Get Current and Cash In with a Mobile App

Get Current and Cash In with a Mobile App

U.S. users are spending more time in mobile apps and less time in mobile browsers. According to data released this year by analytics firm Flurry, the average U.S. consumer is spending 5 hours a day on mobile devices, and apps play center stage at a ratio of 92% app to 8% browser. From marathons to music festivals, mobile apps are the not the future -  they are the present your attendees expect.  “If you don’t have a mobile app – you’re not keeping up.  Social media and mobile apps go hand in hand.  In order to stay in tune and stay connected with your audience – you need a mobile app in their hand to be relevant,” says social media manager Dana Greer of California Roots Inc. and the California Roots Music Festival. “Our app is a one stop shopping experience for our fans, providing wayfinding, scheduling, and socializing at their fingertips in a seamless and engaging interface.  Fun features like photo booth help keep them socially motivated and talking to their friends about the event, creating a win/win relationship for both our music lovers and our marketing efforts.” 

Putting your Money on Mobile: What’s the ROI?

  1. Better branding and advertising produces more sponsor dollars. “Our sponsor relationships are very important to us.  Anytime we are able to offer some additional exposure for them, it helps the sponsor and our organization,” explains Dee Stathis, COO and Director of Marketing & Operations for the Pittsburgh Three Rivers Marathon, Inc. (P3R).  “Our organization, P3r, is not well known to our runners.  We have 3 signature events and the app allows us to share our main brand (P3R) and highlight our 3 signature events in a clean and concise manner without having to create 3 separate apps. We are the organizers of the events, each of which has its own personality, and the app allows our participants to better understand that these are P3R events and to help us build our brand identity.”
  1. Better analytics keep your sponsors coming back. Hartford Marathon Foundation didn’t look for their sponsor, their sponsor looked for them.  According to Sarah Roberson, HMF strategic sales and marketing representative, analytics showed the 2016 version of the mobile app saw significant engagement from spectators and runners in the tracking and results features.  “One of our key sponsors of another HMF event saw that their employees, and other runners and spectators, were using this feature throughout the race day.  They later inquired about, then secured a 3-year sponsorship of this feature on the Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon mobile app.”


  1. Better wayfinding gets and keeps your attendees where you want them to be.  No one likes being lost, and mapping puts you and your attendees on track for a better event. “Maps are great for events and they really help to reduce the number of calls, emails and social media posts from participants trying to find out where things are located,” says Stathis.


  1. Better event information maximizes your event potential. Mobile apps provide both topical and up to date information, allowing last minute changes and announcements through the easy to use backend and push notifications.Greer explains, “During our event, connectivity is vital for reaching our fans, the app works great and we still have complete control over the information our users see. Our fan base is very engaged and expects timely and accurate information. Throughout the year from ticket sale announcements to surprise “pop up” performances during the festival, we use our push notifications to drive our fans to where we want them to be, apropos with our hashtag #itsamovement.” 


  1. Better attendee experience grows your audience.  Engage your audience with feature rich apps that provide scheduling, social media integrations and native capabilities. Include links to video, music, products and even incorporate purchasing to make your app relevant. “At the Hartford Marathon Foundation, we're doing everything we can to communicate with our runners and communities in the most convenient and thorough ways.  People want information at their fingertips. The app gives us the ability to streamline info for runners, communities and spectators,” explains Roberson.  In app surveys give organizers the information they need to improve their attendee’s experience.  According to Greer, “Our surveys have given us nothing but great feedback on our mobile app.”  Stathis likewise builds on experience and expertise to provide great race days for P3R participants, “Our partnership with AVAI Mobile has been key to building on the success of the 2016 mobile app with new, enhanced features for 2017 user experience.  Our AVAI Mobile project manager is also a major asset as she consistently provides beneficial product and category intelligence relevant to our mobile app needs and strategy.”


  1. Better company builds a better way to build and manage mobile apps.  Greer advises others shopping for a mobile provider to consider more than price when making their decision.  Customer service and the content management system (CMS) are vitally important to the long-term survival of your investment.  “Our three-year partnership with AVAI Mobile has been hugely successful for us,” according to Greer, “largely because of the responsiveness of AVAI and the very user- friendly system we manage our app content through.” Devonie Nicholas, marketing & public relations director for the Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival, similarly speaks of having a partnership with your mobile app firm. “AVAI Mobile works closely with us to design a mobile app platform that fits the custom needs of our Festival.  Their proactive account management sets all parties involved up for success, helping to streamline the app building process and offering creative solutions to communicate information though the app.”

Mobile Makes Cents for Your Bottom Line

Factor in the revenue potential from a mobile app and you might be surprised at what you can afford. “Good business decisions are based on ROI, not cost.  Marketing your app, making it relevant for your audience, and providing a solid feature set deliver on that ROI.”  Rand Arnold, AVAI Mobile CEO and Founder.

For more information about mobile apps, and to discover a better way to build and manage a mobile app for your event, visit us at Avai Mobile is the Official Mobile App Provider for the FFEA Convention & Tradeshow.

   Article Written by Amy Arnold, Avai Mobile

     Amy Arnold, Business Development Manager at AVAI Mobile. The AVAI Mobile Platform (AMP) is a family of technologies  that enables brands to build and manage elegant, fully-featured mobile apps, without the typical costs or complexities.

  Amy can be reached at 512.593.1040 or by email.




Meet the Member: Marcato

Name: Natasha Hillier

Organization: Marcato

Title: Chief Operating Officer

Number of Years with your current company: 6

What does your company do? We provide web-based festival and event management software to help organizers collect and track details for artists, volunteers, vendors, media and contacts. You can do everything from contracting artists to scheduling shows to reporting, all with just a few clicks!

What makes your company stand out from your competition? Our team has years of experience helping festivals and events maximize their efficiency by providing industry-leading tools to help them do so. We have developed our tools with the help of some of the world’s top festivals (Bonnaroo, Coachella & Burning Man) and not just here in North America but all over the world (Eurosonic, Iceland Airwaves, Cologne On Pop).

First Paying Job: Cleaning my Dad’s Shoe Repair Shop

First Break into your business: Started working on the sales team at Marcato in 2011 and have been here ever since!

Best Advice you have ever received: Don’t eat yellow snow. (Maybe not as important for all you Floridians, but in Canada this is important advice! Haha)

Birthday: May 15th

Spouse / Children: Kyle - Husband            

Pets: 3 Dogs! 2 Australian Cattle Dogs (Ozzie and Rosie) and a Great Pyrenees (Nyla)

College/Education: Bachelor of Commerce (McGill University – Montreal)

Favorite Sports Team(s): Go Sports! haha

What is one of your favorite quotes? “Friends and good manners will carry you where money won’t go” – Margaret Walker


DID YOU KNOW?  Marcato offers an exclusive FFEA Member Discount? Contact Natasha for details!

Marcato is a web-based festival and event management software designed for events of all types and sizes. Collect and track details for artists, volunteers, media, vendors and contacts. Then, schedule artists, send contracts and report on important data with a few clicks. You can even populate your website and mobile app with information stored in Marcato! We offer multiple product levels making it easy to find something that fits your needs and budget. As a member of FFEA you are now eligible for a 20% discount off any package. To learn more or check out a demo connect with us by emailing [email protected] or click here. Be sure to mention you are an FFEA member!


