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Experiential marketing is no longer just a buzz word. It’s here to stay. And with the rise in experiential marketing events and brand activations comes a greater need for staff; brand ambassadors, product specialists, promotional models, you name it.  Event staffing agencies are the way to go when it comes to event staff.  But while brands and marketers may think that all event staffing agencies are the same, they aren’t. When looking for and comparing companies, they need to do their research to find out if an agency has the capabilities, experience, and reach to successfully staff an event.

6 Event Staffing Myths Debunked

Staffing is a difficult piece of the experiential planning puzzle, but it doesn’t have to be.  Hiring an agency that can meet all of your needs will alleviate a lot of your stress.  Here are six of the most common misconceptions when it comes to event staffing.

Myth #1:  As long as a brand ambassador has a ton of experience, they can work any type of event. 

Fact: Even if a brand ambassador has worked 200 events for an agency, it doesn’t necessarily qualify them for every role or brand activation. For example, if someone hates gaming, they shouldn’t be hired for an eSports event.
Takeaway: A good agency understands that even vets get vetted.

Myth #2: Any staffing agency can book an event in 100 locations, so I’ll go with the one I hired last time.

Fact: When it comes to specialty events, like large-scale or multi-market campaigns or specific staff attributes or skills, not all event staffing agencies have the capacity or knowledge to pull those off.
Takeaway: Experience counts, do your research and choose your partner wisely.

Myth #3: It doesn’t matter how the staffing agency classifies their employees.

Fact: Oh yes it does! The definition of an independent contractor does not match up with the role of a brand ambassador or any type of experiential event staff for that matter. When it comes to the misclassification of 1099 Independent Contractors, agencies and brands are considered co-employers. What does that mean? The government holds the co-employer responsible for penalties, fines, and fees due to employee misclassification. Teaming up with a staffing company that hires their employees as W2 Variable Hour Employees not only eliminates any co-employment liabilities, but it also provides you with peace of mind in knowing that the staffing agency is responsible for worker’s compensation and insurance coverage for their employees. Not to mention W2 agencies pay their employees quickly.
Takeaway: W2 for the win.

Myth #4:  Our event is 100% booked. We need 20 brand ambassadors and the event staffing agency has 20 hired. 

Fact: You are not 100% booked until you are 120% booked. Life happens. Brand ambassadors back out for all kinds of reasons, legit reasons and not so legit reasons. Event staffing agencies that offer complimentary paid backups to ensure your event is fully staffed shows that they truly care about the partnership and your campaign.
Takeaway: Back that thing up.

Myth #5: I don’t care who staffs my event just as long as it’s staffed.

Fact: You are going to be talking to your staffing company A LOT. You’ll want an agency that will listen to your needs, be there for you, communicate with you, respond to your needs and wants, and most importantly, an agency that is proactive rather than reactive. Issues will arise, and they need to know how to handle those problems and how to make things right.
Takeaway: Your staffing partner is your friend. Make sure they treat you like one.

Myth #6: There is no way in hell they can pull this off.

Fact: Veteran staffing agencies have seen it all! No budget, no lead time, major oversights, and royal screw-ups. A good staffing partner will bend over backward for you to make sure your event is ready to rock.
Takeaway: Bring on the challenge.

Biggest Myth of All:  All event staffing agencies are the same

With all the fly-by-night event staffing agencies that pop up year after year, make sure you do your research. Look for those that have been around for a while, and those that have the capabilities and experience to meet your exact needs.

Founded in 2002, ATN is a pioneer and innovator in the experiential marketing staffing industry. ATN has provided top-notch event staffing, execution, and management services for brands and marketing agencies throughout the U.S. and Canada. If you have any questions about what we can do for you, we’re always here to chat. 

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