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Experiential marketing events bring companies and consumers together and have the power to form incredible relationships.  While many factors contribute to the success of an experiential marketing event, there is one key factor that is the driving force between the brand and consumer relationship – those who are responsible for engaging with consumers.  Oftentimes, the success of an experiential event is contingent on the staff working and how well they engage and connect with consumers.

When you think about the impact that your event staff has on your activation, it seems like a no brainer to make staffing a top priority.  But unfortunately, it’s often one of the most overlooked items which can lead to not-so-great results.  Many marketers just don’t have the time or resources, or they don’t know where to start or what to look for.   With all things considered, it’s very easy to make mistakes when it comes to experiential staffing.  In this article, we will explore the most common staffing mistakes and provide you with tips on how to avoid them.

10 Experiential Staffing Mistake to Avoid

1. Not Having a Plan

As with any other component of your experiential marketing campaign, you need to have a staffing plan.  Your plan will allow you to see the big picture and will help guide you through the entire staffing process.  A few examples of what to include in your plan are:

  • How many staff will you need?
  • Will you hire staff directly or hire an experiential staffing agency?
  • How will you train your event staff?

2. Waiting Until the Last Minute to Find Staff

Experiential event staffing is a lengthy and complex process, and it’s much more than placing an ad and making a hire.  Allow yourself (or the staffing company) plenty of time to recruit, hire, and train the right staff, those who are experienced and qualified, for your activation.

3. Failing to Make a Timely Decision

Whether you are hiring staff on your own or you’re using an agency, it’s important to be timely when selecting staff.  The experiential marketing industry is competitive and specific events and venues can be even more difficult to staff.  If you wait too long, your ideal candidate may become unavailable.

4. Blindly Hiring Staff

Never hire event staff without interviewing them first.  Any person can present themselves as a rock star on paper, but without talking to them, you won’t know if they have the right personality (or any personality) to best represent your brand.  It may seem time-consuming, but take the time to talk to each person you are considering over the phone or via video conferencing to ensure they are a good fit.

5. Inadequately Training Your Staff

If you remember anything from this article, remember this – failing to train your staff sets your event up for failure.  Your staff needs to be fully prepared to convey brand messaging, answer consumer questions, and comfortably represent your brand.  Arming your event staff with knowledge about your brand, products or services, and your event goals should be at the top of your to-do list.

6. Putting Too Much Focus on Appearance

Appearance plays a big role in brand representation.  Of course, you want your staff to be professional and polished, but focusing too much on height, hair color or waist size means that you may be missing out on someone who will better represent you.  Instead of solely basing who you hire on their looks, consider their personality, event experience, and skills.   Like any relationship, consider the whole package when hiring staff.

7. Budgeting Too Little for Staff

Your staff has a huge impact on the way consumers perceive your brand, therefore you need professional and quality staff representing you.  Brand perception goes much further than the event itself in that you want consumers to walk away with an amazing experience that keeps them talking. With that said, don’t cut corners on your staffing budget.   Spending a little more by working with an experiential event staffing agency will ensure that you are getting quality staff without all the headache that comes with staffing on your own.  If you choose to staff the event yourself, make sure you offer a competitive pay rate.

8. Neglecting Your Brand Identity

Because your staff serves as the face and the voice of your brand, it’s important that they reflect your brand identity.  When you evaluate your candidates, consider the following:

  • Demographics – can they identify with your target consumer?
  • Personality – can they connect and engage with your audience?
  • Appearance – does their appearance accurately represent your brand and your company culture?
  • Experience – do they have the experience and knowledge needed to represent your brand, product, or service in a genuine fashion?

9. Lack of or Poor Communication

Staff communication is critical.  You should provide your staff with any and all information prior to the event, including all event details such as hours, meeting location, onsite contact information, ETC.  Additionally, give them detailed information about what is expected of them and their job responsibilities.  Being upfront with all information will lead to a seamless execution and staff retention for a multi-day event.

10. Not Being Compliant

If you choose to hire staff on your own, make sure that you are compliant on both the federal and state level when you onboard your staff.  You also need to follow all federal and state regulations regarding breaks and overtime.  Failure to comply with these regulations may lead to hefty fines and penalties.

By avoiding these all too common staffing mistakes, you’ll be on the right path to a successful experiential event.


Experiential staffing is time-consuming and it shouldn’t take away from your to-do list.  Fortunately, that’s where we come in.  Since 2002, ATN has helped thousands of clients with their experiential staffing needs.  We will work closely with you to understand your needs and wants so that we can provide you with the perfect people to represent your brand. Contact one of our event staffing gurus at any time to learn more about ATN and how we can help you reach your goals.

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