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Convention-al Wisdom: Be a Pro at Cons

Discussion in 'UnGagged Las Vegas' started by Zombiesmasher, Oct 30, 2017.

  1. Zombiesmasher

    Zombiesmasher UnGagged forum moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Nov 26, 2015
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    If you’ve attended any type of conference before, you know the drill: the best parts happen outside the speaker sessions.

    I’ve been going to Digital Marketing conferences for 14 years or so, from the old SES Google Dances to the legendary New Orleans PubCons and, honestly, much of the conference material was obsolete by the time I got to the office on Monday. But I can remember almost every party and networking event. Some evenings would unfold into madcap adventures reminiscent of an 80’s frat party while other happenings would forge friendships worthy of Stand By Me.

    Obviously, I’m not saying the sessions aren’t worth attending. In fact, at UnGagged we take extra care to ensure the content is exclusive and not common knowledge the next day - hence the no recording or tweeting aspect. The sessions are what keep attendees coming back every year, but the conference as a whole is an experience that might just change how you relate to the industry. Yeah, you’ll learn something, but if you’re not careful, you might accidentally gain new business opportunities and expand your network. Just by attending.

    There are over 400 events scheduled through 2018. That means plenty of opportunities to get out out there, learn something, and leave your mark. But if you really want to make the most of each event, you’ll need to lay out a plan of attack.

    So whether you’re attending UnGagged, or if you’re looking to try something smaller or closer to home, here’s some basic things to consider for making the most of your Con days.

    Check out a Masterclass

    If they’re available, it’s always good to take advantage of any additional masterclasses. Outside of the conference sessions, they’re an easy way to get some in-depth knowledge on a subject. You’ll also gain top-level expertise, and get specific information relevant to your case. Presenters generally go into how they implemented certain processes for their businesses at the level of detail you’d expect from a one-on-one tutorial.

    Mingle with Other Marketers

    Networking can be a challenge at large digital marketing events, especially those with an overly corporate agenda. You can't talk during lectures, and sometimes it's hard to meet people organically between meetings. One way to get more "speed networking" in is to take full advantage of transition events like breakfasts, lunches and any sponsored drink sessions. You'll find most people attending these events are also looking to make new connections in a casual setting, so you’ll be in good company.

    A bit of shop-talk over a quick bite to eat or drink can be much less stressful.

    Soak up the Knowledge

    Lectures are the bread and butter of digital marketing conferences and, typically, will make or break a Con experience. Before attending a session, it’s good to check up on the presenter as some might not be 100% invested in the topic if it’s outside their area of expertise. In my experience, speakers sent to conference on behalf of big agencies or software might try to plug products a bit more, so check out their background.

    Lectures might also take the form of expert panels. These sessions include individuals from top agencies discussing a key industry topic. This can be more interactive than straight lectures as many panels allow audience members to field questions.

    And if you’re 15 minutes into a session but the topic isn’t grabbing you, there’s no shame in quietly leaving and finding a more suitable session. Don't be afraid of playing some musical chairs until you find the right content.

    Search for New Opportunities

    Conferences bring together tons of like-minded individuals who are there to learn and make new connections. They’re also a great place to be seen while scoping out the field for new opportunities.

    As part of their offering, digital marketing events planners often set up meeting areas where attendees can hold quick talks. Setting up meetings in advance is the best way to approach networking at marketing conferences as many attendees will be too busy to schedule a last-minute meeting.

    In person, you can promote your personal brand and give that new connection a sense of your personality and how you work. Don't forget to bring your business cards and a tablet to show off any work.

    In short, Marketing conferences present the opportunity to show off your product or skills, make new business and partnership connections and learn about cutting-edge marketing tactics.

    If this has whetted your appetite and you're chomping at the bit to attend a marketing conference, why not register for our next event on SEO and digital marketing in Las Vegas this November 13-15, 2017!

    Get Your Con-on here: UnGagged Las Vegas 2018 | UnGagged London 2018

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  2. milano5657

    milano5657 Registered Member

    Mar 5, 2014
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    Very fortunate enough to be a Vegas local and be going to my first ungagged. Looking forward to learning a lot and hopefully a lil more if I buy a few rounds for someone during the mingling ;) haha. See everyone there.
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