Meet the Member: GoDanoShow

MEET THE MEMBER: Dan Israel, GoDanoShow

Number of Years with your current company: 4

What does your company do? Bring entertainment to any event.

What makes your company stand out from your competition?  The show is 100% self-contained, Motivational message, And creating a awesome atmosphere.

First Paying Job:Landscaping

First Break into your business:2013

Best Book You Have Read:Bible

Best Advice you have ever received: Whatever you do, do it for others.

Birthday: 9-23-1994

Spouse / Children: Married!

Pets: Fish

Favorite Sports Team(s): Dallas Cowboys

What is one of your favorite quotes? If you fail under pressure your strength is too small.

Why did you join FFEA / What is the best benefit of being an FFEA Member?  To connect and build with other organizations and to give family friendly wholesome entertainment. 

What is the single most important piece of advice you would give to someone in the event industry? Be selfless and humble, but get the job done.


Three Ways to Help You Go Viral on YouTube

Three ways to help you go viral on YouTube
by Kevin McNulty

Kevin will be presenting several sessions on Social Media including  "Social Media for Crisis Communications"  and "Facebook Advertising - Should you pay to play?" at the Florida Festivals & Events Association Convention & Tradeshow, August 9-12th at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando, FL. For more information, click here.

With over 6 billion hours of video watched each month, it’s safe to say YouTube is a force to be reckoned with. More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube monthly and over 100 hours of video are uploaded every minute.

Pause. Take a second to let that soak in.

100 HOURS of video are uploaded EVERY MINUTE.

Got it? Okay, moving on…

The types of videos uploaded include everything from talk shows to funny cat videos. Anyone with internet access and a camera can create a YouTube channel, so video concept and quality can range from that of a high production recording studio to a high school student’s iPhone… or worse in some cases.

Despite the mass number and types of videos uploaded each minute, there are still those few that happen to trend and rack up more than the typical number of views. These “viral” videos are shared over and over again via email, websites, and other social channels like Facebook and Twitter. The content of the viral videos include everything from professional music videos to silly dances, random pranks to inspiring speeches. With such a large range of viral video content to analyze, it’s difficult to determine how these videos went viral in the first place – but it’s the number one thing anyone with a video wants. In fact, it’s the number one question we receive from clients when presented with a video they want posted to their YouTube Channel.

So how can you make a video go viral? The very first step is having great content people want to watch and share. You can’t do anything else without that, no matter how much time or money you spend on it. Sorry, there’s no shortcut here.

While great content is a must, there’s still no foolproof way to mandate it go viral. If we knew the secret button to push, we wouldn’t be sitting here writing blogs. We would all quit our day jobs and become famous YouTube celebrities. However there are three concepts that may bring your video a little closer to viral nirvana:

1) Keep it joyful or humorous

According to a study conducted by the British Psychological Society, “videos eliciting positive emotion, including joy and humour, are most likely to be forwarded; videos eliciting feelings of alertness and attentiveness are the next most likely to be forwarded.” It makes sense… ultimately we want entertainment, and things that are entertaining make us feel better after watching them, not worse. Even though fear and negativity dominate news headlines (or maybe BECAUSE they do), positivity is what people seem to share the most. The same sentiment applies to the rest of social media too, by the way. Now that’s not to say some outrageous, salacious and alarming videos don’t go viral, but we’re talking the law of averages here.

2) Keep it brief

Viewers are most likely to drop off within the first 15 seconds of every video. It’s a hard truth of Internet life. Even social media rock star and bygone YouTube celebrity Gary Vaynerchuk admits that anyone who bailed on his Wine Library TV videos was most likely to do it in the first 12 seconds. Keeping this in mind, your video should set the hook fast. If nothing amazing happens until a minute into the video, don’t expect folks to hang around waiting for it. Your video should be long enough to get your point across, but short enough to keep a viewer’s attention. Living in a world of people who have the attention span of a squirrel makes this a little difficult, but remember, the audience makes it go viral, not you, so you have to give THEM what THEY want.

3) Have a plan

Don’t assume creating an awesome video and uploading it to YouTube will be enough. This isn’t Field of Dreams. Have a strategy to get it in front of as many people as possible the very first day it’s uploaded! Share to all your social sites, email it to your friends, submit it to relevant blogs, embed it on your website, feature it in your e-newsletter or send out an e-blast. It may be a little bit of leg work but if you have great content it’ll be worth it. Did we just say you have to work if you want to be a success? Yeah, sorry to be the one to break the news to you, but don’t shoot the messenger.

No one can guarantee any method to make your video go viral, but this threesome of tips can give you a fighting chance!

Salute to a Great Volunteer

Salute to a Great Volunteer
By Hardy Smith

Hardy will be presenting an expanded version of the topic "Recruiting, Retaining and Leading Volunteers" at the Florida Festivals & Events Association Convention & Tradeshow on Wednesday, August 10th from 10:45am - 12:00pm at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando, FL. For more information, click here. 

How appropriate “Heroes of Events” is the theme of FFEA’s 2016 Convention and Tradeshow.
Organizers know volunteers are often the heroes that make the difference in event success.
One of my great experiences as a young boy growing up in Talladega, Alabama, was to have the opportunity to be a part of Boy Scout Troop 39.  Scoutmaster "Uncle Ralph" Bynum was a wonderful, positive, and much needed influence in the lives of countless numbers of youngsters in that community for more than three decades.
As young teenagers my fellow scouts and I were more focused on what mischief we could get into during our campouts on Cheaha Mountain in the Talladega National Forest and while hiking the Odum Scout Trail than on paying attention to Uncle Ralph.  Never to be deterred, he and his assistant Tommy Huhn, diligently kept us on the right path.
His own sons had been scouts, but for the most part, he devoted 30 plus years of his vacation time to helping guide boys from other families. 
While now I can recognize and am certainly grateful for the impact he had in my life, I'm pretty sure that at the time not many of his scouts stopped to think about why Uncle Ralph gave the dedicated service that he did.
His wife Sibyl shared with me the secret of what motivated him.  "He felt that all boys who wanted to be a part of what scouting had to offer should have that opportunity.  He felt it was his personal mission," she said.  In other words, he had a personal passion for teaching scouting's life lessons.
Organizations struggle with finding and keeping volunteers like Uncle Ralph.  Here are two tips to help your organization succeed: 
First, make the effort to find people who feel a connection to your cause. 
Remember this critical fact in volunteering:  the connection between the volunteer and the cause is there for a reason.  This reason will be personal and unique to each individual. Identify both that reason and any personal need that is likely to be associated with it.
Second, make sure the need is being met. 
It can be the difference between having a short-term visitor who sees all the things that need to be done, and a long-term friend who stays and helps you do them.
Finding each volunteer's personal connection and meeting the related personal need will help your organization find and keep your "Uncle Ralphs."  
I look forward to sharing more tips for successfully working with volunteers during my Recruiting, Retaining, and Leading Volunteers session at FFEA 2016!
Hardy Smith is a speaker and consultant who works with associations and nonprofits who want to develop an ongoing culture of performance. Learn more about him by visiting his website Connect with Hardy on Twitter

7 Event Marketing Tips the Pros Know

7  Event Marketing Tips The Pros Know

by Amanda MacMaster

The date is scheduled and the venue is booked: now all you need is people to show up! Building buzz for your event is not a single activity: successful event marketing goes on months before and after your event, and often is year round! You can't always depend on the weather, but you can ALWAYS depend on your digital marketing efforts!

