By September 17, 2013April 3rd, 2014Event Marketing, Experiential Marketing

Expect the unexpected when planning an experiential marketing event

When it comes to event planning and interactive marketing, there’s only one rule you need to remember: if there’s the possibility that something could go wrong, chances are it probably will. Murphy’s famous law dominates all aspects of event planning. From the venue to the weather, the staff to supplies, there’s no telling when an unexpected roadblock might appear.

Our job as expert event marketers and planners is to ensure these hiccups are handled quickly and efficiently, without further disruption of cost. The show must go on, after all.

Whether you’re planning a product launch, conference, or interactive marketing program, pre-mortem planning is the only way to prepare your team for the unforeseen. At Midfield Interactive, the unexpected is expected, that’s how we are wired. As such, we troubleshoot problems long before they happen, creating contingency plans for practically any circumstance. To some, this might seem excessive. But in our experience, you can never be too prepared. The following are three of the most common problems that can crop up as part of an interactive marketing event and some tips for how to keep your cool under pressure.

1) Woe is the Weather

Nothing throws a wrench into an outdoor event quite like inclement weather. All it takes is one raindrop to scare attendees away, potentially ruining months of hard work. Granted, you can’t control the weather; however, you can control how you deal with a dismal forecast. To do this, be proactive and plan for bad weather right from the beginning by building in weather barriers like:

  1. Tents: Building a tent into your event marketing budget is a great way to protect your attendees from unforeseen weather. And the best part? If it doesn’t rain, you’ll have a lovely shaded space for people to escape the sun and relax during the day.
  2. Attendee Supplies: If your event will take place rain or shine, consider providing guests with complimentary rain gear, such as umbrellas or rain ponchos. The nice thing about these items is that they can also function as branded promotional gear; simply custom order items with your client’s logo on the side for an instant gift!
  3. Manage Mud: If your interactive marketing event is taking place in a park or field, make sure you have a plan in place for mud. This could involve spreading wood chips or straw in order to soak up some of the excess moisture.
  4. Include a Damaging Admission: A damaging admission is a brutally honest conceit regarding your interactive marketing event. In the case of an outdoor event, this means acknowledging the fact that the weather might not cooperate. The best place to address this is right on your event invitation, advertisement, or website. This admission could include information on an alternate rain date for the event, or include a disclaimer that the event will continue “rain or shine”.

Every outdoor event marketing program needs to have a contingency plan in place in regards to weather. From preplanned rain dates to backup indoor locations, it pays to have these plans in place far in advance of your event.

2) Stiffed by Staff

Event marketing is a team sport – you need to have a group of committed people working together in order to pull off an amazing experience. Unfortunately, not every employee you hire will give 110 percent. This lack of commitment can lead to attendance issues and poor customer service, both of which will impact the ROI of your event marketing program.

The best way to plan for this problem is to create a staffing plan that provides straightforward solutions for event staff no-shows and wardrobe expectations. Backup staff should be trained and ready to step in at the last minute, while additional uniforms (be it a branded shirt or full outfit) should be on hand in a variety of sizes. Poor attitudes and behaviours can be alleviated through a detailed hiring and vetting process. If problems persist on event day, the trick is to address them quickly and efficiently. Infield mangers and team leaders are responsible for monitoring activation and interaction numbers to ensure attendees are actively engaged in the interactive marketing message. If staff are failing to connect with attendees, experienced event planners will have the skills needed to change their strategy on the fly, effectively changing the event’s atmosphere and vibe.

3) Supply Shortages

Whether you’re handing out promotional items or sampling a new product offering, nothing kills the buzz around your booth or marketing event quite like running out of items midway through the day. In order to avoid this, think ahead and ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How many people are you anticipating will come out to the event?
  2. How long will the campaign be running for?
  3. Will you be using the items at multiple events?
  4. Does the product have a best before date?
  5. Do you have the capacity to handle/store excess items?

If possible, it’s always better to have more items than less. However, you don’t want to find yourself stuck with a ton of additional inventory. Closely review your market research and past event analytics to better understand your product needs.

Another factor to consider when running a sample marketing event is your product placement. At Midfield Interactive, we create workflow designs of all of our event locations in order to aid in sample booth placement and supply storage. We also take pains to coordinate runners in all areas of the event to ensure no booth is ever understocked.

Finally, if your event will feature food or drink, you can never, ever have too much ice. Trust us on this one.

Don’t let a potential problem steamroll your marketing event plan. Consider all of the variables ahead of time with help from an expert interactive marketing professional from Midfield. Contact our office today to begin building a foolproof contingency plan.

Paul Allison

About Paul Allison

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