As digital marketers, it can be in our nature to deal with things from the comfort of a computer screen — and yet as much as we’d like to forget, digital marketing takes as much real-life, human interactions as it does strategic marketing wizardry! With Track5Media’s marketing team preparing for the upcoming Digital Summit in Philadelphia, we thought we’d share some of our most coveted conference tips and tricks.
Whether your team is headed to an industry-related conference for the first time or you’re flying solo, there are lots of things to consider before even stepping foot in the venue. So let’s get started!
5 Major Conference Tips and Tricks
1. Organize your Pre-Conference Plan
They’ll be dozens of sessions led by some of the top influencers from far and wide, so that means you’ll need to pregame! No, not the type involving shotgunning beers in the parking lot, I’m talking about getting your plan together ahead of time. Of all the conference tips and tricks listed here, this one might be the single most important!
If you think you’ll just “figure it out when we get there” you may be on track to throwing away hundreds of dollars and missed opportunities for networking! Believe me, you’ll want to plan out exactly just which presentations you’ll be attending, scouting out any meet-and-greets, and of course, maximizing each intermission to keep everything running smoothly. If possible, grab a map ahead of time in order to avoid walking into a speaker’s presentation halfway through — ouch!
2. Hit the Biggest Keynotes
There’s nothing worse than checking Twitter and seeing valuable industry news you missed while wasting time elsewhere. If there are any big announcements, insights, or reveals during a keynote speech you should absolutely be in that room! In a lot of cases, keynotes don’t often hold break out sessions, meaning you won’t have to worry about missing other speakers or events… as long as you mind tip #1!
In any case, these keynote presentations are the crux of any conference, helping you and your team to really engage in the conversation and find solid talking points for anyone else you may encounter during your time there. You may not have much to relate to someone, but attending the same session can really get the ball rolling!
3. Don’t limit Your Scope!
Although most conferences are unified by a central theme or industry, that doesn’t mean every session offered will apply to your day-to-day needs at work. At the same time, some of the best insights can come from seemingly unrelated topics. They say you don’t know what you don’t know, and besides being stupidly redundant, there’s truth in that.
Even sessions that are less-relevant to your focus can be useful if they are highly strategic. You’ll find that most marketing topics are extremely interrelated, so all it takes is one unseen connection between two topics to spawn your next breakthrough campaign — who knows!
4. Have the Right Gear Ready
Most conferences are not said and done in a single day, so you’ll need to be sure you can keep your momentum going the whole time. There’s nothing more stressful than trying to enter a new contact or follow someone on social media just to have your phone die! Extra battery packs, memory cards, and other accessories can be quick fixes to an electronic pickle.
We can’t stress this next point enough: Pack enough business cards! In the event your phone dies or someone else’s kicks the bucket, having a good ol’ fashioned analog business card may just save the day when meeting new or potential clients. Maybe they’ll get flung into the trash, or maybe fall out of a folder at a perfectly serendipitous moment — either way these little pieces of cardboard are never without their use!
If you have products to display or demo, make that a high priority. No one likes to watch you fumble around with faulty internet connections or other difficulties when a potential sale is on the line. Additionally, we mostly buy products because they make things easier, so don’t be your own worst enemy when it comes to demos!
5. Follow Up However Possible
So now that you’ve had your fun, it’s time to return home and get digging through all that swag, those business cards, and your notes (you were taking notes weren’t you??). You can do all the pitching and networking you want, but if you never follow up with anyone… did it really happen?
Send whatever follow up emails you can, reminding your contacts where you met, what you discussed, and about any ways to further collaborate or connect. Conferences can be hectic, exciting, but ultimately very productive so long as you really take the time to digest the experience. If nothing else, be sure to hold a team meeting where everyone can integrate whatever valuable conference nuggets they’ve prospected!
Finally, the Track5 team is headed to the Digital Summit in Philly at the end of August. If you’re going- be sure to hit us up!
Did you find these conference tips and tricks useful? Let us know how you’re preparing for your next big company event in the comments below!