1. Promote Event Sponsors
Promote event sponsors on your website, all social media platforms and in your email marketing. This will provide data you can give to the event sponsors about how many people clicked through to their website, opened emails, engaged with social media posts, and 

  • tag your sponsors and partners in your social media posts
  • make sure sponsors are clearly identified at your event on your event promotion materials
    • sponsor logos should be prominently displayed
    • give your sponsors recognition in media interviews
    • thank sponsors publically and privately after your event is over and tell them how their support contributed to your event
  • use your sponsor's name, logo and link in all your digital and printed marketing materials

2. #BrandYourEvent
Create a unique event brand and use it for all your digital marketing efforts from posts to website to emails including

  • fonts
  • colors
  • logos
  • event theme
  • hashtags

3. Contests
Get people excited for your event with contests they can participate in weeks - or even months - before your event date! Create fun contests and let people win tickets to your event or special event swag.

  • Contests on social media should be shareable and eye-catching: create high-quality images and video
  • Know your social platforms and which ones are best for contests, images, sharing and building brand ambassadors

4. Be Consistent
If you run an annual event your social media should be active year-round to keep your audience engaged and involved in everything, even the planning. You will pump up the social media in the months leading up to the event and during the event, but be sure to post consistently all year round:it is much easier to maintain engagement than to try and rebuild it before the event.

  • Pre-Event
    Share promotional news about events, venues, tickets, sponsors, map, website, parking, media
  • During Event
    Keep your social media at 150% during your event by sharing fan photos, up to date event info, cancellations, parking, weather updates, bands and performance schedules, live streaming videos from the event, and live media shares throughout the event
  • Post-Event
    After your event is over share media coverage about the event, photos from your photographer, videos, fan photos, share attendees posts
  • Other times in the year
    Recycle: Keep your followers engaged and build anticipation for your event year round by sharing news of last year's event such as
    • #TBT photos of past events
    • survey your audience about event themes or swag items
    • share event planning photos of your team, ie the committee is back together and excited for 2017
    • post event news as it happens, i.e securing sponsors, getting new partners, booking bands or artists
    • share interesting articles about things related to your event
      tip: for Art Deco Weekend in Miami, MacManda Media promotes #FlapperFriday and #MiMoMonday to promote the 1920s and architecture in Miami

5. eBlasts
Build an email list of your loyal attendees and send them updates on your event

  • use catchy subject lines and images to attract their attention
  • give them things, like discounted tickets or early bird ticket sales exclusively for them
  • keep them updated on everything going on with your event, and let them be the first to know about important things like scheduling, ticket sales, etc. Make them feel a part of the event!
  • create special events just for your

6. Sharing is Caring
Encourage your event partners, sponsors and vendors to promote the event to their clients, employees and followers. Make sure they feel like event partners and understand that if your event is successful, they are successful too.

  • give them ideas of how to promote your event on social media
    • sample tweets and FB posts
    • unique hashtags for your event or for their sponsorship of your event
    • links to the event website
    • images to share on social media and their company website or newsletter

7. Go LIVE on Video
During your event grab your phone and broadcast live on Periscope, SnapChat, FaceBook Live or Blab: post and stream live announcements, behind-the-scene tours, attendee interviews, performances, food vendors and videos of the event to your audience. You're not just marketing to your attendees: your marketing to fans and future attendees!
tip: Be sure the save the videos to create YouTube videos or to promote the event in the future.

A lot of time and energy goes into planning and marketing your event. You want to do everything you can to make sure your audience knows about your event, is excited about it and comes out to support it! Event marketing doesn't just happen: you need to create a plan and then put your ideas into action!

PR and marketing pro Amanda MacMaster is addicted to all things digital, coffee and her little family including her husband (Scott) and her 5 rescue pets (JP, Tammy, Sadie, Coal & Bella). Luckily for small businesses everywhere, Amanda turned her passion for technology, creativity and design skills into a career as PR and marketing professional. A Boston native, Amanda relocated to South Florida where she honed her PR and marketing skills for businesses and organizations. Prior to launching MMM, Amanda's resume includes: • Marketing and Sales for D.R.E.A.M. Real Estate and Marriott International • Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Miami Design Preservation League • President, Board of Directors Greater Miami Festival and Events Association Amanda, her husband and their dogs enjoy the Florida lifestyle.

12 Steps to Sponsorship Success

Sylvia Allen

Sylvia will be presenting an expanded version of the topic "12 Steps to Sponsorship Success" at the Florida Festivals & Events Association Convention & Tradeshow on Wednesday, August 10th from 1:30pm - 2:45pm at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando, FL. For more information, click here.

Selling sponsorships is not a matter of buying a mailing list of potential buyers, writing a direct mail letter, putting together a “package”, mailing everything out and waiting for the telephone to ring with people offering you money.  It’s a nice dream but the reality is much more complicated (and time consuming) than that.

Before getting started you should have a definition of sponsorship.  The following definition is by no means perfect; however, there are some choice words that help you purse your sponsorship sales with a good foundation.      

Sponsorship is an investment, in cash or in kind, in return for access to exploitable business potential associated with an event or highly publicized entity.

         The key words in this definition are “investment”, “access to”, and “exploitable”.  First, investment.  By constantly looking at sponsorship as an investment opportunity, where there is a viable payback, no longer are you talking to someone about a payment of cash or money.  Rather, use the word investment which automatically implies that value will be returned to the investor.  Second, access to which means they ability to be associated with a particular offering (trade show, seminars, networking meetings, association get-togethers, etc.).  Lastly, exploitable, a positive word which means “to take the greatest advantage of” the relationship.  In other words, allowing the sponsor to make the greatest use of their investment and capitalize on their relationship.

         Don’t underestimate the value of your association’s opportunities.  Your read so much about the multi-million dollar deals you forget that there are many more small deals … $500, $2,500, $5,000.  These can be as simple as banners at a trade show to title sponsorship of your annual conference.  Once you have gone through the 12 steps you will have a better understanding of how to put together sponsorship offerings, what words to use, and how to not only price but evaluate, on a post-event basis, what you provided to the sponsor.

         If you take these basic 12 steps you will be assured of greater success in your sponsorship endeavors. 

