To Attend or Not to Attend….

With tight budgets, a lot of thought needs to go into deciding what events to attend, exhibit, or sponsor to make the most of time and funds. But where do you start? There are events that bill themselves as "must attend," those where you know all your competitors will be, ones you truly enjoy, and there are untested events that have dynamic speakers. How do you decide where to spend your time and money?

As this article states, first consider your goal for attending. What do you want to get out of event attendance? What can these events provide you that you cannot get anywhere else? This could be one or a combination of the following:

  • Networking - This can mean a number of different things. It could be about meeting new prospects or vendors. It could also be a place where we meet with established contacts - maybe it's an annual event that provides the one time a year for face to face meetings with trusted colleagues. It could mean access to thought leaders. It could even be an opportunity to recruit new employees.
  • Content - Is there material being presented that is of interest and will help you do your job better? Is this in-person event the only place to see/hear it?
  • Competitive intelligence - Is there a unique opportunity to find out what your competition is planning by attending an event?
  • Brand recognition - Will your absence be noticed and will that impact how people see your company (not committed to the industry, not having money to attend, etc...). Is there a lack of competition there? Can you stand out as being one of the only companies in your space with a presence?

Looking at the list think about which of these goals are most important to you. What do you really want to get out of event attendance? Then match up the events that are of interest with these key goals. Will they help you achieve the goals? There will be some work to do to break through the marketing promises to what the event can deliver. We've got a post coming up that will provide some tips for getting intel and the "real story" on what these events really can offer. But once you are able to match up events with specific goals, making investment decisions becomes easy.

We'd love to hear from you. How do you decide where to put your event dollars?


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