We share a few questions to consider when you’re planning to attend and participate in your next industry conference.
It’s conference season, and with COVID firmly in the rear-view in-person events have roared back to life. After years of virtual conferences, or none at all, you’re probably asking yourself – How do I figure out which business or industry conference, if any, is right for me and my company?
The fundamental question you need to answer is if the conference is worth the investment. This year, we attended an industry conference in Manhattan, and we did so because we felt it was worth the investment.
So, what made this conference the right one for us? Here are three questions we asked ourselves before making a conference commitment.
1. Will Our Clients, Partners and Future Clients Be There?
Getting access to attendee information was paramount. Knowing the companies attending and those that had attended in previous years helped us align the attendees with our target audience. Given the past conferences we’ve attended and the mix of attendees, we expected our chosen conference to have a much better overlap with the industry segment where we add the most value.
This meant we had more opportunities to make meaningful connections. It also meant more opportunities for content and learning sessions applicable to our clients, partners and us.
2. Are We Ready for This?
Deciding to attend a conference can become complicated very quickly. With options ranging from attending to sponsoring to having a booth to speaking, the preparation and potential investment will vary depending on which route you choose – and that choice will depend on your goals.
I recommend researching what others in your industry are doing. Find a cost-effective conference and simply attend. Look at the booths, sit in on some sessions and check out the sponsorship plays. You’ll learn a lot about the current scene and maybe even get some ideas about what you’d like to do differently to stand out.
Once you decide you’re prepared to move forward with a conference and all the associated expenses, you need to determine which one to attend.
3. Which Conference Is the Right One for Us?
Conferences can vary in terms of size, scope and complexity. When selecting a conference where you plan to make a sizeable investment, you want to identify a few key items.
- Does the attendee list align well with the clients, partners and future clients we want to connect with?
- Is the size of the conference such that we won’t get lost in a sea of others on the conference floor?
- Is pricing reasonable enough that the investment we make will have us making an appropriate impression?
- Are speaking opportunities available that allow us to share our expertise?
- Are there sponsorship opportunities available that will allow us to create networking opportunities in a manner that we’re comfortable with?
Putting Your Industry Conference Strategy Into Play
After you decide which conference you want to participate in, start planning early. The number of activities required to get the most out of a conference is not a short list. It requires a lot of work, consistent organization and most importantly, a team.
The size and makeup of your team depends on how you want to participate in the conference.
- Are you planning on a booth? Well, who is on point for leading the overall logistics? Do you have someone to help you set it up at the conference? Have you reached out to your Marketing team for brand and collateral support?
- Are you signed up to speak? Do you have your presentation ready to go? Do you need Marketing support to design? Do you need peer review or additional specialist input?
- Are you a sponsor? Does this come with any special lists or promotional opportunities? Have you partnered with your Sales enablement and Marketing teams to take advantage of those?
Do you have a product demonstration? Or are you trying to focus on a specific offering? If so, you probably want a specialist there who can speak in depth on that topic.
Ready, Set, Conference!
Once you have your strategy, team and conference, it’s time to get out there and have some fun! We certainly did and can honestly say our chosen industry conference was great value, and more importantly, a great experience. We made lots of amazing new connections and spent a lot of time with old ones. After all, conferences are all about relationship building. Just like any relationship, even in this virtual world, a little face time goes a long way.