This article original appeared in Precast Today’s Q2 2023 edition.
By Joe Frollo
Precast Days is an initiative of the National Precast Concrete Association designed to raise awareness of precast manufacturing across the
United States — educating local communities about career opportunities, precast products and modern manufacturing techniques.
In 2022, more than 30 NPCA member facilities opened their doors and invited community members in to see how precast concrete is made and meet the men and women who get it done.
Precast Days 2023 is scheduled once again for October, and NPCA members are encouraged to sign up now to jumpstart thinking about how to get the most out of this event.
Here are four things your company can do in the coming months to help host a great Precast Days in the fall.
Set Goals and Outcomes
There is an old adage about trying to be everything to everyone. Most often, that approach leads to mixed messages and confusion.
Instead, set some parameters to what success looks like. Precast concrete manufacturers are among the most meticulous people in construction.
Designing down to the finest detail is the only way to produce high quality precast products, so planning ahead for Precast Days is nothing different.
Which of these goals are priorities?
- Increasing brand footprint in the community
- Expanding a customer base
- Thanking current customers and employees
- Engaging students and potential workforce applicants
- Something else?
If your goal is simply to promote the facility and the industry, a plant tour and some food probably are enough. By contrast, if you want to walk away from the day with sales leads, then your marketing and sales team must prepare handouts and opportunities to talk in a quieter, less trafficked area than the production floor.
Make sure the entire staff knows the desired outcome, and plan accordingly.
Create a Target List
Like in real estate, a good event doesn’t just throw the doors open and hope people walk through. Identify the key players you want to engage with and work to make that happen.
Who are you trying to attract? A Precast Days event designed for customers and specifiers will look much different than one focused on students and potential workers.
Is it enough to host local and county DOT personnel, or are you trying to entice the governor to stop by? The larger the target, the more advanced planning is required.
Governors, senators and representatives all have schedulers who book their appearances months in advance. Get these people on the phone as soon as possible.
Similarly, it takes some legwork to draw students to a Precast Days event. Make sure the date you pick doesn’t conflict with breaks, midterms or finals. Talk to high school administrators or college professors about building the trip into their syllabus.
Is the event designed to deepen already established relationships or build new ones? Reaching out to an already existing customer base is easy. The contact information already is in your system.
Also, while success may look like large throngs and leads-a-plenty in the imagination, keep the guest list in line with staff personnel who can effectively work the crowd.
Set a Budget
It usually comes down to this, doesn’t it?
Coffee and donuts are nice for a small, intimate gathering but food and drinks should run hand in hand with the goals, outcomes and invitations discussed above.
Grilled hamburgers and hot dogs go a long way for building an event. Some NPCA members have brought in food trucks to incorporate other community businesses and diversify the offerings.
Is overtime required to keep people around, or is the window short enough to stick to a regular shift?
How are you getting the word out? Leaflets and word of mouth, or are advertising and social media campaigns involved?
Find the number that is right for you, and work to build the best event around it.
Talk to Other NPCA Members
Precast Days is entering its fourth year, and some NPCA members have been taking part since its inception. Never be shy about reaching out to another member to pick their brain, find out what worked for them and what didn’t.
If you are contemplating whether to host a Precast Days but want more information on what goes into it, reach out to NPCA for answers. We also can connect you with fellow members to discuss how budgeting the right amount of time and money pays off in dividends down the line.
Joe Frollo is the director of communications and public affairs at NPCA.
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