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So you are confident, fun, energetic and allergic to the idea of a boring 9-to-5 desk job?

...Then a career in promotional marketing may just be for you.

What does 'promotional marketing' really mean?

Well, promotional marketing is a broad term used to describe the experimental and innovative strategies used to raise the profile of a brand or new product. Rather than the traditional forms of advertising such as TV, radio or newspaper adverts, which reaches a wide audience (but not necessarily the company's target audience), promotional marketing is more focused. It's finely tuned.

It’s aimed at a particular group of people - chosen for all sorts of reasons from their age, gender, or spending power - who the company believe could become their core, loyal customers.

In plain speak you won't find a new trendy vodka being promoted at a pensioners' lunch - but you might in a nightclub or at a music festival.

Promotional marketing tends to be direct and often involves approaching the public offering samples, or coupons or getting them to fill in a questionnaire. This is where the need for confident staff comes in.

The aim is to engage the target customer in a sensory way by offering them a memorable experience which is where the fun comes in.

The people behind these exciting ideas and concepts are called Creative Agencies who use Staffing Agencies to find great staff. However that is only the start, it doesn't matter how brilliant a product is or how clever the idea to promote it... a promo activation will only have the desired effect with the right staff.

There are hundreds of Creative / Staffing Agencies across the UK and Ireland varying in size and success, from the large and well known to the more bespoke boutique agency. They may all have different approaches but the one thing they share is the need for reliable, confident and self-motivated staff to bring their marketing strategies to life.

..And that's where we come in, by launching the first professional promo hub which socially connects staff with the UK’s top agencies like never before.


There are lots of different promotional jobs out there. Some are more fun than others! Sometimes the jobs which sound the most fun aren't so great and the ones that you expect to be dull surprise you. This diversity is what makes this such an exciting industry to be in.

Here’s a breakdown of the different types of promo work in order of the popularity:

Core Team Road Core Team Road Show

These are the jobs everyone loves. In small to medium sized groups (i.e. you and an Event Manager paired together or with a small team) will travel across various cities and towns in the UK promoting a product.

You might be working inside or out (in a shopping centre or on the high street, for example) and the job will usually involve demonstrating a product or offering the public samples.

It's on these jobs you build great friendships and get to explore different parts of the UK. But, of course, to do this type of work you have to be flexible and be able to be away from home for several days at a time and as you may have to approach the general public this isn't for the shrinking violets.

This work is the most sought after and usually goes to the most experienced people (Don't despair; you can build up your experience).

As a general rule the job will involve a training day and the cost of your travel, accommodation and food is paid on top of a competitive day rate - but always be sure of the terms before you say yes!

Promotional Model

Sexist but true - the majority of these jobs are for the ladies... You will need model good looks and immaculate grooming.

It tends to be high end luxury brands who are offering this type of work and they usually only consider girls over 5'7".


Often based outside but could be inside, you target high footfall areas, outside a shopping centre for example, handing out complimentary (never free!) samples to the public. It can be anything from trial sized cereal boxes to gluten free chocolate, and freebies aside the most important aspect of this job is getting the brand message across.


You will be trained on a product and then you show the rest of us how to do it. The demonstration could be anywhere from an exhibition or trade show to a shopping centre food court. The product could be a new to the market smart phone, computer game or a blender!

Ring/Grid Girls

Agencies who want to inject a feeling of glamour to their event employ pretty girls to stand around the ring in between boxing rounds or on the track during race day events. Again, the client will often require attractive staff who are immaculately turned out.


Another one which is mostly for the ladies. You will need to be intelligent, well presented and glamorous (think long black dress, killer heels...). Your job might be front of house at an event, showing guests to their seats or running a guest list.

Costume Work

Like dressing up and acting? This could be for you. Usually based inside, you do your costume and become a new person ... or animal. From Super Mario to a fast food chicken character this work usually requires interacting with youngsters and children. Generally, they are looking for petite people. It pays well, and you get lots of breaks.


Promotional stands don’t build themselves, sometimes the agency will need extra bodies to help. Most of the time this work is based inside and usually they are looking for burly men. The hours can be unsocial hours and obviously, it involves heavy lifting which is compensated with good rates of pay. You won’t need to wear a uniform or worry about brand messages either.

Mystery Shopping

Effectively you are a spy. You go undercover to check how people are performing in their roles, for example: Are shop assistants offering the right level of service? Or do staff know their stuff when asked a question about their product? You usually work alone, could be inside or out.


A similar role to a mystery shopper, you are checking to make sure things have been done properly. Usually based inside and alone you will be tasked with entering a number of shops (for example) to check that they have displayed promotional offers or product layout as instructed. Bring a camera, they will want photo evidence.

