5 Tips For A Successful Conference Experience
For marketers, conferences are generally a place to think big, network, unveil new products, and get real time customer feedback. Since ON24 is sponsoring and presenting at the Digital Marketing Show in London this week, we’ve been thinking about what it takes to be successful at a conference — both as an attendee and a sponsor. Learn how to have a successful conference experience, and justify your trip to your manager, with these 5 tips:
Define Your Role
Attending an event means wearing a lot of hats. Are you primarily there to learn, sell a product, job hunt, network, or on the flip side – speak and work the floor at your company’s booth? Often times, you’ll find yourself a mixture of any and all of these. Be sure to focus on one or two primary reasons to attend, so you can then set realistic goals for what a “successful” conference experience looks like.
Set Realistic Goals
If your primary reason for attending a conference is to promote your company’s presence at the event, first consider what success looks like. This might entail working with your Social Media Manager to create a digital media strategy that drives people to your company’s speaking sessions and booth. Make sure your pre- and during-event marketing style appeals to your target audience though — overdoing live-tweeting is a great way to turn off your fans that aren’t there in person. If you’re looking to sell, aim to determine how many meetings, media, or sales pitches make sense and how many first touch leads you want to get — an introduction on the conference floor can be the first step to a sales cycle.
Identify Your Targets
Job seekers should put together a list of companies they want to speak with, sales people should have a list of prospects going in, and marketers should meet with customers and agencies they work with. Shaking hands and putting faces behind names, even if you’ve been working together remotely for years, is a great way to keep a relationship warm. If you’re simply looking to network, take a detailed look at the attendee list and find out who the speakers are. Conferences get busy though, so try to set up your meetings and check ins ahead of time rather than on the fly.
Questions! Questions! Questions!
You’ve look at all of the sessions and bookmarked your favorites – great! Now, look at them again. Is there a common theme among them? If you attend all of these sessions, how are you going to come back a better marketer? Are you scoping out your competition? What types of trends are you interested in? Having an idea beforehand allows you to stay focused, but don’t be afraid to be nimble. If a conference track isn’t working for you, review your other options to find the session that is right for you.
Plan to Follow Up
So you have spent 3 days pounding the convention center pavement, shaking hands, and collecting a big stack of business cards, but what happens after you board the plane home? Don’t let all of your time go to waste! No matter your role, keeping the momentum from a successful event means connecting and following up on great conversations afterward. Email, LinkedIn, and Twitter are great ways to keep the conversation alive.
Now it’s time to put these tips to work! You can find me and the rest of the ON24 team at the Demand Generation Theatre or come say hello at stand C52 in the expo hall! If you can’t make it to London for our in-person sessions, check out these 8 marketing tips to improve your demand generation programs and follow along on Twitter with hashtag #DMS2015!