With any event, the ultimate desire is for it to go off without a hitch – from talent not showing up on time to product displays not being ready, and everything in between.
Corporate event planners who want to include music in their event, party, or marketing activation face a new set of challenges, ranging from booking the correct musician or DJ to the sound system itself.
While the Buffalo DJ Pros team enthusiastically recommends any event planner in need of a music book, talent, or professional event DJ, there are a few things to consider before booking a DJ for your marketing event.
For a corporate function, make sure they know how to play
Many DJs have worked in the entertainment industry, such as nightclubs and parties. However, these are much more casual events with completely different requirements, both in terms of the DJ’s own style or mannerisms and the music they play, and it’s not the professional approach you’ll want for your marketing activation or other corporate event — we’re talking about disrespectful and boorish behavior on-stage, playing music with every offensive word, and more.
That type of unprofessionalism won’t fly in the much more accessible and big-picture-minded world of corporate events, so make sure your event DJ has prior corporate experience — if not with marketing activations, search for a past playing office party. Put the sound system at the top of your priority list, and if possible, hire a professional DJ to take care of it. The sound system is the single biggest point of failure for an event with a live DJ. If you’ve reserved a venue or location with built-in sound, don’t expect it to work properly. If the venue does not provide a sound specialist, this is a significant red flag that the equipment could be problematic. The truth is that getting the sound correct requires hiring a sound technician to ensure that everything is connected and ready to go when the time comes. Because this is probably the last thing you want to worry about for your event, we recommend choosing a DJ firm that includes sound engineering (and, if necessary, sound equipment) as part of the package.
It’s best not to rely on what the venue supplies, and especially don’t try to do it yourself. Safety and professionalism matter when hiring a DJ. Our article: ‘Look Elsewhere If Your DJ Doesn’t Have Insurance’ sheds light on the importance of insurance in ensuring a smooth event.
Make sure your DJ is familiar with your brand and target audience.
Let me generalize: not every DJ is a suitable match for every branded event, or, more particularly, the type of crowd the company is attempting to attract. If you’re planning an event for a fashion or cosmetics brand, for example, you’ll want to locate a DJ that matches your brand’s aesthetic and target audience. A DJ who does not “look the part” of the brand will stand out a lot at marketing activations, where literally every inch of space in the event venue is arranged according to the specifics of that brand. Of course, you’ll want a DJ that knows how to play the genres and kinds of music that are appropriate for your company. Make sure they’re familiar with the appropriate music, whether it’s top 40, boy bands, EDM, or hip-hop, and your event will be a success.
Check to see if your DJ is capable of mixing music.
To put it another way, can your DJ actually DJ? Or do their DJ skills consist solely of pressing the ‘play’ button on a pre-recorded mix? The latter occurs far more frequently than you might expect, as there are many “model DJs” out there who look nice but have no experience with turntables, particularly in the area of fashion/beauty corporate events. This is a significant issue because DJ expertise and skills are critical to an event’s success. If a marketing engagement includes live music, that will be the sound that everyone in the venue hears from the moment they walk in until they depart. And if your DJ is simply pressing play and then coasting, you run the risk of losing the crowd. What does a professional DJ do? A live DJ is continually monitoring the crowd’s reaction to the music and making modest modifications to keep them interested and feeling the vibe. A 70-minute pre-made set can’t be modified, and if the vibe starts to fade and the crowd drifts away, pulling out their phones to check Instagram or heading for the exit, it might be difficult to entice them back in.