With experiential marketing on the rise, now is a GREAT time to add a promotional marketing agency with staffing capabilities to your power team. Live promotional events are a great way to directly reach your customer base and test out new products, hand deliver a branding message, or obtain new leads. Once you add the powerful mix of branding and interaction with live brand ambassadors to your current marketing strategies, you will be amazed by the results!
However, choosing the right experiential marketing firm to develop, manage, and staff your promotional programs – especially if you’re new to this type of marketing – can seem overwhelming at best. That being said, keep the following ideas in mind when selecting your experiential marketing partner.
Choose a company that has had a positive reputable history of at least five years with both talent and clients alike. Anything less than five years and you’ll be dealing with a company that has yet to fully build its talent roster and, more than likely, has not had its fair share of successes.
Location, Location, Location!
Make sure your agency of choice can provide event services in the areas you need them most! Some markets can provide more talent and services than others. Ask your agency if they can provide event resources in some of your more remote markets.
Excellent, Solid Talent Base
You not only want a good selection of promotional talent based on demographics, lifestyles, and promotional experience – but you also need RELIABILITY AND DEPENDABILITY. Don’t be afraid to ask the agency for talent references of brand ambassadors they have worked with in recent months.
Active Client Involvement
You may want to be involved with talent selection for your event. Then again, you may want to leave it in the hands of your agency. Either way, you’ll want to have that option! Look for an agency that allows you to play a key role in talent selection. Ideally, they will have an online portal that allows you to view talent photos, as well as their prior promotional experience, languages spoken, and other special skills.
Flexible Booking Policy
Ask the agency about their flexibility when booking events. We all know that events can change quickly – a location changes, weather forces a cancellation, activation times get moved up or pushed back. Make your inquiries before signing a contract with them. Knowing this ahead of time will save both of you some heartache! Understandably, each agency will have their own policy, so shop around but know that a good agency should be open and upfront about their policies…AND their flexibility.
Look for an agency that has a healthy list of clients – not just in size, but in depth. Are they working with reputable companies? Well-known brands? And how recently have they booked promotions with these brands? Are they working with other clients in your particular industry? And finally, for how long have they worked with some of their clients?
Accessible Account Managers
Make sure the agency has account managers that are easily accessible during events. If you have an event executing at 8pm in the evening and run into a snag, you are going to want your account manager available if need be.
Accurate and User-friendly Reporting System
Because success rates can sometimes be tough to measure with promotional marketing, one of the best ways to obtain vital feedback from an event is via onsite reports. Ask the agency about their reporting system. Your agency should not only be willing to work with talent on obtaining reports and photos from each event, but should also have an easy way of delivering that information to you.
Adaptability and Access to Other Services
Your promotional agency should be able to adapt and grow with you as your needs change. Look for an agency that can offer more than just talent bookings. What other services do they offer? Perhaps they offer lead generation services on mobile devices to capture consumer contact information onsite. Or, maybe they can assist with promotional materials design and printing. Seek out companies that have a vast network of third party vendors that can cover all the bases for your experiential program.
It’s not always about the rates…
Keep in mind that the rates should only be a portion of your assessment. A low rate may be great for your budget but means nothing if your account manager is not available or your talent is sub-par. Also, keep in mind that rates vary depending on the event type and location. Events in smaller towns which require travel from a major market or larger programs where several staff are needed for an extended period of time may be priced differently than a one-day, one-person event
If you choose the agency that best suits your needs, you are bound to succeed! It’s worth the time and effort to ask the appropriate questions upfront when choosing an agency. Also, don’t be afraid to work with the agency to develop mutually beneficial solutions. You may be surprised at the outcome!
Lisa Marino is an account manager with Adelante Live Inc. and has 15 years experience in the product marketing and seminar industries. When she’s not hustling for ALI, she can be found doing a mean cover of “Dreams” at a local karaoke night.