Step 1 … Take inventory

         What are you selling?  You have a number of elements in your event that have value to the sponsor.  The include, but are not restricted to, the following:

  • Radio, TV and print partners
  • Collateral material … posters, flyers, brochures
  • Tickets:  quantity for giving to sponsor plus ticket backs for redemption
  • Association mailing list
  • VIP seating
  • VIP parking
  • Hospitality
  • On-site banner exposure
  • Booth
  • Audio announcements
  • Product sales/product displays
  • Celebrity appearances/interviews
  • Internet exposure


         And, you can think of more.  Look at your association activities as a store and take inventory of the many things that will have value to your sponsors, whether it be for the marketing value or hospitality value.  Take your time in making up this list … time spent at the beginning will be rewarded by more effective sponsorships when you get into the selling process.

Step 2 …Develop your media partners

         Next, approach your media partners. They should be treated the same way as all other sponsors, with the same rights and benefits.  You want to negotiate for air time, with radio and television, and for print coverage with newspapers and magazines.  (You can always try for money but be happy to settle just for barter … you really need this inventory to be competitive with other people seeking sponsorship money from the same sponsors you will be approaching.) This inventory of media can then be included in your total sponsorship offerings to prospective sponsors. 

In fact, after taking your inventory steps 2 and 3 are done almost simultaneously as you must have something to give to your potential media partners that describes the sponsorship.  Briefly, here’s what is important to your media partners.

Your association activity offers the media an opportunity to increase their non traditional revenue (NTR).  You have an audience, sampling opportunities, sales opportunities and multiple media exposure that the media people can offer to their own advertisers.  Many times an advertiser asks for additional merchandising opportunities from the media.  Your event offers them that opportunity.  You can let them sell a sponsorship for you in return for the air time or print coverage.  Just make sure it is always coordinated through you so they are not approaching your sponsors and you are not approaching their advertisers.  From radio and TV you want air time that can then be included in your sponsorship offerings.  From print you want ad space and/or an advertorial (a special section).  In both instances you are getting valuable media to include in your sponsorship offerings to your potential sponsors.

Treat your media just like your other sponsors.  Give them the attendant benefits that go with the value of their sponsorship.  When the event is over, they should provide you with proof of performance (radio and TV an affidavit of performance; print should give you tear sheets) and, conversely, you should provide them with a post event report

Step 3 … Develop your sponsorship offerings

         Now you can put together the various components of your sponsorship offerings so you are prepared to offer valuable sponsorships.  Try to avoid too many levels and too “cutesy” headings.  Don’t use gold, silver and bronze.  Don’t use industry-specific terms your buyer might not understand.  (If the buyer doesn’t understand the words they probably won’t take a look at the offering!).  Simply, you can have title, presenting, associate, or product specific categories.  They are easy to understand and easy to sell.  Of course, title is the most expensive and most effective.  The minute the name of your association activity is “married” to the sponsor’s name the media have to give the whole title.  Great exposure for your title sponsor. 

         The first step in preparing for your initial sponsor contact is to prepare a one page fact sheet that lists the various opportunities available for marketing as well as date, time, and location of your activity.

Step 4 … Research your sponsors

         Learn about your potential sponsors.  Get on the Internet, read the annual reports, do a data search on the company, use the various sourcebooks available to you  … find out what the companies are currently sponsoring, what their branding strategies are, what their business objectives are.  Become an expert on your prospects … the more you know abut them the better prepared you will be for their questions and the easier it will be for you to craft a sponsorship offering that meets their specific needs.

         Be prepared to discuss the sponsor’s individual marketing strategies with them when making the sales call.  KNOW YOUR SPONSOR’S BUSINESS BETTER THAN THEY DO THEMSELVES!  You will have to answer questions quickly and intelligently during the sales process … know everything about their brands, their sales goals, their sponsorship strategies.

         Know and understand that there are different departments, with different budgets, that can spend money on sponsorships.  These departments include, but are not restricted to, advertising, marketing, public relations, product management, brand managers, human relations directors, multi-cultural marketing managers, office of the President and even a sponsorship director!  Look for different opportunities within the same company.

Step 5 … Do initial sponsor contact

         Then, pick up the telephone. When you reach the correct person, don’t launch right into a sales pitch.  Rather, ask them several questions about their business that will indicate to you whether or not they are a viable sponsor for you project.  Questions could be “Based on what I have read on your company, it appears ____________________________ (fill in the blank with your knowledge.)  Is that true?  Are you interested in maintaining/increasing your profitability?  Are you interested in creating a better environment for your employees (or attracting new employees, or rewarding current employees)?   Make sure you ask questions that can be answered with yes.

         Also, make sure you are talking with the decision maker.  How do you know if they are the decision maker?  During the questioning process, ask “Is there anyone else you want involved in this discussion?”  That way they can give you another name without being intimidated that they are not the final decision maker.

One of the questions is always “How do I get past the gatekeeper?”  If you can’t get through the gatekeeper, make the gatekeeper your friend and ally.  Explain the program, explain the benefits of participation and get him/her to make the appointment for you

         Another concern?  How to get through voice mail.  Don’t leave long, boring messages.  Never leave more than three messages.  Dial around … try to get a real person … talk to the operator … have the person paged … get their e-mail address and send a note … call early in the morning … late in the day.  In other words?  Be creative!

Step 6 … Go for the appointment

         Once you have had a brief discussion, try to get the appointment.  If they say, “Send me a ‘package’” respond with “I’ll do even better than that.  I’ve prepared a succinct one page Fact Sheet that highlights the various marketing and promotion components of my event.  May I fax or e-mail it to you?”.  Then, ask for the fax number and e-mail address, send it to them right away and then call back shortly to make sure they received it.  If they have received it go for the appointment.  Explain that the fact sheet is merely a one-dimensional outline that cannot begin to describe the total event and you would like to meet with them, at their convenience, to show them pictures, previous press coverage, a video … whatever you have.  Follow the basic sales techniques of choices  .. Monday or Friday, morning of afternoon.  Don’t give them a chance to say they can’t see you.

         If it is a company that is too far for you to meet with face-to-face, make an appointment for a telephone interview.  Have them write that appointment in their book, just as if it were an in-person conversation.  Send them a package of information that they can have in front of them when you are speaking with them so they can follow along with your discussion and presentation.

Step 7 … Be creative

         Once in front of the sponsor, be prepared.  Demonstrate your knowledge of their business by offering a sponsorship that meets their specific needs.  Help them come up with a new and unique way to enhance their sponsorship beyond the event.  For example, if it’s a bank, how can they benefit from association with your event.  What kind of promotion could you design for them?  Or, devise a contest where people have to fill out an entry form to win something.  Think about hospitality opportunities … rewards for leading salespeople, special customer rewards, incentives for the trade.  Be prepared to offer these ideas, and more, to help the sponsor understand how this sponsorship offers him/her great benefit.

In many instances, it is up to you to lead the discussion.  Often a potential sponsor will turn to you and say “I don’t know how to make this work.”  This is where your knowledge and research will prove invaluable since you will have given thought, beforehand, to how they can maximize their participation in your event.

Step 8 … Make the sale

         The moment of truth … you have to ask for the sale.  You can’t wait for the sponsor to offer; rather you have to ask “Will we be working together on this project?” or something like that.  You will have to develop your own closing questions.  Hopefully, as you went through the sales process, you determined their needs and developed a program to meet those needs.  And, you certainly should have done enough questioning to determine what their level of participation would be.  Keep in mind that different personality styles buy differently which means you must select from a variety of closing techniques to ensure the right “fit” with the different personalities. 

