Guidelines for Executing Events as a EXP
In a recent pop-up discussion in the EXP Elite Group (if you haven’t joined our community yet, you’re missing out), I had the pleasure of speaking with Kesha Boyles, a current EXP, who shared her story and tips for success. Some of the feedback she gave me is that there is a misunderstanding among EXPs when it comes to event-day procedures and protocol. So, I have decided to tackle this topic in a blog and provide you with insight from T and me in our latest video.
As an EXP, you should be familiar with the various positions in the experiential marketing industry. If you’re not, then picking up a copy of You Do What? should be your next step. Within any event, you will have a set of individuals who will be responsible for the execution of the event. These individuals include:
- Client- An individual(s) who has hired an experiential marketing agency to execute their program. This person(s) will have a vested interest in the success of their program and can be extremely critical, demanding, or cordial.
- Account manager– An EXP who is hired and tasked with managing the day-to-day operations of an event and serving as a client liaison when they are on site. During an event, they will also work to ensure any and all changes are carried out.
- Tour/Market manager– An EXP who is responsible for the successful execution of a program or tour. Their duties include (but are not limited to): logistics, set up, break down, staff management, agency liaison.
- Assistant tour/production manager– An EXP who is in charge of assisting the manager with the execution of a tour and its components.
- Team lead– An EXP who is responsible for communicating with the tour manager and managing a team of EXPs during an event.
- Product specialist– An EXP who is hired to educate consumers on the benefits of a particular brand, product, or service.
- Brand ambassador/Mascot/Emcee– An EXP who is hired to educate consumers on the benefits of a particular brand, product or service.
I have taken the time to provide brief descriptions of each individual’s job duties above; however, every event will determine how many or if any of these rules are fulfilled. Understanding non-management positions, event protocol, and procedures is key to your success. As an EXP, it is important to keep these tips in mind.
Know Your Role and it’s Expectations
Whether you will be engaging with consumers, assisting with registration, conducting test drives, or serving as an emcee, mascot, or crowd gatherer, understanding the role that you have been contracted to perform is key. This information should have been conveyed to you prior to the event by the account or staffing manager in writing via email. If you are working as a backup and this information was not provided, then speaking with the team lead or manager once you arrive on site is the first step. This will ensure you are briefed on your position and any key talking points. In these positions, you will be responsible for reporting to a team lead or manager initially and throughout the event. If something is unclear to you or you have any lingering questions during your onsite training, you should reach out to these individuals for clarification prior to the event beginning.
As an EXP, in non-management positions you should not:
- Micromanage other EXPs
- Step outside of your role/responsibilities
- Bring personal matters to an event
- Address any issues with other EXPs publicly
- Disseminate inaccurate brand/product info
- Convey a sense of entitlement
- Casually converse or refuse to take any non-life-threatening direction given by the client or account manager
Set Expectations and Be Open to Criticism
This applies to team leads and managers. You have to be able to effectively communicate and manage in this position. If you will be serving as a team lead, then it is your responsibility to communicate with your team of EXPs at least 24 hours prior to ensure everyone is confirmed and has all the necessary information to execute the event. This list is given by the account or staffing manager before the event and is managed by you. If you have anyone who is no longer available, then letting the appropriate individual know ASAP is important. From there, you should lay out the goals, as well as expectations, for everyone working the event. This should be done in text or by phone in advance of the event. As the lead on site, communicating with staff, setting expectations, and answering questions prior to the start of an event is crucial. This will set the tone for the event and allow everyone to adjust accordingly. If you are executing an event as a manager and you do not have a team lead, then you will be responsible for training and communicating with all staff. On our current tour, I serve the assistant manager and work with the team lead, as well as staff, to train and set expectations for the event.
As an EXP in a management position, you should not:
- Show up to an event late or unprepared
- Engage in unprofessional acts with fellow EXPs
- Micromanage your team (instead, allow them to shine)
- Engage in unprofessional conversations with the client or account manager
- Leave your responsibilities to another EXP
- Have the “I am always right” mentality
Setting break schedules and ensuring your team stays energized throughout the event is also important. As a team lead or tour manager, you have to be open to constructive criticism. One thing that I do is have team meetings before and after an event. This allows everyone to provide their insights and suggest any changes for future events. As a team lead or manager, when you decide to do this, it is also important that you are open to any criticism, whether it is good or bad. This will only make you a better manager and leader in the long run.
Follow Protocol When Dealing with Clients and Account Managers
These are the two most important people at any event because they are responsible for the event occurring. As an EXP in a non-management role, understanding that there are boundaries/etiquette by which you have to abide is essential. I have included a few below:
- Do not approach or pitch the client during an event
- If you are asked by the account manager to change or alter your messaging/footprint, do so
- Do not engage in any arguments with consumers
- Do not step outside of your role or responsibilities. Managers were hired for a reason: Allow them to do their jobs
- Smile and exude a positive attitude
- If you encounter any issues during an event, be sure to speak with the tour manager first. Do not bring any event-related issues to the client
There is more information that I could pack into this blog, but I wanted to ensure that I have provided you with a basic outline. Read You Do What? to learn more about each role and its responsibilities. Beginning at the entry level will assist you in not only understanding the various avenues of the industry but will allow you to become a better manager and leader once the opportunity presents itself. Be sure to download my FREE checklist below on how to tackle situations during an event and watch the full interview T and I conducted.
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