How to get the most out of a marketing conference

In recent years, as an evangelist in digital marketing for a customer experience management company, I'm I had the opportunity to attend dozens of marketing and technology conferences each year. .

As a lecturer, I attended most of these lectures and I made a point of trying to learn something new every time I spent in a conference room. That said, as Scott Brinker said when he spoke about his experience at MarTech conferences, it's "… always a whirlwind of ideas and ideas. It usually takes me a few weeks after the event to summarize what I learned from this event. "

Scott is right. Although my intentions are optimal, the number of people, the content and the ideas have been impressive. Unfortunately, in some cases, I left with less than spectacular returns. It is not that the subjects or the presenters were not excellent; they were. I've interviewed friends and colleagues about their conference experiences over the years, and many of them had the same less than stellar results.

Based on the lessons learned from these conversations and from my own experience, here is my tip to help you get the most out of your marketing conference.

Prepare – First of all, you have to do your homework. I do not speak of preparation as when you go to the in-laws for the holidays. On the conference website you will find useful links. This is where your value planning begins. As I'm attending the MarTech East conference soon, let's take this site as an example. The links you will find here are similar to those of other conference sites.

Agenda – Before you spend your hard-earned money, check the agenda. Most conferences offer several "tracks" loaded with thematic sessions. Each session is designed to familiarize you with the main topic, so you can select the sessions (and speakers) that match your learning, career, network, or other desired outcomes for the conference.

Grab your favorite drink. , a notepad (for old school note takers like me), then get comfortable and dig. Start with a complete list of challenges for which you need help and add to the list of topics you want to learn more about. Find the most relevant sessions and write them down. As the agenda is usually divided into days, plan each day separately and ensure that the topics do not overlap. Ideally, the content of one day should be inspired by that of the next.

If you find it hard to find the sessions that meet your needs, the conference may not be suitable for you. Finish your drink and head to your favorite search engine, as there are probably many other events to consider. A recurring theme in the conversations was registration at a conference before consulting the agenda. Do not do that.

People – Once you have decided to register, the first place to start is your network. If you are a LinkedIn member, you can contact your first level contacts via the mass messaging feature.

Details about making mass messages are available through LinkedIn Help or a simple search engine query. Therefore, I will not go into detail here (with the exception of a crucial detail, below). Let's just say that using this approach to let your relationships know that you will attend a particular event, and ask them if they will also participate, is a great way to start the networking move.

I know I said I would let you get the details of mass mailing LinkedIn yourself, but I would be careless if I did not tell you it was an absolute must when you want to uncheck mass mail. "Allow recipients to see their respective names and email addresses." If you deselect this box, your message will be copied blindly on your LinkedIn connections. By default, this box is checked, so check the corresponding box.

The next step is to review the list of speakers to see if there are people you want to connect to during the conference. On the MarTech conference website, dozens of speakers are listed with a short biography and a link to their Twitter and LinkedIn profiles. I love meeting new people, and some of the most refreshing people I've met are those who hired me for a conference I was talking to.

Do not forget that the speakers can be busy. They prepare for their session and often have meetings and tasks to do, especially if their company is a sponsor. Make sure you have done your homework well. Find the speakers you would like to meet and write a note on a topic you want to discuss. Sending the note as an email on LinkedIn is perfect.

Exhibitors – Whichever conference you attend, you will probably have the opportunity to explore an exhibitor space. Exhibitors also paid support fees and their goal is to get your attention. They often do this by offering the coolest schwag you absolutely need, but they will inexplicably leave behind you in your hotel room or throw them back home.

As a geek and marketing specialist, I take the opportunity to meet in person the sellers of products and services whenever I can. I believe every distributor should be demonstrating with a new martech seller every week. It's a great way to feed your brain about new marketing technologies and stay informed. In the case of the Martech conference, which has more than 100 planned marketing technology solutions, there are more martech vendors to meet than hours per day, so planning is also essential during events. .

Review the list of exhibitors and choose no more than six exhibitors whose products or services you would like to know more about. Then add these exhibitors to your schedule and make sure to meet them at the opening of the exhibitors' space. Once you've checked the top six exhibitors on your list, browse the exhibit area to see if there are other offers that have not made your list appealing.

That's my best advice for getting the Most marketing conferences are based on lessons learned from colleagues, friends and on my own experiences.

If you go to the Martech conference in Boston next week, I would love to meet you. Connect to me on Linkedin or use the MarTech Conference app from Third Door Media, Inc. in the Apple App Store or on Google Play.

More information about the MarTech conference

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Associated authors are listed here.

About the Author

Gene is an evangelist of digital marketing, riding change and preaching the gospel digital strategy, customer experience and marketing technology for three decades. A serial entrepreneur since the creation of his first newspaper, Gene has developed innovations in social media networks, targeted digital out-of-home delivery and mobile SMS marketing. Gene is Director of Digital Strategy and Marketing Technology at GeekHive, a New York-based marketing technology consulting firm that helps clients maximize their investments in martech. He is also a Digital Marketing Assistant at the School of Professional Studies at the University of New York for 20 years and founder of How Digital Marketing Works.

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