         As with any sale, once you have concluded the sale, follow up with a detailed contract that outlines each party’s obligations.  A handshake is nice but if the various elements aren’t spelled out there can be a bad case of “but you said” when people sometimes hear what they want to hear, not necessarily what was spoken. Make sure you include a payment schedule that ensures you receive all your money before your event.  If not, you could suffer from the “call girl principle”.  The only exception to this rule?  If you are working with a Fortune 500 company they will want to hold back 10% until after the event as insurance against not getting full delivery.  It’s a normal practice and, if you’ve done your job, nothing to worry about.

Step 9 … Keep the sponsor in the loop

         Once you have gone through the sales process you will want to keep your sponsor involved up to, and through, your event.  See if their public relations department will put out a press release on their involvement.  If they do, make sure you have approval rights before it is sent you.  (You want to make sure that your event is being presented in the proper light, just as you want to assure your sponsors, with your releases that their marketing message is being presented properly.)  Show them collateral as it is being developed – posters, flyers, invitations, etc. – to make sure they are happy with their logo placement.  (With fax and e-mail this is now a very simple process.)  Make sure they are kept up-to-date on new sponsors, new activities … whatever is happening.  Discuss their marketing needs with them … make sure the contest or other activity they are doing is being followed through on.  The more you involve them in the process the more involved (and committed) they become.

Step 10 … Involve the sponsor in the event

         Involve your sponsor in the event.  Don’t let a sponsor hand you a check and say “Let me know what happens”.  You are doomed to failure.  Get them to participate by being on site … walk around with them … discuss their various banner locations, the traffic at their booth, the attendance at the luncheon they sponsored, whatever is appropriate to their participation.   Take time to participate in the various hospitality offerings with them.  Introduce them to other sponsors … talk to their representatives.  Do everything possible to ensure positive participation and, of course, reinforce this participation as a prelude to renewal!

Step 11 … Provide sponsors with a post-event report

         There’s a very old saying regarding presentations:  “Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them.”  The post-event report is the last segment of this saying.  Provide your sponsors with complete documentation of their participation.  This should include copies of all collateral material, affidavit of performance from your radio and TV partners, tear sheets, tickets, banners, press stories… whatever has their company name and/or logo prominently mentioned or displayed.  This should all be included in a kit, with a written post-event report that lists the valuation of the various components, and presented to the sponsor with a certificate of appreciation for their participation.  Use a formula that encompasses Cost Per Thousand (CPM) because that is language your sponsors understand from their media buys.  If you have done your pricing properly, you can use those same figures in your post-event report.  Be consistent and be honest.  If you are doing it the right way, you will deliver at three three times their investment, just in marketing value.  And, a 3:1 ROI is great … certainly assurance of renewal!

Step 12 … Renew for next year

         Now, if you’ve followed these 12 steps carefully, renewal is easy.  In fact, you can get your sponsor to give you a verbal renewal during your event (if it is going well) and certainly after you have provided that sponsor with a post-event report that documents the value of all the marketing components he/she received.  You should try for a three to one return on their investment.  In many instances it will be even more than that if you have delivered as promised!


         Selling isn’t easy; however, if you follow these 12 steps it will be easier because you will have done your homework and will be prepared to discuss the sponsorship intelligently.  These 12 steps make selling fun!


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Speaker Feature - Thomas Dougherty

Speaker Feature -

Thomas Dougherty, CPRW, FCWP

Casper (The Friendly?) Ghost

Are you Casper the Friendly? Ghost……..

In my previous article “The Importance of Being Specific…..” we spoke about how to go about “Linking” those you did not know and how to do it properly. Today we’ll talk about your own profile and what steps you COULD take to help you “get noticed” during your career, whichever level you may be.

Whether it’s excelling at a “C” Level position or just getting started right out of college – here are a few things to help you along the way. We’ve all seen those GREAT profiles, full of content with endorsements & recommendations (yes there is a difference between the two). The profiles have great information – WHO they worked with – WHAT they have accomplished in their career and HOW they got where they are today. All with supporting documentation, references & recommendations – this is fantastic! But then we get to the opposite end of the spectrum (today’s lesson) the “GHOST” Profile, with limited information, no documentation, references, recommendations or the best one – NO PICTURE!! WHO ARE YOU?? Should/would we WANT to connect to you, much less a recruiter who is looking for the next “right” candidate? Here are some thoughts:


1. Profile Picture. When you are developing your professional LinkedIn profile you need to have a NICE profile picture. NOT one of you behind your steering wheel, a “selfie” taken in front the bathroom mirror and one where you cut your spouses arm off because it was taken at a wedding or celebration (we’ve seen all of those and YES I hear you laughing too).

A recruiter looks at the picture to see who you are and the relevant content that supports your career. They are not going to hire “Casper The Friendly Ghost” – I’ll (almost) guarantee it! The best way I’ve discovered the picture approach is to stand against a wall that will not “blend in” to your skin tone. Have someone take 9 pictures total, from the shoulders up – 3 with your left shoulder touching the wall, 3 with your right and 3 looking straight ahead – all of them done while looking up and into the camera – and LAUGH!! The best pictures I’ve seen are those taken when the person did not seem ready. This works and does not cost a fortune (Try it), verses going out and getting a professional head shot taken (you can do that too – IF you want to spend the money). Then show those pictures to friend you trust to see which one they like best and you’ll probably agree on one.


2. Endorsements & Recommendations Yes there is a difference between the two.

The Endorsements are the easy ones. They are the “like” button – just as it is with Facebook. Easy to do – you “LIKE” the fact that someone did something (you LIKE my articles – hint hint). Just hit the “like” button and you’re done, nothing further. BUT now comes the more difficult item, the Recommendation. How relevant is it that you have those? VERY!!

A recommendation is a key to survival in your career. Sure, you can post PDF reference letters but to have a connection speak highly of you for something you accomplished is a powerful tool. A good rule is to have (at least) 5-10% of your connections recommend you (so if you have 400 connections you should have at least 20-40 recommendations) – either PDF or actual written into you profile by others. AND DO THE SAME FOR THEM – PLEASE. When writing the recommendations, do it in Word first, to correct spelling and grammatical errors. Then copy/paste into the “LinkedIn Recommendation” box and send it out. Hopefully the person you’re doing it for will reciprocate and do the same for you. Because it works both ways to be nice, right?

3.Who are you connected to? Are there lots of “ghosts” with no picture, work history, recommendations or endorsements – then why connect? Ask them (be nice) to “up” their profile. LinkedIn will even tell you what you or they are missing each time you log in. If you are connected to “ghosts”, ask yourself “Are they relevant?” and “Do they have all of the above?” IF not – disconnect them. Recruiters do look at WHO you are connected to as well and if there are a lot of "Ghosts" they might question your own vitality and relevance of your profile.

The connection will probably never know that you un-linked them, due to themselves not working on a relevant LinkedIn profile. I’ll admit I have 4 “ghosts” that I’m connected to and those do have a full profile except no picture which I’ve asked them to please get one. One is a family member who keeps up with me here on LinkedIn so I won’t delete them….(I know the pot calling the kettle.....)

