Like the brands we represent, mobile tour agencies are not all the same. As you select your agency, be sure to ask some good questions. Here are some things, specific to mobile tour agencies, to think about:
- In-House Capabilities – What a mobile tour agencycan do in-house is very important. With the right direction, most creative and production (the development stages) can be outsourced without compromising integrity. Not to mention, subbing the production is generally more cost-efficient because of the overhead required to produce and build out vehicles and elements. A good Account Team, coupled with a client’s own internal resources should be able to lead a production vendor through the process as fluidly as if the work were done in-house.On the other hand, a pure experiential marketing agency should not outsource the tour activation, specifically the people and the logistics. An experienced in-house Account Team can efficiently take care of staffing, routing, vehicle management, venue procurement and reporting – with fairly minimal overhead costs. When the activation is more streamlined, fewer entities are involved and there is less chance for error. Not to mention, with so many moving parts on the road, a single omniscient team can make better decisions and solves problems more quickly.
- Partners – Despite what some might say, no one agency can do it all. There is always outsourcing involved. When it does come time to outsource, the right network of resources is important. As a client, it’s your right to ask about the resources your mobile tour agency uses. Don’t expect access to these third parties, but do your own research on them. After all, they will be touching your brand directly. A good agency is transparent about its partners. Having access to a great network of resources is a smart way to do business.
- OSHA/DOT Regulations – The penalties for not doing so are stiff, but OSHA and DOT regulations are simple to follow with the right training and dedication. Yet, when it comes time to respond to RFP’s, we are rarely asked about our familiarity and experience with these practices.Safety on mobile tours is not just important – it’s paramount.
When people representing your brand are behind the wheel, loading in and loading out, or engaging thousands of people, so much can go wrong. A good mobile tour agency knows the ins and outs of OSHA and DOT regulations as they pertain to everyone who touches your brand. This knowledge should be passed on in field staff training and continually shared throughout the duration of the tour.
- Cash Flow – You should know about cash flow and the agency’s policy. Unlike most other types of marketing, event marketing requires a lot of upfront out-of-pocket expenses because of hard costs for vehicles, element build-outs and pertinent utilitarian items. Like many industries, 50% payment up front is a common arrangement, and that shouldn’t surprise you. Beyond that, however, agencies will have different requirements. Some will require considerably more up front, or during development, in order to cover their out-of-pocket expenses. Some will have the cash flow to “front” those expenses. That said, if your company has a policy (or practice) of paying invoices on the back-end of a job, you will want to make sure your agency partner has the cash flow to support that.
- Culture Compatibility – No doubt culture compatibility is important with any agency partner you hire. when clients and agencies share similar cultures, the relationship and resulting synergies can be great for the entire program. Likewise, when they clash, it can make everyone feel uneasy.One of the best ways to determine culture compatibility is to ask the agency about Core Values and assess how influential they are on a daily basis. An agency with integrity lives its Core Values all the time.
There is no eharmony.com for matching clients and mobile tour agencies, but the information is out there if you do the right research and ask the right questions. Above all, decide what matters most to you and make sure you feel comfortable with the agency you choose. Good luck in your search!