Article is republished from FICP The Blog.

Financial and insurance services meetings professionals should all know how valuable DMCs can be, having all worked with them countless times to create great events and meeting experiences. But if you want to take your meeting planning work to the next level and create truly unique and unforgettable meeting experiences for your attendees (and, yes, stay within your budget), consider turning to DMCs as a partner for next-level event strategizing and optimal meeting execution.

When you have the right DMC as your partner, it can become an extension of your team and your brand. You can spend more of your time and energy on internal politics and making sure the company goals are being met. Remember, when you are the in-house meetings professional, you wear multiple hats – from providing that 10,000-foot view to your stakeholders on the program’s ROI to the overall company’s goals, to making sure the program content and design truly reflect the company’s culture. Meanwhile, your DMC partner acts as your eyes and ears on the ground, keeping you informed while helping you find better and more effective ways to stretch your budget creatively.

We would love to share an insider’s peek at how our relationship works. We have been fortunate to work together as meetings professional (Kendra, Marketing Manager for NORCAL Group) and DMC (Cindy Y. Lo, Red Velvet Events, aka RVE) for over a decade now, and our partnership has only gotten stronger over the years because of the trust we have established with one another. One of the many reasons we work so well together is because RVE handles Kendra’s programs and meetings as if they were its own. Because she was historically a team of one, and her recently expanded team supports many other national marketing efforts in addition to event design, RVE significantly augments its on-site staff size to accommodate her events. This ensures the best experience possible for her company’s incentive meeting.

A productive and effective meetings professional and DMC partnership can only work if you have the right DMC on your side. So how do you find the perfect match for your company?

As the meetings professional, first you need to identify the role your DMC will play in your event. Will they be responsible for execution only, strategy only, or a combination of strategy and execution? You will also need to screen DMCs to identify their work styles and determine if they will be compatible with your work style. In addition, be prepared to share important information with the DMC, such as why you are planning this meeting, how you and the stakeholders measure success, who is the audience, and – of course – what the budget allows.

We want to remind you that the key component to a successful DMC to client relationship is trust. Kendra has to know that her DMC partner will treat her clients and agency partners as their own. RVE is an extension of NORCAL Group brand and must deliver an unforgettable experience and anticipate the needs of its customers just as we would. This is why our tenured relationship has been so successful. RVE understands Kendra and NORCAL Group, and that allows her to focus on other areas of the event to ensure its success.

Here are some specific questions you can ask a DMC to help determine if they are a good fit for you, your company and your program:

  • “What’s your communication preference?” For example, does the DMC prefer communicating over the phone, email or text?Most importantly, does that work for you, the meetings professional?
  • “What’s the typical workload for your DMC program manager?” This can give you visibility into how many other events the DMC will be working on in addition to yours.
  • “How soon will I be assigned a program manager, and what does the team support look like on my end?” These questions can help you figure out if you’ll have one point of contact or several, as well as how often your contact(s) will be on site versus in the office. The last thing you want is to keep reaching out to your DMC point of contact and get nothing but out-of-office replies!
  • “Are there any standard practices that you do as a DMC that are different from a typical DMC? If so, can you describe them?” Anything from a work style to a company philosophy is good to know up front, so you can decide if it will help or hurt your working relationship.

Once you find a DMC that will work well with you and your event, it can be the beginning of a beautiful partnership. Just make sure that expectations are clearly outlined and the lines of communication stay open. Then see how much bigger and better your meetings and incentives can become!