“A wise man adapts himself to circumstances, as water shapes itself to the vessel that contains it.” – Chinese Proverb
It’s 2017, and your annual event marketing plan has been finalized. Last year’s results are in. Data from 2016 showed actionable trends, and your team has applied lessons learned and made adjustments where necessary. You feel poised to deliver event campaigns in 2017 that will engage your target audience and drive revenue. But, wait. Do you have the right people at the front lines of your events? Have you evaluated how you hire and engage your event staff?
Just as your organization’s event marketing practice must be fluid, so, too, must the people you trust to run your campaigns. Your event staff must be adaptable to the ever-evolving event marketing world. They should be able to tap into their own skill sets to achieve event goals and successfully execute experiential marketing trends. As an event marketer, make a resolution to examine your event team’s effectiveness and the processes you use to hire event staff. After all, your people are your event’s most valuable asset.
Why Event Staff Are So Critical
There are three things Adobe’s CMO.com says you must have for experiential marketing. The first two are fundamental business knowledge – an understanding of your customer and of your brand. But the third is more challenging to achieve. You must create “a mutually beneficial touch point,” which is “often solidified through establishing an emotional connection.” Consumers need, and expect, to have a personal relationship with your brand.
In fact, a recent study finds “79% of consumers ages 18-65 in the U.S.” need brands to show “they understand and care” to even consider buying. A representative of the surveying agency confirms, “It used to be that brands had the luxury of customers conforming to their business models, which worked for many years. But the tables have turned. Today, consumers expect businesses to adapt to their needs and our findings are consistent across all generations, geographies and genders.”
Your brand messaging may show that your company understands and cares. But messages can fall flat unless you have people who can deliver them in a genuine way. You must hire event staff who can adapt to each individual consumer’s needs. Without this connection, it becomes very difficult to achieve your event objectives and, ultimately, your business goals.
Three Factors to Hire Event Staff in 2017
Should you change the way you hire event staff this year? First, consider event and experiential marketing trends, and make sure you are hiring your field representatives based on the following three factors.
Last year, we saw experiential marketing grow in scope. Brands realize event marketing is powerful in achieving results, and the competition is growing. Brands are getting creative in order to stand out and stay relevant. It’s no longer okay to throw a ‘warm body’ in a position that would do better with someone with specific skills. Every person on your event team should be hired strategically, so the right person is always in the right place.
Think about a marketing event for a car manufacturer’s 2017 fleet of vehicles. When hiring event staff for that brand, would you choose someone simply because they know how to drive a car? No. You’d select people who are enthusiastic and knowledgeable about cars. You’d hire someone who understands car components and can explain how yours stands out from your competitors.
Even if your product doesn’t require unique knowledge, consider overall event objectives, especially those related to social media and online consumer engagement. A recent Entrepreneur article tells us, the “quality of your content” results in greater engagement and “after some time, builds loyalty in your audience.” Further, “high-quality content will earn you more followers.” If getting great photos and content from your event is your goal, try choosing individuals with a penchant for or experience in photography. By choosing this type of specialized event staff, you can be successful in all areas of activation.
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2. Tech savvy.
Technology is no longer reserved for event registration and communication. Over the past few years, and especially in 2016, we saw digital technology get bigger play in helping consumers get to know a brand and its products and services. And judging by this year’s CES, technology is about to get even more airtime. In fact, an Adweek article reports that CES is “not about a single big launch anymore, but an array of ideas around a theme of making things more convenient for the consumer.”
If your company is executing marketing events, you will no doubt at some point (if not already) invest in event technology. As a result, the management of many of these technologies will likely fall to your brand ambassadors or event staff. And their ability to successfully navigate the tech will make an impact on attendees. So, if event staff are not familiar with your specific technology up front, make sure they are tech-savvy and have the capacity to quickly learn.
3. More engaging.
The most important characteristic of any event staff member is to be engaging. Your brand ambassadors must be able to approach consumers and carry on influential conversations – at a minimum. Their ability to communicate and sell is more important than ever, as your event goals expand beyond building relationships. They need to seamlessly drive revenue, collect data and create digital content, all while establishing emotional connections with attendees.
When you hire event staff, make sure they’re motivated to go above and beyond. Ensure they know basic responsibilities, such as guiding attendees to provide contact info or respond to surveys using mobile technology. They must also be willing to capture photos and videos, jump into selfies and encourage social media posting. Choose staff with experience in event marketing, who demonstrate an understanding of basic event marketing principles – that meaningful moments result in long-term brand relationships.
Hiring engaging, knowledgeable staff is even more important as we approach a time when Generation Z will make up the majority of consumers. Brands and their event staff must be ready to engage in conversations with these shoppers, who do “pre-purchase research more than any other generation.” Your event staff must understand what it takes to satisfy a shopper that is accustomed to having answers at their fingertips.[Tweet “Meaningful moments result in long-term brand relationships.”]
Where to Find the Best Event Staff in 2017
Your company may need to adapt the way event staff are sourced and hired. While some brands take on hiring and management themselves, many others choose to partner with an event staffing agency to ensure they have team members that check off all of the boxes. If you are interested in outsourcing to an expert, do your research. Speak with your peers to find a reputable event staffing company, and ensure you have a strong partner to support you in your 2017 event marketing plans.
EPS has led the event and experiential marketing staffing industry for almost two decades. Contact us to learn more about how we can provide the right people for every one of your marketing events in 2017.