Turnover in the experiential marketing industry is high – very high. Most brand ambassadors have other primary commitments, like school, a full-time job, or auditioning for acting or dancing roles. When the demands of one of those roles increases, they’ll usually drop their side hustle like a hot potato. And this turnover is costly for brands employing them. So, how do you keep your brand ambassadors engaged on your program long-term?
Let’s start with a basic understanding. Brand ambassadors have a lot of options for part-time work. It’s good to remember you’re competing for their time and commitment. To keep them on your experiential marketing program, i.e. to not be the hot potato, the key is to make them feel valued. You know brand ambassadors are the face of your brand, and their role is critical. It’s important you make sure they feel this appreciation. Just like with most employees, feeling appreciated and respected makes a big difference in how long brand ambassadors will stay on your team.
With these team members often working limited hours, how do you make them feel appreciated? Try these tips!
1. Set reasonable goals
Like most of us, brand ambassadors want to feel like they are doing a good job at work. If you don’t set goals for your team, they won’t know where they stand. If you set unreasonable goals for your brand ambassadors, they are likely to feel they are falling short of your expectations. Both of these situations feel crummy. Setting reasonable expectations is the way to go here!
2. Give them the tools to be successful
If your goal is to sell 20 units at a product sampling event, you need to have at least 20 units on hand at the retailer. You may need coupons to close the sales. You will want a nice display to give your brand ambassador credibility when speaking with customers or attendees. Spending time thinking about what your brand ambassadors will need to execute their event with excellence is time well spent!
3. Respect their time
Too many times, companies ask brand ambassadors, who are most often hourly contractors or employees, to do extra tasks for free. This includes things like picking product up from a warehouse, purchasing demo supplies from a nearby retailer, and doing extra brand training. As hourly workers, it’s important to respect the time of the brand ambassadors and pay them for all hours worked.
4. Offer consistent work
When brand ambassadors know they can count on you for monthly income, they will prioritize your shifts above others. In an industry where half your job is finding a job, consistent work is gold. You’re likely to keep your best brand ambassadors if you offer them ongoing work instead of starting and stopping your experiential marketing program throughout the year.
This seems like a given, but trust us, it’s not. Communication about the event details, like date/time/location are mission-critical, but other communication is also recommended. Sometimes brand ambassadors will leave comments about store selection, distribution issues, and products needed in an event report. You’ll need to respond when appropriate. This communication makes the brand ambassadors feel valued and heard.
6. Pay a competitive wage
Make sure to peek around every so often at other job posts to see if you are offering a competitive wage. This year, wages have increased dramatically in many industries, but in experiential marketing, we have seen wages increase by more than the national average – by 15-20% depending on the market. If you want the best brand ambassadors, you need to make sure your wages are in line with the market.
7. Provide upward mobility
Some types of experiential marketing programs lend themselves more to upward mobility than others. When possible, it’s best to always look for ways to allow your brand ambassadors to grow their skill set. Perhaps it’s allowing them to book their own product sampling demos at retail stores. For trade shows or sponsorship activations, consider promoting a great local brand ambassador to a tour manager – who sets up and manages your activation in multiple cities/states. Having upward mobility in sight will often keep your best brand ambassadors engaged.
From what we’ve seen on our experiential marketing programs, as brand ambassadors gain more experience, their performance improves. It’s certainly best to have a consistent team when possible. While some turnover is inevitable, by implementing these best practices, you can keep it to a minimum!
Which one of the tips above do you think would be the most challenging to implement?