Verifying that an event technology vendor is a safe hire is vital. After all, choosing the right event technology vendor could make the difference between the success and failure of your experiential event marketing efforts. These days, virtually anyone can slap up a website and claim to be a leading provider of event technology or event marketing services. Not all event marketing vendors are created equal, so it pays off to do a little research and refine your options before you sign on the dotted line. Here are some questions that will help you separate the wheat from the chaff during the event vendor selection process.
- How much experience do you have?
To ensure that experiential event marketing vendors are reputable and capable of delivering great customer service and a worthwhile ROI, ask them how much experience they have. Evaluate factors such as how long they have been in business, the types of event activations they host, the products/services they offer, the number of employees they have, and their annual revenue.
Who have you worked with?
Aim to work with event technology vendors who have a proven track recordin providing solutions to organizations with similar needs. Be wary of working with startups that have a limited amount of experience. Find out what companies vendors have worked with in the past to determine whether they’d be capable of making your event activation a success. Make sure that any technology your event vendor will be using at your event is tested and proven. It may be exciting to be on the bleeding edge, but it’s usually not worth the risk.
3. What is your company’s star rating?
User reviews aren’t just for B2Cs anymore. B2B vendors can also obtain star ratings nowadays, and the trend of B2B reviews is growing and being adopted by well-known firms. User reviews are often transparent, no holds barred accounts of what it’s like to work with a particular vendor. The idea is not to run for the hills if you discover that an event technology vendor has negative reviews, however. It should be a cause for concern if all of a vendor’s reviews are negative, but getting a negative review here and there is normal. What sets the good event vendors apart from the not-so-good ones is how they choose to deal with negative feedback.
Do you have any case studies or testimonials?
Always ask event technology vendors for experiential marketing case studies and testimonials from clients they've worked with on previous event and brand activations, and be wary of vendors who are reluctant to provide them. Better yet, get the names of a few existing clients who would be willing to discuss their experiences with you. Case studies should demonstrate a vendor’s products/services in action, show that the vendor has relevant experience, and prove that the vendor is capable of achieving worthwhile results. In addition, review the social media accounts of event vendors. Is there positive buzz surrounding their brand on Facebook or Twitter? Have they been recommended by credible brands on LinkedIn?
What type of equipment do you use?
Find out what type of equipment event marketing vendors use and whether they have access to backup equipment in case something goes wrong. In addition, find out if they have any patents on the equipment they use and what advantages their equipment offers. Furthermore, determine what event technology they have in-house and what event technology they obtain from outside vendors.
What is included in your price?
Determine how much an event technology vendor’s services cost, exactly what is included in that price, and whether there are any additional fees. Gauge how willing the vendor is to commit to your budget and what options the vendor offers. Does the vendor provide any additional event activation services that could enhance the event or brand experience and provide you with greater value?
How can you customize your services to suit my event?
Find out how an event vendor can customize their services to suit your event. For example, if you’re hiring an event photography or photo activation vendor, can they customize the exterior of their photo booth to fit the theme of your event or can they integrate with an existing photo booth structure that you already have? Can the software they use be modified to fit your needs? Do they provide props or costumes? How do they customize photos? How will their staff be dressed at your event? A vendor’s employees should look and act professional and dress in a way that fits the style of your event, especially if they are doubling as brand ambassadors on behalf of the brand.
- How do you handle customer service, both for clients and attendees?
Determine how an event technology vendor administers customer service to clients. Do they assign a project manager? Are they available by cell phone? Do their customer service hours take time zone differences into consideration? If the vendor interacts with attendees, what system do they have in place to handle customer service for them? How quickly do they respond to attendees’ customer service issues?
In the last few years, a number of new event technologies have arisen, bringing significant changes to the experiential event marketing industry. Many of these technologies supposedly drive event attendance, boost ROI, and increase engagement, but there are so many options out there that it can be difficult to cut through the clutter and find qualified event vendors. Interview event technology vendors and ask the above questions before taking new experiential event technology for a test drive. By approaching the vendor selection process with care, you can rest assured that you’re making a sound hiring decision for your next sponsor activation.