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Tips for a successful roadshow

Today, we’re going to talk about roadshows. Quite a peculiar type of event, not so much for the creative challenges it presents, but for its logistical and team management difficulties. And for that, we’ll be interviewing Antonio, our Client Service Manager from the corporate events department, and a true expert on the subject. Let’s see if we can get some tips from him for organizing a successful roadshow.

Hello, Antonio. To begin with, please, tell us a bit about your professional background.

I’ve been working in event, communication, and experiential agencies for 22 years already. I started from the ground up, working as an assembler and then as a supervisor of the assembly team. My role was to be out in the field, supervising the event setup and ensuring everything was managed properly.

And as I enjoyed what I was doing, I started to make efforts to grow in this direction. This is how I got promoted from junior coordinator to senior, then to account executive, to account director and eventually to my current position. Today, I’m supervising a part of the corporate segment here, at 4foreverything.

A roadshow is a rather unique type of event. Define it, please, for those who may not be familiar with this term?

Originally, the term “roadshow” referred to itinerant campaigns that used mobile units like English trucks, buses, and office vans, traveling across the country and organizing activations or promoting a product. Today, it refers to any event that is replicated under more or less the same circumstances in different locations. This replication can occur in mobile units, hotels, venues, football fields, and so on.

Certainly, promoting bank services in this manner is quite different from promoting a car brand or a soft drink…

Of course. Depending on what you’re promoting, you always have to consider two things. First, that in the chosen location, you can find the customers you’re interested in. And second, that the location is aligned with this specific product, somehow related to it, or makes sense in the context of what you intend to communicate. If it’s related to sports, then a sports facility. If it’s about banking, perhaps something a bit more impactful.

Tinder roadshow, organized by 4foreverything
Tinder roadshow, organized by 4foreverything

Since this is an itinerant campaign, the logistics and hiring of personnel are crucial, aren’t they?

Absolutely. In my opinion, the agency should always be present at the event because they have been communicating with the client since the very beginning of the project. They understand how it was conceived, managed, and its current status. Therefore, they need to supervise at each location the event is replicated exactly how it was agreed.

The rest of the team is hired and consists of two parts. The core team handles the spaces, receives training from the client about the product or service, and possesses all the knowledge to convey it to the consumers. For more mechanical tasks like event street promotion, local personnel can be hired to avoid travel, accommodation, and allowances.

I believe the majority of the team should be permanent. Why? So that they can refine their expertise with each new event. Besides, you can set performance goals for permanent staff. As for a local employee who works for just one day, there’s no such possibility.

Now that we’ve mentioned costs, roadshows do involve multiple venues, travel expenses, equipment wearing down, etc. In other words, costs can skyrocket unpredictably. In this regard, what tips would you offer for a successful roadshow?

If we’re conducting the roadshow in public spaces, the key is to always request the costs well in advance. Local administrations can be very slow. However, precisely because you’re planning so far ahead, the local council that grants you the authorization may not be aware that their public works department has a scheduled intervention in the square where you intended to hold your event. Upon arrival, you might find the square under construction from top to bottom, even though you’ve already paid the fee. In such cases, you can’t rely on the council to resolve your problem. You’ll have to find a private location and cover the expenses. Unfortunately, this can happen. But to make roadshows more profitable, I would recommend considering shopping mall chains and negotiating with their management company to secure locations nationwide. The same applies to hotels.

Antonio Muñoz, Client Service Manager at 4foreverything

But perhaps one of the most important tips I can offer for a successful roadshow is not to skimp on permanent staff. They are the heart of the event. In other words, hiring more rotating local staff at the expense of permanent staff can undermine the project’s success.

And one more thing, whenever we budget the production of something, it’s important to consider that it needs to be set up and dismantled as many times as there are stops in the roadshow. That’s why there should always be a contingency of approximately 20% of the cost to allow for a mid-roadshow stop for adjustments, touch-ups, or whatever is necessary.

Sustainability is a must in event organization. What are the main challenges in meeting sustainable criteria?

Basically, it’s all about the use of sustainable materials. When it comes to the movement of materials and people, logistics can work against sustainability efforts. Of course, you can try to minimize travel and overnight stays. But where you can truly contribute to sustainability is in production by using sustainable and recyclable materials. Additionally, aspects like catering with local products and using LED lighting can also play a significant role in promoting sustainability.

And finally, do you have any funny stories from your experiences that you remember with special affection?

Yes, I have one that I particularly like. When Movistar TV started sponsoring football, we did stunts with beach balls on numerous beaches across the country. We would fill the beach with beach balls in the early morning. Putting them everywhere, in litter bins, benches, walkways, railings… But we never managed to get a nice photo because as we were putting the balls, retirees, morning runners, and late-night drunkards would quickly appear and snatch away the material. And so, we never managed to take a picture with the beach full of balls!

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