5 pieces of advice for entrepreneurs in 2018, from a BTL agency

BTL advertising is becoming more and more complex, highly influenced by the rise and development of digital and mobile. Companies needs to be up-to-date with all the information out there and, at the same time, be ready to invest properly in this media. Carmen Zahiu (Rotaru), Managing Partner Tempo BTL, offers 5 important pieces of advice for entrepreneurs in 2018.

  1. Start with business needs, not with communication or event ideas

A big event for all your clients and partners, complete with a cool concept and ending with a party might feel like the right thing to do, especially if it’s that time of the year when everybody is doing it. But before rushing to get it organized, always ask yourself: what business need will this solve? Will it generate leads, or help drum up new business from existing clients? Do I have something noteworthy to present (new product or service), or do I just want to generate a networking opportunity? If so, what will I use it for? Each of those can be a valid reason to do an event or activation if you know exactly why you’re doing it, as opposed to ‘because we do it each year’ or ‘because our competition does something similar’.

  1. Measurable objectives linked to realistic budget

There’s a reason so many marketing articles stress the importance of stating clear, measurable objectives for your activities: because it’s really THAT important, and because so few actually do it. How many leads do you expect to get, if that’s your objective, and what cost per lead would be acceptable to you? That will help set a realistic budget, also. Or if it’s a consumer activation aiming to shift brand indicators – how much of a shift would make sense to you, and for how many people? Factor in media impressions, social media impact and so on. Putting a price tag on each of those will point you towards a realistic budget from a business perspective. But to make sure it’s also realistic from a BTL perspective, you need to…

  1. Consult with a specialized agency for both creative and implementation

There’s really no substitute for real-world experience. That’s why you should go to an agency that you respect and be open to their recommendations for both creative and implementation when it comes to BTL. They say everybody can be creative and maybe that’s true. But people who do this all day, every day of their professional lives develop an intuitive feel for what works and what doesn’t, and that’s what you pay for – not just deals with various contractors. And on the implementation side of things, an activity where you work with anything other than absolute professionals can easily become an expensive, disorganized, embarrassing failure.

  1. Align all stakeholders before briefing the agency

Different people and departments in an organization have different perspectives and priorities, and that’s normal. What’s very counterproductive, though, is not aligning all those different interests BEFORE briefing your events agency. When different departments weigh in on the project at different points after it started, the result is extra demands which strain already-optimized budgets and creative compromises that make no one happy.

  1. Always do a post-evaluation

Measurable objectives are pretty useless if you don’t measure your outcomes to see if you’ve met them or not. Always do a post-evaluation where you count the leads you collected and evaluate their quality, for example. Or you do a follow-up questionnaire to event participants and measure how their perception of your brand shifted. Also useful are after-action reports by both agency and client teams where they meet and review their collaboration and work process, what went well and what needs improving. The point here isn’t to find scapegoats if things didn’t go as expected, but to set benchmarks, test what works in the real world and do better next time.

Carmen Zahiu (Rotaru) made her debut in advertising at Tempo Advertising in 2004, as Junior Executive in the BTL department. In 2006 she become BTL Director Tempo Advertising, a position she hold until 2010. During this time she coordinated hundreds of projects for the agency’s clients, among which Danone, Orange, Petrom, Raiffeisen Bank, Mercedes-Benz Romania , Colgate Palmolive, Actavis, Realitatea TV,  Unilever, Kiwi Finance, New Kopel, Porsche Group. In 2010, she joined the MediaPro Studios team as Sales Director. There she launched the MediaPro’s BTL division named MediaPro Live Events, working for external clients such as  OMV Petrom, Mercedes-Benz Romania, ALD, but also for the group’s clients, ProTV and MediaPro Entertainment.

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