Easily find items sold online with free shipping on sites like Amazon, eBay, and more than 500 other online stores with website Free Shipping On. The website sports easy navigation: two tabs that allow you to perform searches for items available on Amazon and eBay with free shipping, and then a third tab takes you to a page that offers free shipping coupons for over five hundred stores, from Apple to Walmart and organized by category as well. You can know use someone else’s gas to get your stuff to your house!!
In both cases, our drivers were the key to a successful stop to a potentially major program (and life!) ending situations. Additionally, both situations were easily preventable.
WHO WAS TO BLAME?
WE ALL ARE TO BLAME.
Pressuring manufactures to meet ridiculous deadlines causes construction flaws and missed elements. Not properly managing the construction [via inexperienced or ‘overly’ friendly staff] creates these kinds of challenges. Doing the ‘homework’ via Google is not really a viable solution in this multi-billion dollar industry. Knowingly accepting the fact that something is wrong and going ahead anyway needs to be looked at very carefully. Also just to be very clear, yes, it does happen at your shop – both episodes above were at MAJOR agencies - Let us just agree to be honest and get to a solution.
You might say, “Oh well, we have insurance.”
Does that really matter if someone is hurt or worse yet, killed? What kind of PR will it be for the client if injury or a death is associated with their product in any way? Live copter footage of the marketing vehicle tipped over on the 405 with the logo properly displayed is NOT what anyone is after.
The solution exists in finding and utilizing an expert in the elements where questions arise [and all corporate culture – BS office politics aside], and no one really has an answer. If you think something is wrong, I got news for you, it is. A byproduct of this consulting hire is that your staff will be the benefactor of years of experience that can be utilized next tour and the tour after that. A budget restraint that leads to ineffective and dangerous field marketing can and will eventually explode in your face.
Does anyone remember Joseph Hazelwood? He was the captain of
the Exxon Valdez, the ship that dumped over 11 million gallons of crude oil
into the sea after hitting a barrier reef. What does Captain Hazelwood do
today? He is a teacher at S.U.N.Y. Maritime College. Experience trumps ‘book
learnin’ every time.
KEY LEARNING - If you do not have the money for an oil change now, how will you afford a new engine?
I would also like to tell of another situation that did not have such great results. At an Indy Racing event, a Tour Manager was setting up 10 by 10 tents for the footprint. It was an unusually windy day. In what could only be described as a fluke, a large gust of wind picked up one of the tents, and like we all do, the TM attempted to secure the tent by holding on to the side. This huge gust of wind picked up the tent AND Tour Manager about 11 feet in the air and dropped both firmly on the concrete. The TM suffered a major head injury, was in coma for 56 days, and is still receiving therapy. All three local news stations AND the local paper covered the incident. Lovely footage of a branded tent on a blood stained sidewalk.
No one can prepare for something such as this, but the point
is very clear;
BAD THINGS CAN AND WILL HAPPEN, DO NOT ADD TO THEM.
A simple obvious point that is often overlooked in the zeal for success.
Blink – Malcolm Gladwell
National Underwriter Company article archive
Another Monday morning with your voice mail filled with messages. The client was not pleased with the recent placement at the (fill in the city) Home Show. This on the heals of last weeks disastrous location at the (fill in the town) Rodeo. And, you have a bad feeling about this weekend. You know in your gut, the Director of the (fill in the county) First Annual (fill in the food) Cook-Off was less than honest about where, exactly, your 20 x 20 footprint would be located. You did your homework. You saw last years site plan. You know where the entrances are located. You read the attached press clippings. Could anything else have been done? In a word (apply best Kramer voice) “Oh yeah Jerry”!
Your job is to maximize impression rate, to ensure a
flawless execution and make absolutely sure the client’s needs are served.
job of the Home Show / Rodeo / Mall / Craft Show / Duck Race /Cook-Off Director
is to SELL SPACES. Do Not Fool Yourself.
