At 2013’s South by Southwest, Tesla Motors co-founder and CEO, Elon Musk, gave the audience an invaluable tip for hiring new people. It revealed itself when Musk shared what he considers to be his biggest mistake in the process. He confessed he puts too much weight on “someone’s talent and not someone’s personality.” Yet, “he tries to balance that now.” Looking at the company’s product specialist job description, it appears Tesla has struck harmony between the two.
Through their product specialist role, Tesla seeks to welcome and assist guests in their retail stores. And what a critical role that is. In fact, it may be one of the most important assignments given in event and experiential marketing. That makes its job description and subsequent fulfillment high priority.
Why a Product Specialist is So Important to Your Marketing Events
The purpose of event and experiential marketing is to make personal connections with consumers. Yet, to do that, your attendees must be able to trust you. An Adweek article says trustworthy brands are transparent “about their products and their values.” And “94 percent of consumers say transparency is important to their purchase decisions.” If your event staff aren’t knowledgeable about your products, how will you be transparent, build trust and make a connection to result in sales? This is where a product specialist shines.
A product specialist has Musk’s balance of talent and personality. For example, if your product is a smartphone, your product specialist should be able to talk displays, RAM and processors with the best of them. We know how critical this capability is as we entertain more and more Generation Z babies. These individuals grew up with technology, and do “pre-purchase research more than any other generation.” This means your product specialist must be wiser than your attendees on your products and your competitors’. And, he or she must also be able to share the information in a friendly, engaging way.
5 Must-Haves in Your Product Specialist Job Description
Being a product specialist comes with many responsibilities and requires various skills. In writing your best product specialist job description, a qualified candidate should:
Be an expert on the subject matter.
Your product specialist’s main responsibility is to know your brand inside and out. So, he or she must be capable of understanding the most complex information about your product. Like in the example of smartphones, you don’t want to have to teach someone about the technology. That person is bound to encounter questions he or she can’t answer, which may impact consumers’ abilities to trust your brand. Instead, look for someone who has industry experience and related education, when possible. Even better, find a candidate that is passionate about your brand in particular. Their fervor will go a long way in the must-have below!
Be comfortable interacting with consumers.
Just because the product specialist knows your brand and product doesn’t mean he or she will be effective. Your chosen candidate must be comfortable speaking with your consumers to be successful. His or her ability to share the information in a friendly, easy-to-understand manner – in a transparent way – can impact your attendees’ experience and brand perception. Therefore, look for someone approachable, if not outgoing. Then, test their abilities to explain the ins and outs of your offerings in a manner anyone could grasp.
[Tweet “94% of consumers need brand transparency to buy. Are your product specialists up to task?”]
Be flexible and ready to accept new challenges.
At the least, your product specialist must be flexible to adjust to the different temperaments of your attendees. The skill may also come in handy for brainstorming solutions to on-site issues.
Further, depending on the goal of your event and experiential marketing campaign, he or she may need to do more. And this will likely be the case at every activation. For example, if you’re preparing to launch a new product or service, your aim may be to collect leads. This may mean utilizing mobile technology to capture critical customer data. No matter the challenge, your product specialist must be willing and prepared to go the extra mile.
Be willing and able to conduct research.
To stay on top of their game, your product specialist must be in the know of industry trends and changes. To do this, expect them to conduct research through several avenues. One is competitive intelligence, which gives them the latest information for their discussions when selling your brand. It also allows your company to adjust its business and marketing strategies to sustain its rank or move ahead.
Another is to solicit consumer feedback, and your marketing event is a great place to do it. As your product specialist, he or she is not just the face of your brand, but should serve as your eyes and ears, too. Listening to what consumers have to say, and then watching how they interact with your product, will provide you with invaluable knowledge. They will need to take detailed notes based on the needs of all stakeholders. And through use of mobile marketing surveys, they can streamline the process without missing a beat.
Be agreeable to the demands of event marketing.
The requirements of event marketing are somewhat different than what employees might encounter in a regular office setting. For example, at your marketing event, you’ll want all brand ambassadors to wear appropriate clothing. An article about the North American International Auto Show drives this point home. It says auto manufacturers must take “every chance to send a message to shoppers about a car’s identify, its merits, its overall fabulousness and why they should want it… And that includes the clothing auto show product specialists wear.”
Other considerations will depend on your activation. They may include event-specific training, evening and weekend hours and manual labor for setup. Be sure to specify those in your product specialist job description. This will ensure candidates know all you expect of them.
The Smartest Way to Hire Your Product Specialist
Within each of these five must-haves are requirements demanding your time and attention. Many brands only need a product specialist for one event or a series of experiential marketing activations. Other brands need support in screening, interviewing and onboarding large amounts of staff for even year-long activations. And their event marketing team often trusts the capabilities of an event staffing agency.
A reputable agency will remove the administrative and legal liabilities associated with hiring your product specialist teams. They will deliver product specialists that check off all of the boxes above, and more. Event staffing agencies also train your product specialists on your key messages, event protocols, and sales tactics, further eliminating your burden and ensuring your success.
EPS has been the leader in event staffing since 1999. Our product specialists have both industry and event experience, allowing you to strike the right balance between skills and personality to represent your brand and drive results. Contact us to discuss your next marketing event!