To Conference or Not to Conference?

I’m not sure about other industries out there, but in the software industry there seems to be an endless number of conferences around the world each year that all seem advantageous for one reason or another. Upon opening my eReader every day I am constantly bombarded with references to, comments on, re-caps of or announcements for different conferences. To me, a relative newbie in this space, they all seem incredibly interesting and informative, but beyond that are they really worth it?

 

That has been the burning question around the office for the past month. With our new market research platform set to be released in a week we’re amping up marketing initiatives to promote our ground breaking product Recollective. One way we thought to do this (as well as to network and educate ourselves) was to choose a conference that would allow us to share what we’ve been working so hard on. It just so happens that TMRE in Orlando, FL not only coincides with our launch date, but is also a perfect industry fit for us. Was this aligning of the stars fate? Probably, but that doesn’t mean that it was an easy decision to decide whether or not to go.

When deciding to attend a conference there are so many variables to take into consideration:

  • Cost - whether attending or exhibiting at a conference, cost is perhaps the biggest factor. Especially if flights and accommodations are necessary expenses, attendance can be very costly.
  • ROI - from a share holder’s perspective, what is the projected return on investment? This is sometimes hard to determine, therefore hard to justify the expense of attending.
  • Time - especially in a small company, losing one or more employees for a few days significantly cuts down on production and (wo)man power in the office.
  • Relevance - even if a company has a large sum of money set aside for conferences, there are so many out there that it is very important to choose the right one to attend.

The list goes on, but I’ll stop there. While searching the interwebs for answers to those questions I was faced with numerous blogs that list the 10 Reasons Why You Should Attend a Conference in Person, provide Do’s and Don’ts for conference frequenting, and provide helpful tips on how to get the most bang from your conference buck. From reading various forum posts it seems that some people seem to swear by them, while others think they’re pretty much a waste of time. There doesn’t seem to be a clear yes or no answer out there for whether or not attending conferences is advantageous.

So how do you decide if it’s right? Careful research and planning.

  • Take a look at the agenda to see if there are enough relevant and informative presentations to justify attending.
  • Review the attendee list to determine the networking potential.
  • Check out how it was received and rated by attendees from previous years.

That being said, I’ve kept you all in suspense for long enough. I know the question on everyone’s mind is, are we going to the conference?

The answer is yes, and we couldn’t be more excited about it! Alfred Jay, our CEO, Phillip Dame, COO, and Simon Chen, our resident conference expert/enthusiast and Senior Consultant, will be gracing the sunny state of Florida with their presences to attend The Market Research Event from November 7-9. For all of you attending you can find them at booth 809. All of us back here in cloudy Ottawa look forward to following along with them... but from the comfort of our Aeron office chairs. In the coming weeks you can be sure that we’ll have lots to report on different presentations, Recollective’s reception and the conference as a whole. Also, look out for up to the minute #TMRE tweets from @RamiusCorp and @Sylc.

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This entry was posted in Qualitative Research, Recollective, TMRE