Data Capture / Lead Generation

Usually based inside you will work adjustment to the team with the sole responsibility of generating email addresses and contact information for the client (to follow up on). These jobs vary, sometimes it can be a hard sell but regardless, the agencies tends to know it isn’t an easy job so wouldnt expect miracles but equally expect people to have what it takes to approach people and give it a real go.

Market Research

This also pays great rates for a short number of hours worked. It often involves quizzing a group or having a one to one discussion where you try and provide the company with honest feedback on their products. Some online based work could be involved too.


Usually based outside and by yourself or in small groups, you target consumers with literature which often directs them to or gives details of an upcoming event or offers some form of discount.


Other jobs include PR Stunts; a flash mob of people required to take part in a huge publicity stunt. This will usually pay high hourly rates for short hours of work. Beer Wench; often required to work in groups your role will be to host a group of lads and organise pub crawls, oversee games and generally keep them entertained so this role is not for the fait hearted. Butler in the Buff; Working alone or in a small group you play host to a group of ladies usually on a hen do or celebrating a special occasion and yep you guessed it, wearing nothing but a apron and bow tie. If you have a beach body and the confidence of the Wolf of Wall Street then you will love this and the money is often great too.


Your responsibilities will depend on where your position lies within the team. Everyone usually starts off as a Brand Ambassador, then with time and experience, works their way up to Event Management level.

Starting from the top, here's a breakdown of what each role may involve:

Event Manager (EM)

The EM will be expected to drive so a clean license is a must. You will be required to collect the van (usually a transit or 3.5 ton Luton van with a tail gate), collect the stock, the uniforms and generally manage the team on the day. A good E.M. will text / call the team the day before so everyone knows where to meet etc., be a confident driver, good with people, take lots of photos and report back to the agency with lots of comprehensive feed back...Oh and hit sample quota, get the best out of the team, avoid parking tickets and crashing the van.

Assistant Event Manager (AEM)

Everything the EM does minus doing the reports, being responsible for van /kit and collecting / dropping the van back. Some driving may be involved.

Team Leader (TL)

This is essentially an EM job but running a smaller campaign, driving sometimes not necessary. It can help if you have your own car to collect collateral.

Brand Ambassador (BA)

The people that make it happen. As part of the team you will be responsible for handing out samples or to carry out any of the above job types whilst representing the brand at all time. A good BA will be confident, great with people, well presented and be able to clearly articulate the brand messages. It’s important to be hard working, smile and engage with the public where possible. This level is the starting point for all promo folk. Only those who are well groomed with charisma, personality and a hard working ethic should apply.


All Creative Agencies work and pay differently so, as with anything, be clear of the terms before you take the job to avoid disappointment.

As a general rule you can expect to be paid directly into your account within about 4-6 weeks. Most agencies will require you to register on their database, this basic information: address, bank details etc is vital for you to be paid, so make sure you get this right and if anything changes - like you move house - up date your details.

What if there is a delay?

Most agencies want you paid as quickly as you do but some wait to be paid by the client before they can pay staff so you may have to be patient.

Often you will be required to invoice the agency and the trick for quick payment is to get your invoice in (and a claim for expenses if you are entitled to them) as soon as possible, and then call or email the accounts department 3 or 4 days later to check it’s been received.

If the date you are expecting to be paid passes, then phone the agency. In this scenario it is good to know the person in accounts; having these people on your side will pay dividends - so be nice!

If it is has been longer that 8 weeks and you still haven’t been paid (and the job was one you found on Promo Fo’s website) then get in touch. In most cases a quiet word from us helps speed the process along.

Will I be taxed?

If the Staffing Agency operates on a PAYE (pay as you earn) basis your tax and NI (National Insurance) payments are automatically deducted from your wages before you get paid.

To ensure you are taxed correctly it is important that you complete a P46 form and hand it to every new agency you work for.

Students are no longer exempt from paying tax unless you earn less than the £192 per week. More information such as how to claim back over paid tax is provided below.

In some instances agencies will require you to invoice them directly on a self employed basis which means you are now responsible for paying your own tax. It’s important you invoice straight after any work is carried out to avoid delay to your payment. To work on a self employed basis you must request a UTR (Unique Tax Reference) from HMRC and remember to include it in every invoice. Any agency that operates this way will usually be able to provide a blank invoice template on request.


Download P46:

Student Tax Law:

Request a UTR and registering as self employed:

Blank Invoice Template:

DBS Check -

If the job involves working with kids then you will need a DBS check (formerly known as a CRB) which certifies you are safe to do so. It's essentially a criminal back ground check. Price £12.50 - £45

Food and Hygiene -

If the job involves working with food you will need a food and hygiene certificate. To get one you need to complete a short online course which you can do in your own time and pick up from where you left off as many times as you like. £15 - £40

Health and Safety -

Sometimes required if you are working somewhere expecting to have lots of visitors such as concerts, festivals etc. £30 + Vat