Is the Experiential Marketing Industry Headed in the Wrong Direction?

Jae Daves EXP Industry DirectionEver since the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile appeared on the scene in the 90s, Experiential Marketing has slowly evolved into a mainstream phenomenon. With brands seeing the importance of switching from traditional marketing to consumer-driven events that create a memorable experience, Experiential Marketing and the way in which brands build brand loyalty will continue to evolve. But the question then becomes this: how can clients and Experiential Marketing agencies ensure they are consistently hiring EXPs who will help consumers have a memorable experience?

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After speaking with clients and agency owners, we found there is a growing concern with the quality of Experiential Marketing Professionals (EXPs) entering the industry and obtaining opportunities. From tardiness, incorrect event attire,  unprofessionalism, to a sense of entitlement, many EXPs are turning the Experiential Marketing industry into a watered-down version of a temp agency where quality is no longer a priority. So what can you do as an EXP to improve the industry? I have provided a few tips that you can implement:

Take your name seriously.

Yes, there are hundreds of Experiential Marketing and staffing agencies to work for. Yes, turnover occurs frequently, but why become part of the hundreds? You are a Brand Within A Brand (BWAB). Therefore, you have to ensure that you are representing yourself at all times. Having integrity, possessing professionalism, as well as taking a proactive approach to any event before, during, and after, are essential. While the industry is growing, it is important to remember that people are connected in various ways. So be mindful because your next opportunity could be one brand ambassador or manager away.

Stay in your lane.

Coming onsite, stepping out of your assigned role, trying to tell the client or manager how to run their program, and serving in a management role when you were hired as a brand ambassador are things you should never do. These are just a few examples of what makes a client, fellow EXP, or account manager furious. As an EXP, if you have committed to perform a particular role, then stay in your role. The clients and account managers may have a preferred way of executing their program, tour, or event. Now granted, there are plenty of instances when a request or certain type of setup may not make sense. In such situations, making a well-thought-out suggestion and offering a solution are the right steps to take. However, criticizing the event and conveying a negative attitude while onsite may affect the consumer experience and even the agencies’ ability to retain their clients in the future.

Leave your entitled mentality at home.

“I don’t do setup,” “ I’m sorry, but I can’t work the event anymore” (15 minutes before you’re scheduled to be there), “Do I have to engage with people?” and “Why can’t I take a longer break?” are just some of the consistent issues reported by clients and account managers. Oh, and let’s not forget the taboos of using social media and frequently having your phone out during an event. Showing up and assuming it’s okay to not do anything and still demand payment and future opportunities have become huge sources of contention for many agencies. These issues have resulted in strict changes, which have affected the EXPs who represent the industry with quality and professionalism. Assuming that it is okay to cause drama, exhibit unprofessional behavior, and still be compensated is not okay.

Clients and agencies are starting to move away from hiring EXPs for events because of these reasons (and others) listed above. As an EXP, if you want our industry to continue to grow and have quality opportunities that pay well and are consistent — whether it is part-time or as a career — then you have to start shifting the negative narrative and being accountable for your actions as an Experiential Marketing Professional.

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