Hopefully this information is relevant and will be taken to heart. I do enjoy assisting those who need it and if you need a great speaker or team motivator please feel free to reach out to me and I’ll see you in August at the FFEA Convention where we’ll talk on “What Is Your Link-A-Bility” to help enhance and excel your career to the next level!


© 2016 Eclectic Trainings – Thomas Dougherty

The original article appears here:

Be sure to check out Thomas Dougherty’s speaker session, "What Is Your Link-A-Bility", at the 2016 FFEA Convention and Tradeshow, August 9-12 2016.

Meet the Member - Michael Eisman

Meet the Member

Michael Eisman, AAA Auto Club Group

Name: Michael Eisman

Organization: AAA Auto Club Group

Number of Years with your current company:  21

What does your company do? Membership, Travel, Insurance, Publication

What makes your company stand out from your competition?  Trust and Loyalty to the club – 91% renewal rate every year

First Paying Job: Paperboy

First Break into your business:  Florida Society of Association Executives in Orlando, FL

Best Book You Have Read: Stephen Kings, It

Best Advice you have ever received: Don’t Give Up

Birthday: September 12

Spouse / Children:  Yes, 2

Pets:  Yes, 1 Dog (mutt)

College/Education:  Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing/Sales          

Favorite Sports Team(s):  Tampa Bay Lightning

What is one of your favorite quotes?   “You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.”, Zig Ziglar

Why did you join FFEA / What is the best benefit of being an FFEA Member?  Networking opportunities

What is the single most important piece of advice you would give to someone in the event industry?  Get the word out!

Meet the Member - Samantha Johnson

Meet the Member

Samantha Johnson, Special Events Account Manager, Miami Dolphins


Number of Years with your current company:  

What does your company do?   The event sales side of our company markets the venue to third party event clients that are looking for spaces to host festivals, concerts, corporate events, social events, and a variety of others.  We manage these events from start to finish and work with our clients to create specialized event plans to ensure their success.

What makes your company stand out from your competition? Our spaces are unique and unlike any other in South Florida.  After phase 1 of our $400 million dollar renovation last year we added 5 new luxury spaces that serve as premium seating options on game days and can be rented out for private events on non-game days.  These new spaces have been designed by Rockwell group in New York and capture the class, luxury, and excitement of Miami.  While in these spaces the guests have the opportunity to host portions of their events outside next to the field or in the Locker Room which creates a unique and exciting atmosphere for the guests.  Our parking lots are also large, wide, and paved and cover over 2 million sq. ft..  They provide the perfect locations for festivals and outdoor concerts with ample parking and access to stadium resources such as equipment and event logistics expertise.

First Paying Job: I worked at a crab shack in Baltimore (my home town)!

First Break into your business:  We’ve had many successful years on and off the field but this is an especially exciting time for our football team that just celebrated their 50th season and the venue which is currently being renovated to be an iconic destination for global events. Phase 2 is currently in process which will add a state of the art canopy to shield guests from the rain and will have a hole in the middle to allow for a natural grass field as well as the addition of 4 new video boards!  While the building is shut down until the season, the outer parking lots consist of 1,500,000 million sq. ft. and are still available throughout the renovation.

Best Book You Have Read:  The Power of Habit

Best Advice you have ever received:  There’s no sleeping in the sports industry, it’s a 24/7 job and you have to have the passion to succeed

College/Education: University of Maryland.. Terps!

Favorite Sports Team(s):  Miami Dolphins (of course)

What is one of your favorite quotes?  Dogs live shorter lives because they already know how to love unconditionally (I’m an animal lover)

Why did you join FFEA / What is the best benefit of being an FFEA Member?  I joined to connect with event producers and managers of Iconic Florida festivals and events.  We are a great venue to host these types of events and we’d like to get out into the industry and explore the idea of bringing some of these great events to the Home of the Miami Dolphins.

What is the single most important piece of advice you would give to someone in the event industry? The best thing you can do to operate a successful event is to have a well thought out plan and execute the plan to the best of your ability.  There will always be bumps along the road but the key is to keep calm and have plans in place to be more proactive then reactive.

Meet the Member - Marty Harris

Meet the Member

Marty Harris, President, SEP Communications

Number of Years with your current company: 3

What does your company do? Printing and Promotional items… Ink on Anything!

What makes your company stand out from your competition? 95% of what we offer is produced is done in house!

First Paying Job: Newspaper delivery (had a family route for 25 years that started with my oldest brother and all 9 kids worked it at some point over the years)

First Break into your business: 1985

Best Book You Have Read: The Invention of Wings

Best Advice you have ever received: The CEO of any company has to be the #1 sales person. 

College/Education: BS in Marketing

Favorite Sports Team(s):  St Louis Cardinals

What is one of your favorite quotes? If only Closed minds came with closed mouths.

Why did you join FFEA / What is the best benefit of being an FFEA Member? Meeting great entrepreneurs and organizations who care about bringing culture and entertainment to Florida. 

What is the single most important piece of advice you would give to someone in the event industry? Give Back!

Speaker Feature : Cassie Roberts

Speaker Feature

Video Marketing For the Masses
Cassie Roberts


  The mere thought of a need to create a “video campaign” scares even the savviest of marketers. “Someone spare me if I had to be featured in a video!” or “I have no idea how to film videos nice enough for marketing campaigns!” they think. According to Vidyard, “The play button is the most compelling call to action on the web.” The video marketing pioneer just may be right—even I myself am more likely to click and watch a video than just read a bunch of text. Also, wouldn’t YOU want someone to hang out on your website for the duration of a full one- to two-minute video? 55% of visitors spend fewer than 15 seconds on your website. Think about what you can show someone in a video in two minutes versus what they could read in 15 seconds. The difference is staggering.

     Creating videos to promote your brand doesn’t have to be scary! 2015 has been said to be the “year of video marketing”, so you are right on trend if you start planning now. Think about all of your marketing goals for this year. Where can you incorporate video marketing? Planning is the first step to success. If you don’t actively plan to include videos when appropriate, it will always be a “tomorrow” project.. Incorporate video marketing in to your strategies you already have in place. Use a calendar, and set goal dates for your videos to launch.

     Also, make sure to incorporate videos in to your social media plan. Have you noticed lately on Facebook, how videos automatically play when you scroll by on the newsfeed? Make sure your first few seconds are super compelling since your customers are somewhat forced to watch that part as they are browsing. If the first few seconds of your video are interesting enough, people will stop scrolling long enough to watch the rest.

     Once you have posted videos to your social media, make sure to go back and post them on your website too. Your website is where you earn revenue—so make sure to place videos near buying opportunities. If you sell tickets to an event on your website, make sure someone can watch a video about that event, that’s really close in proximity to the buy button. If you are trying to get facility rentals, place videos of your facilities near the rental form. If you’re selling a destination, place videos near the bed and breakfast links or attraction tickets buttons. People who watch a video on your website are up to 12 times more likely to make a purchase or complete another call to action, such as signing up for your email list, so make it easy for your customers to make the transition from videos to dollars in your pocket!

