I've asked Tracy Garrity, a colleague and an exceptional Meeting Producer, to write a series of 9 guest blogs on working with the best meeting production companies in the industry. When you have the best meeting production company working for you, it gives you the freedom to take care of other priorities. But how do you know that you have the best? Below is the first in an 9-Part Series.
- David Haneke
Finding the right production company is a critical first step in putting together a successful meeting. There are a lot of good production companies out there. How do you determine which one is right for you?
Begin with the end in mind. What will make the event successful in your mind, your boss’s mind and the minds of the attendees? Is there more than one audience? What do they need to learn, believe, feel and embrace
when they leave the experience? You want to find a production company that will get in the trenches and work with you to achieve those goals.Next, consider the journey. There are several things to think about. Are there purchasing guidelines that your vendors must meet? How involved would you like to be in the creative process? How much time do you have to devote to the National Sales Meeting (NSM)? Are you looking to collaborate or do you want to have limited involvement with creative direction? How much access do you want to have to the production team, or would you prefer to deal with one point of contact? Are you a savvy buyer, or do you need a little guidance? What type of financial reporting do you require, and how frequently do you want updates?
Every event production company does things a little differently. Ask the company for a list of the deliverable's that you can expect when working together. What are their processes, and how do they align with your needs? Schedules and well-defined budgets give the numbers integrity, and manage expectations. Creative updates keep everyone in the loop and aligned. Scheduled communication, detailed agendas and clear roles and responsibilities keep the project moving forward smoothly and on budget.
How important is pricing to you? Are you trying to do a lot with a small budget, or can you afford a few “punctuation points.” Where would you like to see your money spent – on scenic/environment, technical support, talent, speakers, food and beverage, media, awards, promotional items, training, product launches, PR, etc. A good producer will work with you to prioritize spending, and negotiate great deals with proven partners.
And finally, get to know your team. Do they listen? How experienced are they? How reachable will they be during production and on-site? How quickly can they turn things around? And most importantly, ask yourself, Do I sync with these people? Is their creative exciting? Do our discussions fuel ideas and enhance the elements? Do I have a good time talking to them? Is it possible to actually enjoy this process with this team?
Yes! You really can find the producer that’s right for you. It’s just a matter of asking the right questions and trusting your instincts. The right production partner can take you from a maze to amazing!
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Part 2: Are All Meeting Production Companies Created Equal?