As an event marketer, you understand the power of a live event. Bringing brands to life involves a number of moving parts, and you need an agency that can seamlessly manage and integrate every aspect. But finding the right one can be a challenge.
At Sparks, we realize that we might not be a fit for every client. To help you select the perfect agency, here are a few questions you should ask:
1. What are the agency's core competencies?
Experiential marketing is multifaceted, and every agency has a core focus that it does well. With the rise of the boutique specialty agency, a one-stop shop — though beneficial for cost and consistency measures — is no longer a necessity. Find an agency that’s core competency aligns with your specific needs, and you’ll be off to a solid start. If its secondary services align as well, that’s a bonus.
2. Which tasks does it keep in-house, and which ones does it outsource?
Most agencies outsource elements of the event experience, such as the build, digital/multimedia production, registration, audiovisual, and installation and dismantle. It’s a good idea to know who is doing your work and to verify that your lead agency has a preferred vendor program in place with a documented quality control process for managing its partners.
3. What is the process for working with new clients?
Your partnership won’t be successful if the agency doesn’t give you its full attention during onboarding. If this process gets rushed, your goals and objectives could be overlooked. Ask for details on the agency’s onboarding process, and look for a documented, multi-phase process with identified timelines around asset transition, team member identification, goals and objectives identification, brand and knowledge ramp-up, and the implementation of measurement programs.
4. Is the agency a culture fit?
Your experiential agency is an extension of your brand, so it’s important that you share the same values. Identify levels of professionalism, communication, transparency, creativity, and the like that are important to your organization. Go as granular as attire. Do you allow jeans in meetings, or are you looking for a suit-and-tie culture? Simple, yes, but even these basic elements can impact a good fit.
5. Does the agency stay on top of trends?
Does your future agency live on the cutting edge, or does it settle for traditional techniques? Make sure the agency is proactive and forward-thinking before you sign any contracts. Ask for its trend-casting processes and who, specifically in the creative and technology departments, is responsible for sharing this information with your branding team.
6. How does it help clients manage programs and budgets?
You have to spend money to make money, but nothing can get out of hand faster than an event program budget. You need to know that the agency can work within your budget, document spend, identify opportunities, and save appropriately.
Live events personify your brand, so don’t settle for just any event agency. Choose one that considers your needs and can deliver an experience both you and your customers will love.
Author: Jane Hawley – Determined biz dev guru at Sparks. Motivated by meeting new people. Inspired by the potential of all brands. Health nut. Wine enthusiast. Soothed by sand and sea. @SparksMarketing.
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