While burning the midnight oil last night I thought about this…
As Experiential Marketing Professionals (EXP’s), we are contracted to perform and execute events and take on different positions. Outside of the hourly or weekly rate and any additional stipends we are given, this industry (especially if you execute events full-time) is how you make a living. Over my 11-year career as an EXP, I have dealt with situations where I have been overworked and underpaid. I have fought with agencies to receive compensation and cannot count the number of times I have dealt with entitled EXP’s on a footprint. But I always go back to my “WHY?” and tell myself this industry has allowed me to excel in something I love, help others, make a living, and create multiple streams of income. Feel free to check out my YouTube video here where T and I have a discussion regarding our industry!
While event descriptions love to classify an opportunity as easy, fun, straight forward, or seamless, EXP’s who have been executing events long enough know there is no such thing as a perfect event. And, oftentimes, the word “easy” is the last thing you want to hear when you have multiple requests, cross-country drives, crazy weather conditions, long event setups, break downs, and unruly consumers. Heck, after all this, you are just praying to make it through the activation without any more issues until the next one. Outside of the paycheck we receive, our compensation is limited. And when I request a higher compensation that aligns with the amount of work (or additional requests) required, I am given an excuse as to why the compensation won’t be given or told that the job won’t require additional tasks.
Are EXP’s perfect? No.
Am I asking for a handout or sympathy? No
While I continue to educate and provide resources on the importance of becoming a BWAB (Brand Within A Brand) by creating multiple streams of income and planning for slow periods and unforeseen times as an EXP, I want to encourage every person who makes decisions on behalf of EXP’s in the events field to consider proposing a budget that includes additional funds for contracted EXP’s. Not every agency values the important role EXP’s play in the overall consumer experience and success of an event. Tour and event cancellations are something we are aware of. Believe me, I understand the severe impact it can have on our bottom line, but I want to encourage you to think twice about accepting less to execute a program that operates with the assumption EXP’s will come in, save the program, and pick up the pieces. And this doesn’t apply to every agency, as I have worked with plenty who value and appreciate EXP’s.
Moving forward, it’s so important to work with clients who add clauses and contingency plans that will protect all parties involved and offer some type of compensation in times such as this. Change starts with every EXP and decision-maker in our industry. And while the Experiential Marketing industry will bounce back, we must humble ourselves and appreciate each other’s role in continuously advancing our industry as one, which benefits everyone’s bottom line and the overall consumer experience.
I appreciate all of you!
If you haven’t grabbed a copy of my book You Do What? yet, and you are looking for some educational/productive things to occupy your extra free time during this process of “social distancing”, I’d encourage you to check it out! Just click here.
Signed your EXP Coach, Jae Davis
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