“Attack!'s loyal talent network and strong management team allowed us to quickly and effectively scale across dozens of markets seemingly overnight. Collaboration between their management and local teams meant high reliability, and locally-nuanced activation of a national campaign”.
Tony Paske, Head of Field Marketing | Lime
Preparing for an Event
Staffing Agencies: Why Some Brands Decide to Go it Alone
Bringing any event to life is a challenge in itself, more so when you’re organizing an experiential marketing event. It’s a complex task that takes an immense amount of planning and strategy, with execution needing to be almost flawless. Not only does it have to be memorable, it has to connect with your audience and contribute to your bottomline. From conceptualization to logistics, implementation, documentation, and much more, they are many intricate facets to executing an event. One crucial component being having the right people in place to make that happen, which leads to our main point: event staffing. Much to their own detriment, many marketers and brands make the mistake of planning around their event staff as an afterthought or a last minute addition; this is for a number of reasons, with not having enough time or resources for instance. This is where hiring a staffing agency or a brand ambassador company comes into play.
It's understandable that some brands won't outsource their staffing needs; after all, who knows their company better than themselves? Here are a few common misconceptions about the perceived value of in-house staffing:
We feel it’s cheaper to handle it internally. While paying a 1099 resource internally is less expensive, two things need to be considered in that equation. Firstly, the task of recruiting, vetting, and managing, this is where the majority of the additional cost comes in hiring a staffing agency, and secondly, the missed opportunity and loss in productivity should you hire poorly or be unable to hire at all. Conducting background checks, reference verification, and the like, is a time-consuming process, tasks which event staffing agencies are most effective and efficient at. This is a small part of what they do for a living; trust them, they know what they’re doing.
I want to know who is working my programs. The right staffing partner will thrive on transparency. They will want you involved every step of the way, from final selection, to hiring, training, management, and more. They will also give you direct access to the staff so that it feels as if the agency is simply an extension of your internal team; you still hold the reigns and have the final word.
Staffing agencies don't really understand our requirements like we do. Not every staffing agency will get your requirements, which is why it’s up to you to do your due diligence prior to selecting one. The right event marketing agency or brand ambassador company will know their specializations as well as their limits. Before taking any job, they will first understand who you are and what you need to best determine the most effective approach.
A Good Event Staffing Agency vs a Not-So-Great One
It can be intimidating as well as tedious to go to the market and choose a staffing agency; after all, with so many of them claiming to be the best in the industry, how do you know which one is the right one for you?
Here are a few tips we've put together in determining whether a staffing agency is worth your time or not:
They build relationships. It’s about trust and having expectations and needs clearly defined and communicated so that they can be accurately met. At the end of the day, it’s about building a fruitful, long-term partnership.
They want to thoroughly understand you. This includes your company and its requirements. From company history to workplace culture,they gather information on what makes your company tick so that they can accurately match your needs with the right hires. They aren’t looking to just fill in roles; they take your requirements seriously and will work tirelessly to get them right from the very beginning.
They aren't traditional. This means they aren't relying on an outdated internal database to hire staff, aren’t putting up a good front when they have no idea about the industry or the type of staff you need, aren't employing a hit-and-miss approach, aren't spamming you with resumes, and aren’t employing the usual tactics to get you what you need. The seasoned event staffing agency will know exactly where to look, how to recruit, and how to take it all the way from there.
They know how to do the leg-work. From conducting their research to vetting candidates, training, and (if need be) replacing them,the right staffing partner isn’t afraid to do the actual work, ensuring that you won’t be wasting time or resources in having to review hundreds of low-quality resumes. They are also very aware of the administrative and legal aspects associated with hiring, thereby reducing your risk and ensuring you are compliant with the law. This type of agency also isn’t afraid to have the difficult conversation should a hire not work out and replacements need to be quickly made.
They’re a little too eager. By eager, we mean desperate. They’re looking to immediately close you as a client without first understanding your event staffing needs or the type of industry or market you’re looking to hire in. Beware, at the end of the day, your brand vision or event concerns will mean little to nothing to these agencies.
They don't communicate well. Missed calls, late emails, chasing after feedback, agonizing over lack of details or updates,event preparation is meticulous and will need both parties working closely together to ensure a successful one. Communication is highly important, especially when you’re handling emergencies or last minute changes come event day. Your staffing agency needs to be responsive and consistent in their communication with you.
