Event Marketing Outdoor Activation

By: Proctor

May 23, 2019

Thinking of taking your brand outside?

Event marketing is booming and all signs indicate continued growth. According to Event Marketer,  brands are increasing their experiential budgets as they see the value of live events and are better able to prove event ROI. Sixty-seven percent of B2B brandside marketers anticipate a growth in budget in the next 18 months, a 17 percent increase from 2018.

To add to that, the Event Marketing 2019 Benchmarks and Trends Report discovered that 95% of the professional marketers surveyed believed that live events provide attendees with a valuable opportunity to form in-person connections in an increasingly digital world. They also reported that 80% of over-performing businesses planned to increase their event budgets the following year.

Outdoor activations play a big part in the event and experiential marketing world. Taking your brand outdoors is a great way to interact with your targets, but it comes with a host of issues that you don’t find with indoor events. How do you navigate the challenges before taking the plunge? It’s a good question. To get some answers we ask some of our resident experts to share their thoughts on the subject. 


Best practices

“Be Prepared. You never know what the weather is going to do. We have seen it snow in July in Aspen and then be so hot in Palm Springs that materials melt. Event staff also needs to make sure they are prepared for all types of climates and abnormal weather patterns.”

Justin Pass

“Expect something will go wrong, that way you aren’t surprised when it does. If everything goes right, it’s a bonus.”

Brian Houchin

“Acquire, extract, deduce, and define what the complete scope-of work for the project actually is. This will help all further progress.”

Chris Montigne

“Keep learning, there is always a new trick to the trade that can be learned.”

Michael Francis

“One of my best practices would be to keep moving forward. You can very rarely determine the outcome of certain situations but when things get tough keep moving forward.”

Dominic Iannino

Things you learn at your first event

“No matter how much you prepare there always seems to be a surprise. Always have an idea of where you can print last minute and where the closest home depot is located.”

Justin Pass

“Weather doesn’t care. It could rain, it could be blisteringly hot, or you could be breathing in slight amounts of smoke if you’re setting up in the mountains and there are forest fires in the area (This was the case in Whistler, BC). Wind is something to consider. You don’t have control over when a strong gust happens to blow through, so your hatches had better be battened down.” 

Brian Houchin

Inventory weight, setup time, and durability can be equally important as design & brand.”

Chris Montigne

“Things never go as planned, be willing to adapt and think on your feet.”

Michael Francis

“The ground will most likely never be level at any outdoor and sometimes indoor location. Plan ahead to bring proper equipment needed for the job.”

Dominic Iannino

Design considerations

“The ground is never flat! Keep that in mind while designing.”

Justin Pass

When designing, you have to use materials and building techniques that will be able to withstand strong winds, but also take ease of set up into consideration.” 

Brian Houchin

Be perceptive. Be observational. Be creative. Be genuine.”

Chris Montigne

“Design is not always about what is the new thing, it is about taking the clients desires and putting them into a usable and functional space.”

Michael Francis

“There are tons of factors you may have to take into consideration when designing outdoor properties for an event or activation. I have come across heat being a big issue when it comes to adhesives in the sun or even in the desert for an activation in Palm Springs CA.”

Dominic Iannino

What makes a successful experience

“If the client is happy typically were happy. However communicating the brands message ultimately creates a successful experience.”

Justin Pass

“Preparation, communication, attention to detail, and thorough work.”

Brian Houchin

“An activation set that endures the test of time, plus positive memories and happy clients.”

Chris Montigne

“Paying attention to the details always makes for a successful event.”

Michael Francis

“Knowing that something is bound to go wrong and keeping your cool and working through any problems that may arise.”

Dominic Iannino

Shipping, labor, and the elements…

The devil is in the details. Unlike a trade show, there are no loading docks. All trucks typically require a lift gate. Labor that travels will need to be prepared for changing weather albeit hot or cold climates can make for an unhappy crew and an unhappy crew can result in poor work from set up to the pack.”

Justin Pass

“Shipping can be a more complicated part of the outdoor activation process, since often the event’s location isn’t a specific address with a loading dock. It’s been useful to be able to have a contact number for the driver when trying to locate the truck in the middle of the wilderness.”

Brian Houchin

“Keep the weight down. Get the right truck. Pay for the right staff.”

Chris Montigne

“Be adaptable. Shipping, labor, and the elements are not always in your control. You must be willing to work with what you have and make the best of it. When building, you must keep all of these in mind to make the most lightweight, durable set that is easy to setup.”

Michael Francis

“Labor is going to always be hit or miss. Depending on where the outdoor event is, it may be hard to get a good labor company to the location.”

Dominic Iannino

How to stay on brand

“KISS- Keep it simple stupid. Taking an activation too far can result in the market not recognizing or even remembering the brand.”

Justin Pass

“Talk to the client. Pay attention and do your research. Haste and assumption can make you look like an amateur.”

Chris Montigne

“Good communication with the client is key. Ask questions where you are unsure.”

Michael Francis

“Don’t forget who you are and what your company stands for.”

Dominic Iannino

Material types: pro and con

“Waterproof, heatproof and sturdy. Always a delicate balance. Laminated wood will not last and metal is heavy.” 

Justin Pass

“Pros: aluminum (lightweight and easily recyclable), fabrics (lightweight and easily recyclable), plastics (UV inert)


Cons: woods (untreated), papers (wood-based), floors (many parts, setup time, wear, etc.)”

Chris Montigne

“Working with mainly outdoor sets, metal/powder coating are the most durable elements. Anytime you can use aluminum it helps to cut down on weigh/labor. Although plywood/laminate are industry standards in the trade show industry they do not do well with outdoor activation as they are not meant to be able to withstand the elements.”

Michael Francis

The final word 

“Be willing to take constructive criticism so you can continue to better yourself and your work. There is always more to learn and some that has a different perspective to learn from. At the end of the day the client is right no matter what. Relationships are the most important thing we have in this industry.”

Michael Francis

Justin Pass

Director of Sales & Marketing

Justin is a Colorado native who came to Proctor by way of Media sales. He has over 16 years of experience in radio, TV, digital media and sales management. He works hand in hand with marketing and sales to identify strategic partnerships and grow company goals.


Brian Houchin

Account Manager

Brian “Hooch” Houchin comes all the way from Kansas City, KS and has one of the largest dogs in the Proctor office, a beautiful great dane named Jessie. Brian’s personality and talents, paired with his humor, make him ideal for traveling anywhere he’s needed to set up experiential work and interact with clients. Fortunately, this gives him the opportunity to be the handsome “face” of Proctor!


Chris Montigne

Creative Director

Chris Montigne’s proficient technical skills and love for all things design led him to his future in industrial design over 16 years ago, and since then he has worked as a creative director, exhibit & environmental designer, industrial designer, process manager, fabricator, and creative storyteller for high-profile brands in many industries.


Michael Francis

Account Executive

As an Account Executive, Michael loves to build relationships with client knowing that each person operates differently. With a variety of experience, from being a road warrior to project management, he is well equipped to help your project go well. When not at work Michael can be found hiking, camping, or enjoying any other outdoor activity in the mountains.


Dominic Iannino

I&D Supervisor

Born and raised in Chicago but, I have done a little moving around and have ended up in Colorado for the past 4yrs. I love to travel, camp, hike, and fish. I enjoy the trade show and experiential industry and the challenges that arise. I have been working in this industry since I was 18 but I have a real passion for our furry friends. Back in 2011 I owned and operated a natural products store for dogs and cats in Chicago.