If you’ve recently attended an industry conference, you may be asking yourself— was it worth it? Three days in a hotel, dozens of hours spent listening, ALL of the traveling and the days spent digesting the pages of notes you took. It can be overwhelming! To help put the question of worth into perspective, it’s important to pause and consider the benefits.
In a recent episode of the Little Bird Marketing podcast, Ponderings from the Perch, Priscilla McKinney and Dana Stanley explore the importance of attending industry events and conferences. As the Director of Operations at GreenBook, Dana has helped in the creation and organization of IIEX– the go-to conference in the market research industry. From this wealth of experience with high-profile events, and his interaction with event-goers through the years, Dana has a unique perspective on the benefits of industry conferences.
“We always hear a few things from people after, especially the first time they attend IIEX. First of all, they’re exhausted, because it is an all-in experience! There’s a lot going on - we have multiple tracks, etc. Secondly, they’re exposed to new ideas. We’re the home of ideas that you don’t get at your standard research conference.”
So, if you’re on the fence about whether or not it’s a worthwhile investment, we offer these 3 reasons you should attend an industry conference ASAP:
1. Boost Innovation
While it seems like your to-do list grows threefold after an industry event, we bet you always leave with (at least) one great idea. An effective conference stimulates ideas and helps you take the first step in execution.
Concerning IIEX, Dana explains, “It’s baked into our DNA— making those connections and stimulating those ideas.”
Our tip? Bring your notebook, laptop or tablet. Take physical notes, but also get a good seat so you can record the presentations on your phone! Make it as easy as possible for yourself to access and review the information you learned.
2. Connect and Network
One of the biggest mistakes attendees make is not taking advantage of ALL parts of the event. Sit in on the main sessions, but make sure you are also attending break-out groups and after-hours networking events. As exhausted as you may be— GO! Dana suggests being open and attentive to opportunities to connect.
“We really focus on building bridges to people in adjacent industries. We have a number of companies that attend every year that are representing marketing companies, or marketing automation, or new technologies that were born in completely different industries, and they realize: ‘Oh, this actually has a research application!’ They’re new to the research world, but they’re bringing that kind-of vanguard of technology to our industry.”
3. Increased Exposure
One-on-one networking is great, but have you considered stepping onto the stage? Presenting at an industry conference not only boosts your reputation as a thought leader, but exposes you to each person attending the conference. In this episode of the Ponderings from the Perch podcast, Priscilla (who has spoken at multiple GreenBook events) asks Dana for the inside scoop of what IIEX looks for in their speakers.
“What we are really looking for is unique points of view that are relevant to what’s going on in our industry today.”
Dana and Priscilla also discuss what’s on the horizon for conferences, and the latest ways that GreenBook is facilitating industry connections and innovation. For more on go-to market research conferences, encouraging innovation in your industry and presenting tips, give the full episode an listen here.
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