I always find great metaphors in relationships, I like to think it’s because we are a ‘people’ agency. So here goes…
A core objective of every Conference and Event is for businesses to showcase the very best version of themselves, to their key stakeholders and customers. It’s like meeting The Parents for the first time, we present the very best version of ourselves. And you only get one chance to make a first impression.
So, to me, the staffing of Conferences and Events is critical. A customer/delegate’s first experience on event day is generally registration or ticket scanning, manned by ‘Ambassadors’ wearing the brand uniform, representing the business at the very first interaction point with the consumer.
Once inside, the delegate is directed through the Conference/Event by yet more Ambassadors of the business. They’re scanning sessions as you pass between breakout areas, filling seats in auditoriums so you can squeeze in as many delegates as possible, they’re ushering delegates between speaker presentations, they’re manning information desks and concierge.
You can probably tell where I’m going with this. A) Ambassadors fill critical, functional roles and B) if you want to present the very best version of your business, you need the very best Ambassadors. It’s, very, very hard to do this with volunteers, or the cheapest ‘manpower’ available.
You can’t expect to present the company’s best self with iconic venues, inspirational speakers, extravagant stage products and networking parties but then hope the customer/delegate gives you a pass on the ‘people’ experience.
So how do you get the people component right. You need people who work at conferences regularly, who know what delegates AND conference organisers want from the event. You need a partner who will manage those people on-site, you need one ‘Leader’ per 30 people. You need bespoke briefs for each people component and you need to start seeding the information out to the staff at least one week prior. You need these people to feel like a critical part of the event, they need to be briefed, face to face, onsite, the day before. They need to be booked well in advance, booking them in last doesn’t give them the feeling that the event is important. And finally, they need to be led onsite, motivated and thanked.
We know that budgets are capped and that there are so many elements to balance that quite often the people component that is left until the end, where budgets are extremely tight. But there are still ways to excel, come through Salesforce World Tour, Xerconn, Amazon World Summit, Cisco, Cebit and YouTube Brandcast to see for yourself.
That’s our job at Mash, we’ll find a way to make it work. We understand just how important the people component is in helping our partners deliver world best Conferences and Events.