You need to talk to someone who has your core needs in the forefront of their mind: PREVIOUS EXHIBITORS WHO HAVE BEEN TO THE EVENT. Get the directory from the previous years/months/quarters event and locate the names and numbers of past exhibitors. Call them up, and tell them your story and what you hope to accomplish. They love to talk about best location, demographics and all the bad stuff you will never hear from an active event manager. (Man, do they love to talk.)
While at a recent outdoor southwestern home show (the
largest in the west!), I was swarmed by all the exhibitors around me. I was the
Tour Manager for a rather large, complex footprint (50 x 50, Fiesta Tent --very
expensive living room furnishings) “Comfort” was the theme and the focus was on
the female attendees. I was in a huge outdoor row with all of the manufacturers
– Brick makers, Aluminum fabricators, Milling companies and the like. I was
told we should be inside next to the spa folks. “It [was] gonna’ get real messy out here,” my next-door neighbors
for three days explained. Between the shooting sparks of the metal guy and the
flying mortar of the “Brick Dudes” it was a disaster. Three days of nothing.
Occasionally, someone would peak in and just chuckle. The complex set-up nature
of the exhibit prevented any logical movement whatsoever. We were stuck at this
spot. The indoor location was always jammed with the exact demographic. The
fliers that stated our location offering free gifts made absolutely no
difference. Thank God the local client representatives never showed.
What do real estate moguls say? Location, location, location.
First, there's the lesser-known, but great-with-flights service 4INFO. Add 4INFO to your mobile's address book (short code 4INFO, or 44636), and send a text message to them with the airline and flight number in the body (like "China Southern 678"). You'll get back a message within the minute with departure and arrival details. Here's the original 4INFO post about checking flight status via text message.
Google SMS can also give you flight status. Fire off a text message to short code GOOGLE (466453) with the airline and flight number, and the big G will text you back with details.
Why in a hotel, of course!
But, what hotel? Why? And Where?
Most agencies give as part of the Per Deim a particular amount for lodging. Part of the downside of this is that staff will spend to much time trying to save money and place themselves in a possibly ‘sketchy’ area. It is very viable and possible to issue a list of acceptable hotels, or at least, issue a profile of acceptable accommodation conditions and locations.
The “Hotel Issue” seems to be just that – an issue.
4 Rules O’ Thumb
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION – Hmmmm, this seems to effect everything. If you are staying in Orange County and the event is at 8th & Alvarado at 9 AM, well, you know the rest………. 20 minutes should be the MAX driving time to get from lodging to event.
Get SEPARATE ROOMS - Separate rooms for field staffers has an end game
payoff. Working AND Sleeping together takes its toll, unless they want to - but that's a WHOLE other article.
SHIPPING & RECEIVING – Can and will the property accept packages. In addition, you know we mean LARGE packages.
SECURE PARKING – Should I even explain this? Or perhaps just insert some pictures of ‘graffiti all over’ marketing vehicles.
3 years ago, we were involved with a project that took place at NASCAR events. A typical room [and I mean a Motel 6 single] was going for $250+ PER NIGHT! Ouch. One could argue [and I have] that if you average the total spent on hotels over the length of the tour, you are not spending $250 every night. It does influence the ‘nightly average’. In addition, many folks point out; Liars figure & Figures lie.
If the entire tour is NASCAR cities, then a $50-$75 per night arrangement is simply not equitable – experienced staff will pierce this flaw to no end. If the tour is one or two NASCAR stops and then Dubuque, IA, Modesto, CA, Benson, AZ, well that’s a different story. We have been involved in circumstances where an arbitrary dollar figure was placed in the budget simply because it fit. Sensitivity to the higher dollar markets and a realistic analysis of hotel costs should yield a legitimate budget number. Current costs are also a key element here. Just because last year you did a tour and hotels were costing $X, does not mean it will be the same this year.
A very simple point exists here. If everyone (AND I MEAN EVERYONE) comes to grips with the fact that the greatest asset is not the vehicle or tents or any other branded material. THE GREATEST Asset TO A BRANDING EFFORT IS THE PEOPLE. How would you take care of a prized racehorse? How ‘bout a ‘Show Dog’? How about just your cat at home? Try running a tour without people.