Well marketers, conference season is officially upon us. We warmed ourselves up at MarTech, and now, as we review our calendars for the next month or so, we see the bulk of the action lies just around the corner. We’ve got Oracle Modern Marketing Experience and Marketo’s Marketing Nation Summit in Vegas (and at the same hotel no less… so it looks as though the MGM is going to start to feel like a home away from home). Then with only a weekend in between, we’re off to IBM Amplify in Tampa and we’re finishing it all off with four-action packed days in Nashville for the SiriusDecisions Summit. Whew! I’m tired just thinking about it.
If you’re an eager-to-connect and hungry-for-knowledge marketer like I am, your schedule probably looks a lot like mine. Your company has invested heavily in conferences, because they know they provide a great opportunity for industry professionals like us to come together and learn, network and even buy and sell a little. Despite the major focus on digital, social media, and account-based marketing, I know for a fact we still see events as critical to our marketing mix. Conferences are where we often meet our best prospects and engage with our existing customers. Our time is more valuable than ever, and there is still nothing like a face-to-face interaction.
But with all its benefits and opportunities, this time of year is also a lot of work. Conference season means a lot of coast-to-coast travel, a lot of long days, jam-packed with keynote sessions and logging booth hours and of course, a lot of late nights, clinking glasses with your mentors, peers and potential customers. You’ve got to make sure you stay on top of your game, so you’re ready and able to make the most out of every minute of it.
It’s a game of survival really, so we’ve put together a few tips that are going to help you make it through until June. (Ahhh blissful June, when more than half of the month you’ll actually get to sleep in your own bed. Imagine!)
How to Survive – and Thrive! – this Conference Season
1. Stay Hydrated
Most people think coffee is the key to survival here, but you know what plays an even bigger role in keeping you alert? Water. Studies show that people who consume up to 8 cups of water a day have more energy, better skin and take bathroom breaks a lot more often. No, but in all seriousness, it’s important to stay hydrated, especially this time of year, when the air travel and cocktail hours are going to make it even trickier. We recommend setting little goals for yourself; like trying finishing a bottle-full by lunch each day, and then topping up.
2. Stay Charged
Social media has really shown up and taken events like this by storm. It’s not only face-to-face networking these days, now we’re all engaging with each other (and our favourite brands) on Twitter. We’re sharing key takeaways with our followers who couldn’t be there (a great way to demonstrate thought leadership). And we’re even connecting immediately via LinkedIn in some cases, rather than doing the whole business card exchange and then going home with a pile of interesting people’s information (without photos—making it harder to jog your memory) and filing them in our Rolodex (is that even a thing anymore?). You’re going to need that Smartphone of yours on full charge throughout the day. How? Consider picking up a Mophie case that adds an extra 8-10 hours of battery life or pick up a portable charger to keep you going (lucky for you, we’re giving some away at our booth at each event).
3. Stay Comfortable
These days are long. We’re talking 7AM booth set-ups and pre-game meetings, followed by breakfast, keynotes, breakout sessions, networking lunches and long walks through the exhibitor hall chatting with all the vendors about the new up-and-coming technology that is going to change the way you do your job. That’s a lot of moving around, and a lot of time spent on your feet, so you want to ensure whatever #ootd (outfit of the day) you select, you’re going to be able to last in it.
You may have heard of our #RunMarketing campaign (if you haven’t, quick—click here to learn more now). It’s all about a new way of thinking about marketing. How you RUN marketing is just as important as how you DO marketing. I won’t get it into it too much now, but the point here is we’re giving away pairs of sweet green Nike runners at each event. These babies are going to keep your feet feeling cozy and you’re going to look pretty cool, too. Come see us to find out how you can score a pair.
4. Take A Night Off
Every event is chock-full of social events in addition to all the sessions (did you hear DJ Jazzy Jeff is spinning at Marketo?). After your long 8-10 hours of learning, they roll out the cocktail bar and the networking begins. Then there are dinners, concerts and club parties that all usually include a lot of booze and run until around midnight. And they’re really fun (and a great way to network) but just how many of these late nights combined with early mornings do you think you can pull off before you burn out? You’re not 22 anymore. Seriously. Generally, you’re not coming to these events on your own; you’re coming with someone else from your team. Maybe a whole crew of you! So we think your best bet is to divide and conquer. We recommend everyone take at least one night off to stay in, order room service and maybe even rent a pay per view flick to really recharge and disconnect. (Hotel robes also have been shown to increase relaxation by about 23%, so get comfy.) Nights like these are going to get you through so that by the last day, you’re not completely checked out already.
5. Use Fly Time Wisely
Man, you are going to log some serious miles this month. Get ready for airport connections, delays, weather and middle seats. Or hey, maybe you are the charmer who sweet-talks their way into first class every time (hint: flight attendants like chocolate). Either way, you’re going to be spending a lot of hours at 41,000 feet. You could watch all the latest inflight movies—twice—or you could do something a little more productive with your time. Most airlines these days have inflight wifi (for a fee, sure, but that’s definitely expensible) allowing you to catch up on emails and communicate with your team back home easily while in the air! And hey, if the wifi is down or you’re flying a budget airline that doesn’t realize it’s the 21st century yet, you can still log some quality “office hours”. Sometimes it’s even easier to write blogs and compile reports and presentations without the distracting ping! of never-ending incoming emails.
6. Take Care of That Body
Some of the most successful leaders in the world insist that making time for physical activity each day has an overwhelmingly positive impact on their productivity. Sure, you’re probably shaking your head as you review the upcoming conference agenda wondering where on earth you’re going to squeeze in some treadmill time. But again, we’re going to say divide and conquer here. Book yourself at least 1-2 sweat sessions where you can really just unwind and focus on your body, instead of that mind of yours that’s likely overflowing with new information, ideas and inspiration. (Great—but exhausting!) Take your new green kicks for a jog around a city’s downtown (it’s a great way to explore) or try a local favourite fitness hangout—like Barry’s Bootcamp in Nashville (my personal favourite). You’ll feel so good about yourself and have so much more energy to head back to that booth and keep up the hustle!
We’d love to hear what events you’re going to be at this season. Are you coming to any or all of the same events as us? We’d love to meet you there! Keep an eye out for our booth at each event and come say hi. (Hint: We’ll be the ones in the green runners.)
Here’s to surviving, and maybe even thriving this conference season!
Learn more about our booth location and speaker sessions at all the upcoming events this spring.