They don't have a specialization. With no specialization, you aren’t guaranteed in-depth knowledge into the specific fields you need to hire in. With the lack of experience, you have no competitive advantage and will be left wasting time and resources finding exactly what you need.
They aren't updated. If they aren’t constantly improving their strategies and techniques, than chances are, their methods of searching and staffing will be outdated. You look to an event marketing agency for help because they’re supposed to be industry experts. They’re supposed to be able to teach and guide you,not the other way around. So, check their processes, their frameworks in place before signing them on.
Why You Should Consider Them
For some companies, there is simply not enough time or resources to solely handle event planning themselves, with event staffing a key factor in particular. For experiential marketing agencies, this area is even more crucial. To be able to successfully carry out memorable experiences that build brand loyalty and drive engagement and ROI, the right people in place are a must. Seasoned event staffing agencies understand the power of engagement and know how to leverage people’s potential so that you can make the most out of your event experience.
Equipped with local market knowledge and up-to-date with the latest staffing techniques and tools, brand ambassador companies and similar agencies that are worth your salt will complement your team effortlessly so that you can focus on the core aspects of your event and achieve your goals. With the right staffing agency, you are partnering with brand ambassadors/advocates, street teams, promotional staffing, etc., to help you expertly and efficiently represent your brand. In addition to saving time and resources, listed below are a few advantages you get when partnering with an event staffing company.
You have access to a wide network of resources and connections. Equipped with insider knowledge, you have access to local market knowledge, exclusive and sought out locations, as well as quality talent not typically found on mainstream job platforms or through the usual approaches.
You get to work with an expert partner. A good staffing agency will have extensive knowledge of the latest industry trends and tools, as well as enough experience to guide and provide insight. They will also be reliable, adaptable, and professional.
You don’t have to worry about compliance or risk. They know what their obligations are and will go the extra mile in ensuring you won’t have to deal with potential liabilities, fees, or penalties. They are thorough and will make sure you are protected and productive.
You have increased flexibility and efficiency. Aside from cost efficiency, you won’t miss out on opportunities, lose out on productivity, and should staffing challenges or setbacks arise, they will promptly and effectively find replacements.
Staffing agencies or brand ambassador companies can help you recruit for the following job types and positions:
Types of employment:
temporary (with a beginning and end date)
temp-to-hire (initially a temporary assignment but with the potential for employment with the company in the future)
direct hire (candidate is brought on board for a full-time position with the agency acting as a recruiter)
Types of event staffing positions:
Crowd control stewards
Trade show staffing
Tour managers (and the list goes on)
Brand ambassador companies and similar agencies that are worth your salt will complement your team effortlessly so that you can focus on the core aspects of your event and achieve your goals.
Real Life Application: The "Respect the Ride" Campaign
Having launched "Respect the Ride" in 2018, a safety and education campaign focused on promoting responsible riding habits at every step, Lime's campaign takes on a multi-pronged approach to rider education, equipping the community with the resources necessary to make each smart mobility trip a safe and enjoyable experience. A massive endeavor, Lime smartly employed the services of a staffing agency for the following reasons:
To be able to ramp up and ramp down quickly for a short to mid-term field marketing campaign
To deploy resources nationally to support existing resources in each target market
To eliminate the HR headache associated with hiring, onboarding, and managing over 500 individuals across 29 markets
To tap into into the local event, activation intel quickly and easily without having to pay for such local intel research
We efficiently recruited, trained, and scheduled Field Market Managers and Brand Ambassadors across 29 markets
Collaborated with Lime HQ and Local Lime Ops teams on scheduling, event, and location preferences
Created customized local schedules for each market to activate 4-5 days a week for 4 weeks
Developed management processes/procedures which lead to a near-perfect staff show rate of 99%
Designed and developed a custom reporting tool to monitor results at a national, local, and daily level
You hire professionals in all areas of the event experience you are building for your clients. From production to a/v to premiums, fabrication, security, and catering. Why wouldn't you hire experts in event staffing for the same reasons? Hire the best so that you can focus on the master plan of the event and the experience of your clients knowing full well you have a partner that will take your vision and manage it with excellence.
Remember, the people you hire, brand ambassadors, promotional staff, event managers, etc, they will be the first line of engagement between your experience and your audience. They are the face of your brand and will help make or break your event, so don’t treat them as ‘extras’ or an afterthought. When you partner with the right event staffing agency for your goals and your needs, the results for your brand and your bottomline are exponential.