Name: Sara Blackmon
Job Title: Event Specialist
Where: Gastonia, NC
Current Employer: Crossmark, Inc.
Education: Olympic High School
Salary: Research median salaries for demonstrators and product promoters.
Event Specialist Jobs – Demonstrators and Product Promoters
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a positive job outlook for demonstrators and product promoters over the next several years. That's good news for people who enjoy working with the public and want a flexible work schedule. In this Salary Story, we get an insider's look at what demonstrators and product promoters do on a daily basis – learning about new products, working in different venues, and communicating with a wide variety of people. Not to mention avoiding the occasional exploding carton of milk. Keep reading to find out why this job can be both challenging and fun.
PayScale: What is your event specialist job description?
We have to be able to work well independently. I have to have the ability to stand for up to eight hours at a time. My computer skills come in handy (though they are more advanced; basic is required). I need to have daily access to a computer that is connected to the internet. I have obtained knowledge of products and promotions and encourage consumers to purchase products to help increase sales. Each day I have to prepare and serve food samples utilizing raw meats, produce, microwaves, hot plates, oil and kitchen utensils. We have to demonstrate packaged goods to consumers. Sometimes we also distribute coupons and sale materials.
PayScale: How did you get started in this job?
I got this job by applying online. I was out of work for quite some time and I really wanted to do something, anything really. My motivation for doing this job was that it pays well – $10.25/hr and it’s very easy. They gave me a flexible schedule and since I’m a mom, that was really a huge motivation for me. My job highlights are as follows: Demo schedules are Thursday through Sunday; event table, materials and equipment provided at the store. Outside employment is permitted as long as it does not interfere with Crossmark responsibilities.
PayScale: What do you love about working as a product promoter?
I love the fact that I get a different product every day so it keeps it interesting! It’s very hard just to share only one story of why I love my job. It’s not only the fact that the job is easy that makes it so great, but the people are interesting to talk to. You hear so many different stories when you work with different people and different products each day. I love hearing the different recipes for whatever product i’m doing that day come into play. I like it when the product I’m doing gets compliments or when a person says to me, “Wow, you did a great job!” with a smile. It’s very comforting to be around people who treat me right. One time when I dropped a whole bunch of souffle cups, this little boy came up to my cart and helped me get them all up. It was so cute! When you work in a field like mine, you definitely get to see the true side of people.
PayScale: What are the biggest challenges faced by product promoters?
Well, a huge challenge in my job is not knowing what will happen next at times. See, when you get a Crossmark event, you can just look it up online and know what you are going to get the next day (and be prepared for your sales pitches and stuff). However, when you get a Sam’s Club event, you won’t know until the day of as to what to do and so forth. You could be demonstrating fish or laundry detergent – you would have no idea and that’s kind of frustrating. There is also the challenge of dealing with people that have had a bad day or are just completely rude to you. You have to just suck it up and deal with it. Sometimes smiling all the time is tough when you are having a bad day yourself. Nonetheless, these are obstacles that are easily avoided with the right attitude.
PayScale: Any advice for those who want to work as demonstrators and product promoters?
My advice to myself before I had this job, without knowing already, would’ve been to relax on the first day of work, to view my sales plans the night before my job, to dress accordingly, and to have a great time working.
PayScale: Do you recall any crazy moments from your job as an event specialist?
The craziest thing that has happened thus far would probably be the time that I was demonstrating grapes and pears. Out of nowhere this guy walked down the aisle and a carton of milk exploded. Craziest thing to see! There was milk everywhere!! I didn’t know what to do. Well, the Sam’s Club maintenance employees did a great job of cleaning it up. My friend Mason (who is one of the employees) got his clean up cart and got to ride it over the milk which I kind of envied him for because it looked fun. Other than that, we haven’t had any major spills.
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