Marketing conferences come in all shapes and sizes, and take place in great locations like San Diego, Las Vegas and Chicago. All of them offer you the same benefits more or less. You can network with other digitally like minded people. Rub elbows with “influencers”. Hear success stories from brands you’d either like to work for or model your brand after.
Don’t go to a marketing conference thinking that you can stick to any resemblance of a diet. If you’re not sitting and listening, you’re eating and drinking. The last conference I attended I actually packed some workout clothes. I ended up doing 30 minute tabata programs in my room each morning. My sad attempt to maintain some sort of balance.
One of the best conferences
One of my favorite conferences was Social Fresh East in Tampa, FL. Each attendee was assigned a group on the name tag when they arrived. This was the group that would collectively work on a social media marketing project for a local non-profit. The exercise was a great opportunity for networking and hands on collaboration with an end goal. After submitting pitches on deadline, the non-profit selected a winner.
Is Bigger Really Better?
One of the largest marketing conferences I have ever attended is the Adobe Summit. You can’t really go wrong having an event in Vegas at the end of March. Adobe boasted it was the largest Summit with 10,000 attendees from all over the globe.
Like all conferences, there are good and not-so-good presenters. All of the presenters at the Summit are Adobe clients which makes sense, because who better to champion the vast suite that you offer? The whole event is a high tech produced opportunity to introduce new Adobe products. While the key note speakers had star quality (Abby Womback and George Clooney), neither addressed how digital or social was important (or not) in their careers.
My colleague told me before I registered that I wouldn’t learn anything new at the conference from a digital marketing perspective. But if I wanted to experience a good party with networking opportunities it was the place to be. He wasn’t wrong. But the planning and execution of feeding 10,000 in a Vegas parking lot was truly impressive.
Set your own standards
I’m not saying that marketing conferences aren’t worthwhile, because they are. I believe that five and a half years in, the way I gain value from them has changed.
I select the sessions I attend (if that is an option) because I’m hoping to gain insight into a topic based on the title of the session. Then I attempt to answer these two questions in each one.
- What are the top three takeaways from each session?
- Can I relate those points to my work or my brand?
Do you go marketing conferences or any industry event to expand your network or absorb all you can? Is there a happy medium between both?