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If you're thinking about running a roadshow you'll want to make sure you choose the right suppliers.  We asked some of our contacts what advice they'd give to someone looking for a new roadshow partner:

What is the most important thing you look for when choosing a supplier?

"For me, it has to be whether they can supply the right vehicle from both a size and look point of view.  Space is important so we need as larger a vehicle as possible.  One that offers maximum internal space to accommodate our displays and, of course, the visitors. We take our roadshows to major blue chip clients across various industries so the ‘look’ also has to be right – a modern, sleek design is what we're looking for. As we do a different show every day the set-up and breakdown time is also important and this shouldn’t really extend beyond an hour, so the vehicle has to be easy to set up.

Beyond the vehicle, it's the personnel on the roadshow that's important.  If you're together for two weeks or more then you're a team despite maybe not knowing the individuals in the first instance. Support each other all the way round –  never leave your wingman and communicate all the time. So the right level of person and the culture of the supplier's company is important.  We need a company that's willing to go the extra mile to ensure everything runs smoothly and whose staff share those values."

Why is it important to have a trusted supplier rather than going it alone or doing a self-drive option?

"Self-drive has never been an option for us as we need such large trailers but I can't imagine managing the logistics of being on the road without a professional supplier managing the process.  There's enough to concentrate on just from purely organising and running the content without having to think about driving and managing the vehicle.  Where is it going to park overnight?  Who is going to clean it between shows?  What happens if it gets a flat tyre?  These are not things that I want to spend my time worrying about!  

I want to know that the least of my worries will be the operation and management of that vehicle.  It needs to be where I want it, on time, open, presentable and running.  Leaving me to focus on my core activity which is engaging with the site and my customers. I want to know that, if something goes wrong, there is a strong backup and support to ensure the show goes on.  That another driver will come in if the current driver gets sick or if the generator stops working someone is going to be on hand to fix it."

IBM Exterior

What would you say is the number one thing you look for in a supplier?

"Early communication is everything. Suppliers should not be afraid of imparting bad news. Honesty.  I want to know what's going on and not have any last-minute surprises."  

How do you get value for money out of your supplier?

"We have never chosen the cheapest option for any supplier.  It takes time to build a relationship and trust, but, once achieved, we have loyalty to that supplier.  What is value for money?  Value for money maybe goes beyond the core activity of the agreement. For us, it is the small things that have the ability to disrupt the programme where the supplier foresees a problem before it happens and goes the extra mile to prevent it from happening or to minimise disruption.

Trailer Interior

How can you get a supplier to understand your vision?

"It's about communicating, telling the supplier of your plans for the future - some of which will come off and some of which won't - but keeping those channels open and honest each way so both parties understand future goals.  As a smaller company, we tend to work with suppliers over the long term and they become like an extension of our own team.  For us, it's essential that they're able to grasp our vision quickly.  Sometimes it just happens and sometimes it doesn't and it's not necessarily about what we've done, it's just that it clicks into place.  Those are the best relationships."

What's the biggest lesson you've learnt through your years of working with suppliers on roadshows?

"What people say and what people do are two different things! As a result, check, double-check, clarify and confirm everything. Anticipate the unexpected. Also, if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got! You have to evolve and change.  Look for new opportunities, locations and markets, otherwise, your programme will run out of energy.  As your programme evolves sometimes your suppliers can grow and change with you but sometimes they can't and sometimes you need to move on.  Supplier relationships sometimes don't last forever and it's important to know when to remain loyal and when to look for a new partner."  

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Get in touch to discuss how BMG can partner with you on your next roadshow.

At Brewco Marketing Group we work with leading brands to deliver thousands of event days each year.  Travelling through the UK, Europe and North America, we've been delivering marketing tours and roadshows for 25 years.