     Finally, don’t get stuck on the length of your videos. If you end up with promo spots that only last 15-30 seconds, it’s totally fine! Remember, people have a really short attention span on the web, and if your videos are long, you may not actually get viewers to watch to the end. Think about Vine—an entire social media network (with 40 million users) comprised of videos that last a maximum of six seconds. 1.5 billion of these six-second videos are watched daily as of this January.

A video marketer doesn’t have to be a professional videographer. We all are almost always carrying a video camera—our smart phones! Think about small ways you can start incorporating video marketing in to your strategy, and watch your plans lead to “ACTION!”

Be sure to check out Cassie Robert's speaker session, "Online Resources to Improve Your Marketing & Your Life", at the 2015 FFEA Convention and Tradeshow, August 5-7th.

Exhibitor Feature: Production Power & Air

Exhbitor Feature
Production Power & Air


Production Power & Air was established with the mission of offering only the best in temporary power and climate control services in the industry. They quickly became the leader in the special event industry and the company followed by many others trying to match their excellence and service for temporary power and climate control solutions.

They are committed to offering 100% customer service, quality, and competitive pricing for all your temporary power and climate control rental needs. The inventory at Production Power & Air is meticulously maintained both aesthetically and mechanically with regularly scheduled maintenance from their trained and certified staff of technicians.

When you choose this company for your event, you have chosen a reliable partner to handle all your power and climate control requirements. They understand that in the festival and event business, failure is not an option and there are no second chances or tomorrow. They consistently work on prestigious and complex events such as Ultra Music Festival (one of the largest EDM music festivals in the world) and the SOBE Wine and Food Festival (one of the largest high end, multi-faceted wine, food and entertainment festivals in Miami) to name a few.

Visit Production Power & Air at Booth #418 at the FFEA Convention and Tradeshow on August 5-7th.

Exhibitor Feature: Performance Staging

Performance Staging


Performance Staging is celebrating their 30th Year in business as one of the leading staging companies in building events. They offer a diverse inventory of staging, seating, bleachers, platforms, ADA ramps, crowd control as well as mobile stages, pool covers, and more available throughout Florida from our warehouse in Lakeland. The 30 years of experience found in the dedicated staff, and a helpful attitude will meet your needs whether we’re your vendor or not.

Some of the events they are currently working with include : Disney Star Wars Star Tours and Frozen long-term stages, multiple events at the Central Florida Fairgrounds, Fantasy of Flight, and Miami’s Sun Life Stadium. Spring Weekend in Panama City Beach, Florida. Independence Music Festival in Orlando, Florida. 

Be sure to visit Performance Staging at Booth #311 at the FFEA Convention and Tradshow, August 5-7th.


Speaker Feature : Hardy Smith

Speaker Feature

Making Planning Pain Free and Productive
Hardy Smith


Planning is a critical component to building event and organizational success.  Yet despite knowing the benefits of good planning, many association and nonprofit leaders avoid essential planning exercises.  They do so mainly because previous planning activity has either proven to be a negative experience or has produced plans that aren’t used – or both.

At FFEA’s Annual Conference Hardy Smith will show event organizers how to develop a planning process that is both pain free and productive. These specific takeaways will be shared:

  • How to avoid planning process mistakes.
  • How to create participation engagement from your planning team.
  • How to develop a successful and stress free planning activity.
  • How produce an implementable plan.

About Hardy Smith:

Hardy Smith is a consultant and speaker who maximizes performance of nonprofits, associations and their essential leadership teams.

Whether guiding a strategic planning process or facilitating a critical thinking session, Hardy has a recognized ability for helping develop organizational focus.

As an authority on performance issues confronting nonprofits and associations, his insights for improving organizational performance have been featured in leading publications—such as BoardSource, GuideStar, Nonprofit Business Advisor, Nonprofit World, and FSAE Source Magazine.

Hardy’s results-oriented approach is based on a career of more than 30 years in the high performance world of NASCAR racing.  That experience included strategic planning for development and growth of some of the country’s largest sports and entertainment facilities and spectator events. 

He is a member of National Speakers Association, Association of Fundraising Professionals, BoardSource, FSAE, and ASAE.

Learn more about Hardy by visiting his website:

Follow Hardy on Twitter: @hardysmith1

Speaker Feature : John Owens

Speaker Feature

The New truth about Sponsorships & Sponsorship Programs

John Owens


There was a time when the word sponsor and philanthropic giving were almost synonymous.  You ran an event and went out prior asking local businesses to give some money to help you run your event.  The only expectations were how much can we get (from the event side) to getting some free tickets,  a sign or two and some recognition in any of the pre event advertising for the event.

Although the times have changed dramatically over the past twenty years the approach and implementation of Partnerships (Sponsorships) for events is having a difficult time making that transition from asking for donations to actually targeting, selling and following up with businesses. Today’s business partnership environment is expecting a return on that investment made in your event.

The first thing to remember is:

There is NO MAGIC answer as to how to get a Partner (Sponsor).  I think the best way to approach that subject starts with defining your event.  The better you define your event and know the demographics, you will discover that information now dictates which businesses are a great fit for your event.

The Second thing to remember is:

The Sponsor IS your Partner and thus dictates the relationship building that has to happen for the building of a successful outcome for all involved parties.  It has to be a WIN – WIN – WIN scenario.  Your guests (event attendees), Your Partners (Sponsors) and Your Event all have to take away sense of satisfaction with the overall experience. This process of Building and maintaining this relationship is a full time engagement.

The Third thing to remember is:

First and lasting impressions should be our goal with our Partners.  They HAVE to be our number one priority as we over deliver what they expect.  There are many ways to achieve this which are simple yet take some time, energy and planning, yet are relationship building skills that will pay off for years.

The Fourth thing to remember is:

Never undervalue your event, festival or Fair.  One of the biggest mistakes being made today is pricing your sponsorships (Partnerships) too low. If you believe your event is too small, too young (first or second year) or whatever other negative you put on your mind to not chase good solid Partners then you have to believe that by defining your event you may find that although your event does not have a huge attendance it does attract a particular demographic that certain businesses are also trying to reach.  I have never been one to blame a bad economy, competing events or anything else except maybe weather for having a bad event with a lack of turn out and Sponsors.  It all has to do with the right mindset and overall concern for your potential and current Partners.
The Fifth Thing to remember is:

There are many ways to develop Partnerships (Sponsorships) that get you much more money than you would ever think would come to your event.  Follow up, Coop, Grants, foundations, etc. It takes work and a commitment to your event and your partners to grow an event to a size far above your current expectations.  “What your mind believes is what comes to you”

We will be showing you how easily you can be a Partnership (Sponsorship) superstar at the Florida Festivals and Events Convention August 5-7.  We hope to see you there.  Together we can unmask some of the secrets of a successful Sponsorship Program.

Secrets to a Successful Sponsorship Program, John Owens, General Manager of the Volusia County Fair& Expo Center

Exhibitor Feature: Saffire

Exhibitor Feature




Saffire started building websites in 1998 and partnered with their first event in 2010Saffire is an online marketing & ticketing company for events, venues & destinations

Saffire is not your normal “web guy down the street.”  They're all about education and fun, providing webinars, convention sessions, their famous “Wheel o’ Crap,” Saffire tattoos and Saffire Queso, all while setting the industry standard for award-winning websites you can manage yourself.

