B2B Events in 2015 – Where to Go and How to Learn

I have been to a lot of marketing events, on both sides of the booth. It can be difficult to apply the things you learn at these events to your own situations, but here are some tips to help get more out of the events when you get to go as an attendee, not a sponsor. Also, as we close in on Spring event season, there’s a list of some of the best B2B marketing events to look for in 2015.

event pin image1) If you go, be present.
This is a no-brainer, but how do you expect to get anything out of an event if you aren’t paying attention? We’ve all been there … we lobby to be able to go to an event but when we get there we sit in the back and answer email during every session. If you aren’t going to be present at the event, why did you go in the first place? It’s a waste of your time and your company’s money. If you are going to have your laptop open, then set it up to monitor the social media feeds at the event. See what people are talking about, and participate in the conversation. Pay attention and tweet from your sessions. Not only is it a great way to snag helpful information from sessions you couldn’t attend, but also to connect with like-minded marketers.

2) Try to get your boss to attend with you.
Sometimes it can be hard to articulate the value of what you learned at an event to your leadership upon your return. Have you considered trying to get them to attend with you? It’s difficult to instigate change without support, and it may be easier to garner that support if your leadership team saw the same sessions that you did.

3) Empathize and Imagine.
If the speaker is not from your industry, it does not necessarily mean that their point of view is not valuable (or applicable) to your situation. When I ran the Salesforce.com User Group in San Francisco, for example, I loved to hear how the non-profit organizations were creating innovative solutions on very tight budgets. I had little in common with them on the surface (other than slim budgets), but sometimes their case studies and use cases triggered ideas and thoughts that pertained to some of the issues I was dealing with. Don’t pass on a session simply because the speaker is in a different industry – take advantage of the opportunity to hear from practitioners that are at the top of their game.

4) Plan on presenting what you learned to your team when you return.
If you attend an event and don’t share your learnings with your team (or apply them to your job), what was the point? Summarize the sessions you attended and discuss them with your team during a lunch and learn. Unsure what to present? Take a look at the Twitter feed from the event and sort through the ideas that your fellow attendees thought good enough to share, then interpret them for your team in the context of your company. How you do it is unimportant, as long as you transfer the knowledge from the event to the rest of your team.

5) B2B Marketing Events to Watch in 2015
Unsure where to go this year? Here is a list of some of the events ANNUITAS will have a presence at in 2015 … as a speaker, sponsor or sometimes just as an attendee.

  • Content2Conversion February 16 -18, 2015 Scottsdale, AZ
    This event just ended yesterday – but definitely look ahead to 2016. Interesting and unique in that it focuses on B2B content marketing strategy. Great show.
  • Oracle Modern Marketing Experience March 31 – April 2, 2015 Las Vegas, Nevada
    Whatever happened to the Eloqua Experience? Oracle is bringing it back, in Las Vegas this year. Only this time, it is about the entire Oracle Marketing Cloud and not just marketing automation. A great opportunity to connect with (and learn from) some of the folks that have really learned how to get the most out of marketing technology.
  • Marketo Marketing Nation Summit April 13-15, 2015 San Francisco, California
    Marketo’s annual user conference, worth attending simply because some of the brightest stars in marketing automation innovation will be on hand, sharing best practices and charting the course for Marketo’s next move.
  • Marketing Innovations Summit April 29-30, San Francisco, CA
    Put together by B2B marketing technology platform Demandbase, this one makes the list because of its focus on a fast-growing discipline within B2B, Account-Based Marketing. If you are interested in learning more about shifting to an Account-Based marketing model, this is the place to go to learn from the leading practitioners in B2B that are actually making it happen.
  • SiriusDecisions Summit May 12-15, Nashville, TN
    The only analyst firm dedicated exclusively to B2B, the attendee list to this event is a ‘who’s who’ in B2B. Smart analysts talking B2B with marketing and sales leaders from across the world.
  • Content Marketing World September 8-11, 2015 Cleveland, Ohio
    One of the most consistently entertaining and high-quality shows out there. I have never gone and not learned a lot. Anyone who is anyone in content marketing strategy (B2B and B2C) is at this event. And Cleveland rocks.
  • MarketingProfs B2B Forum October 21-23 Boston, MA
    Is this the granddaddy of all B2B marketing events? Quite possibly, as they have been talking B2B over in Boston for as long as I can remember. Anne Handley and the MarketingProfs team know their business. Consistently a quality event, worth attending.

Author: Jason Stewart @jstewart_1 is Vice President, Strategy for ANNUITAS

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