On Tour with The New Business Machine
Technology Analyst Diego Rodriguez gives his take on what it’s like being a roadie for a different kind of traveling band
If you’ve ever gotten to a rock show early, you’ve probably seen the band’s equipment on stage, all set up and ready to go. You might also catch a glimpse of the band’s roadies, often dressed in black, popping on and off stage, adding equipment or replacing a guitar, testing microphones and stage monitors while giving the sound man a thumbs up or thumbs down. Eventually, they fade into the background, the band hits the stage, and the audience starts to cheer. You may have heard their songs once or twice (or a lot of times), but you’re always hoping for something that tugs at your heart strings. Something that’s going to give you a night to remember.
Hello, I’m Diego, and I’m a technology analyst. I’m what you might call a roadie for a pretty great band of creative folks: the new business team at McKinney.
I accompany them on pitches to make sure that the stage is perfectly set. First, I work with the “venue” to make sure everything is compatible with the upcoming performance. The last thing my band needs to worry about minutes before they begin is why their computer doesn’t work with the client’s setup. Each “instrument” or piece of technology is finely tuned, tested and ready to go. I’m always prepared, knowing that if a guitar string breaks — or PowerPoint won’t open — they will need me to swoop in and provide them with whatever they might need to continue their flawless performance. The band, or pitch team in this case, should have only one focus: making sure that the right music gets played so the audience has an unforgettable experience.
Now, I also get the pleasure of backstage access: watching things come together from the moment they get the brief to the moment they make magic happen. And I’ve noticed a few key things that lead to a successful pitch. Yes, our band needs to have great music, and I make sure they have the right instruments, but it doesn’t end there. We need the right players, and most importantly, a well-rehearsed show.
Making sure the right players have come to the performance is very important. You don’t necessarily want your resident funny guy working on a campaign where the client specifically asks for a serious or powerful campaign. And the right players have to play the right role. During a crisis, the drummer could step in for the lead singer, but it doesn’t mean they should. A creative might have a good understanding of the strategy, but it’s probably best they don’t present it.
Rehearsal can make or break a successful pitch. The band must know the nuances of every single song on the set list, but they also need to be able to think on their feet and jam a little — guitar solo, anyone? So, we always prepare for worst-case scenarios or unexpected questions that may come up along the way. Knowing your audience is also crucial, and a little bit of research will go a long way. All of this takes time, and practice can go late into the night. So, let’s face it, my team has seen its fair share of late-night pizza and bad hotel coffee.
After attending a variety of pitches, I’ve earned the nickname “lucky charm,” but luck has nothing to do with it. Having a roadie to back up any performance can be very beneficial, especially when you get to support such incredible stars. Rock on!