The events that Saffire has worked with include Florida State Fair, South Florida Fair, My River District and almost 200 other Events, Venues and Destinations across the country.

Make sure to stop by Booth #20 and visit Saffire at the 2015 FFEA Convention & Tradeshow



Speaker Feature : Kimberlee Riley

Speaker Feature

Reaching New Audiences Through Partnerships
Kimberlee Riley

The number of partnerships continues to rise as organizations try to maintain a competitive advantage.  Partnerships allow organizations to share resources and leverage strengths to achieve greater results.  Successful partnerships allow organizations to reach new markets, provide innovative products or programs, and serve more customers. 

The potential for greater return through partnership does not come without effort or risk.  Partnerships can fail due to insufficient leadership, inadequate communication, inability to overcome differences, and a lack of shared vision.  To reduce the risk of failure an organization needs to understand what drives them to partner and how to select their partner and establish the rules of engagement.

Once a partner is selected the partnership begins.  Henry Ford said, “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.”   Partnerships are formed among organizations but success happens because of the individuals involved.  Business partnerships are in several ways similar to personal relationships.  They require trust and depend upon mutual respect and accountability.  Not only success but longevity is the result of collaboration toward a shared vision and ongoing assessments. 

If you are at the beginning phase and considering who to partner with there are several characteristics to consider.  You may look for an organization who is serving a similar customer or a customer base which is different from your own.  Additionally, you want to look for an organization that provides a complimentary but distinct product or service than what you provide.  Once you think you have a potential partner you will want to do your research and understand their organizational values and culture to ensure that they mirror your own.   

If you are further along in the partnership life cycle but not yet achieving the success you envisioned communication and evaluation strategies can get you back on track toward reaching your goals.  Resources and staff skills can be adjusted from a business development to a relationship management focus to match the needs of a maturing partnership.

Regardless of where you are with partnering, join me to explore the benefits of partnership for your organization.  Bring your initial thoughts on potential partners or your challenges with current partners and we will review the partnership paradigm, the degrees of a partnership, characteristics of a good partner, how to assess a partnership and more.

Exhibitor Feature: AAA Flag & Banner

Exhibitor Feature
AAA Flag & Banner


AAA Flag & Banner has been printing floor graphics, car wraps, tradeshow displays, building banners, window displays, billboards, and pop up displays for 43 years. They provide nationwide installation of directional signage, pennant, hanging and display hardware. In addition, AAA Flag & Banner designs, prints and installs stadium graphics, wall covering, fabric backdrops and pole banners.

AAA Flag & Banner are a G7 certified printer  and they have 3M warranty on their material. AAA Flag and Banner is full service company,  they work with you from inception to completion of a project/event including assisting you with design, production, installation and  permits if needed. They love working on a challenge, making it a success story and providing clients with the results they are looking for.

An Exciting and Memorable Event that AAA Flag & Banner worked on this year was The Miami Beach Centennial. They kicked off the Centennial Celebration with a light pole banner campaign of over 150 banners that they printed and then strategically installed across the City of Miami Beach.  AAA Flag and Banner  then worked in conjunction with ACT Production on the Miami Beach Centennial Celebration , March 22-26, 2015.  AAA FLAG and Banner printed signage and décor for the 100 hour celebration that included : mesh tower and stage wraps,  blade flags, step and repeat backdrops, decals for trailers, menu boards, happy birthday panels for suites, tent gables, tennis net panels, A frames for the event, identification and directional signage for the various events, banners for the truss, and  the Hard Rock VIP tent area was customized with printed signage as well as a 6 x 20 mesh banners to decorate the fence line. AAA Flag and Banner not only printed all the items,  They installed them during the entire 100 hour celebration. AAA Flag and Banner had a crew on site that was in continual motion changing out signs and décor as needed. It was a memorable and amazing event  for the City of Miami Beach, its residents and visitors.

You can see AAA Flag and Banner during the FFEA Convention & Tradeshow at booth #54

Speaker Feature : Victor Benavides

Speaker Feature

Developing An Emergency Preparedness Plan for Your Outdoor Event
Victor Benavides


     Since joining the Department of Homeland Security’s Commercial Facilities Sector- Specific Agency (CF-SSA) in July 2011, Victor Benavides has had the opportunity to travel across the country and speak to owners and operators in the Outdoor Events industry regarding safety, security and emergency preparedness topics. Large outdoor public gatherings encompass many disparate events and activities. The Outdoor Events Subsector almost without exception conforms to the mass gathering, open access, high media exposure, soft target model that is vulnerable to natural or manmade disasters.  They include, but are not limited to, parades, fairs, festivals, rallies, flea markets, demonstrations, concerts, and celebrations. Unlike limited-duration events at fixed facilities, large outdoor public gatherings neither require nor rely on a permanent allocation of dedicated safety and security resources. Rather, they usually rely on local law enforcement to provide a safe and secure environment during an event. Furthermore, these events normally do not take place in a confined location. Thus, almost all aspects of security must be uniquely planned and formulated for each individual gathering.

     Events such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, Hurricanes Katrina 2005 and Sandy in 2012, and the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 illustrate evolving threats and hazards that could impact outdoor events. We must constantly learn from them and adapt. The terrorist threat is increasingly decentralized and may be harder to detect. Cyber threats are growing and pose an ever-greater concern to our critical infrastructure systems as they become increasingly interdependent. The dynamic evolution of UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) or drones is a current hot topic raising many concerns about safety, security, and privacy while respecting the rights of others who support the potential commercial uses of the technology. Natural hazards are becoming more costly to address, with increasingly variable consequences due in part to drivers such as climate change and interdependent and aging infrastructure. The challenge is a daunting one for all in the Outdoor Events industry, however, the collaboration between local organizers, owners and operators, municipalities, state entities and the Federal government is powerful in supporting the safety, security and resilience efforts in an all-hazards environment.

Please join Victor Benavides during his session, “Developing An Emergency Preparedness Plan for Your Outdoor Event” at the FFEA Convention & Tradeshow, August 5-7th at the Hyatt Grand Cypress Orlando, FL. During the session you will learn how DHS components and Commercial Facilities Sector partners collaborate to develop, evaluate, validate, or modify sector- specific risk assessment tools; including facilitating information sharing and building partnerships; and identifying and promoting effective sector-specific protection practices and methodologies.  

The Department of Homeland Security offers free comprehensive tools and resources to owners and operators in the Outdoor Events industry to assist with developing emergency preparedness plans and procedures. In today’s threat environment, both natural and man made disasters require all organizations, large and small, to have an emergency preparedness plan that provides for the safety and security of their patrons, employees, vendors and neighbors. Exercising your emergency preparedness plan is critical to ensure that when a disaster strikes, that not only the first responder team, but all of an organization’s staff knows what to do to mitigate the results of a disaster. Let the Department of Homeland Security assist you. Be sure to stop by my session and pick up available training materials.