Who really is the customer?

As a space provider one of the most frequent questions I am asked is can you find a venue that will work for my brand.  Makes sense right? That is my job after all so therefore the question that is expected.  However, when I dig deeper I find that my clients have used other providers previously who didn’t place them in venues that suited their target demographic and cost. Does this mean that I have a better understanding of what works for my clients? Quite possibly.  There are other considerations to add into the mix too if you are to truly understand the service being given.

Most companies that provide space solutions for promotional activity also manage that space.  The benefits of using a space management company are obvious.  You will not get the space cheaper from any other agency (as long as they have exclusivity) and are therefore talking to the right people to book that specific space.  But what if you don’t know where you want to be placed and are looking for advice on the best space for you.  Can a company that manages space ever give you the best advice?  Who really is their customer? Space management companies guarantee an income to the landlord of that space which means they are consistently working to find promotions to fill it and close the gap on revenue generated so they can earn money from it too. Surely then their customer is the landlord.  Can impartial advice and expertise be given in these circumstances? I know from experience it is a difficult position to be in and realistically either promoter or landlords are going to feel short changed ultimately.

I have compiled some questions I would ask when looking at which company to use for the provision of space.  These should really help you cut through the sales patter and ensure that you are the customer, getting value for money and expert advice to help your business grow.

1.       Am I the customer or is the venue your customer – The agency should be able to tell you who they are working for and the strategy at play.  If they are not working for you, move on to the next.

2.       How many of the venues you have offered me do you exclusively manage – if the answer is all of them, I would question further to understand why they feel those sites specifically are right for your company.  Does the demographic, cost and footfall match your requirements? Are the sites within budget or are you being pushed into higher cost sites? Are there any other options they don’t manage in the areas you want to book?

3.       Who are your clients? – Who have they worked with now and previously? Why don’t they still work with them? What anecdotal evidence or case studies can they provide to offer insight into this route to market and their impact on its growth.

4.       Can they provide a comprehensive project plan? – This should include venues they know would work for you, within your budget with growth included as your teams increase.  If this is not something they can offer; I would think twice about using them.  Any agency with real experience of helping clients grow their direct sales route to market can evidence it and replicate it for your needs.

5.       Finally, I would say meet with them before agreeing to partner with them – Your relationship with your space provider is one of the most important to your growing sales channel.  You would not agree to marry someone without first getting to know them and liking what they had to offer. Treat your space provider the same way!  Do you feel that they understand your business, your requirements and goals? Can they evidence their work and provide statistical information showing their success in growth? Do you feel they are passionate about helping you to grow? Are you their customer and trust you will receive the transparency you need? If you can answer yes to all of them then you have found your space provider.

Place Experts are an independent consultancy collaborating with businesses in growth and charities who wish to increase their donors. We work hard to source the right venues for our clients at a cost to suit their budget.  We are an extension of our client working transparently with them to create a successful and sustainable sales channel.

October 2017Katy Carlisle