• How to Hire the Right Event Agency

    The process of hiring the right event agency should begin with a request for information (RFI) to get a clear sense of the company’s capabilities, followed by a request for proposal (RFP) from a short list of the most qualified shops.  RFPs are often used as mandates to test out event agencies, but do you know which eight segments should be part of any agency RFP?  These eight areas will help uncover the true capabilities of the event agency candidates on your list.

    1. History:  Get a complete look at the history of the company and brand, including a breakdown of products and services.  Learn about past events size, identify all operating units, and get information about venue-specific deals.
    2. Review process:  Actively state the goal of the RFP, providing a complete description of evaluation criteria that is broken down into service and creative capabilities.  Create a mandate that spells out format submission criteria and identify a brand contact for questions related to the RFP review process.
    3. Proposal:  The proposal should provide a detailed outline of objectives, including all budget parameters.  Put any ideas on the table in the proposal and discuss any challenges related to execution.  Also include information on existing assets that the event agency can leverage.
    4. Agency Information:  How much do you know about the event agencies on your short list?  Get to know the address, ownership parent company, number of employees and agency revenue.  Ask to review a list of the agency’s top 10 clients by share of billings and look at background blurbs.  Review written case histories and agency industry awards.  Request at least three client references and two case studies related to each of the agency’s core competencies.
    5. Target markets:  Find out if the agency specializes in any geographic areas or market segments.  Discover any regional- or market-specific connections the agency has cultivated with venues suppliers and retailers that can help with event development and execution.
    6. Creative competencies:  Learn about the creative team, including the background of the chief creative officer.  Request to see five examples of work.  Investigate the team’s creative process to gain insight into the agency’s creative capabilities.
    7. Client services:  Get to know how the event agency manages accounts and handles day-to-day client communications.  Request a high-level description of the agency’s process for delivering services to the client (most agency’s can provide you with a flow chart).  Also ask about quality checks in place to prevent errors.
    8. Measurement:  What measurement capabilities does the agency use?  Learn what ROI tactics the agency has developed, along with information on surveys research and data monitoring.  Get to know what is outsourced and what is managed in-house.

    Traditional RFP reviews often don’t uncover the true capabilities of event agency candidates.  Use these segments to get a complete understanding of the agency’s capabilities and hire the right event agency.

    For more information, go to EventMarketer.com — http://www.eventmarketer.com/article/how-issue-event-rfp

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