It’s about a 3 min. read.
Knect365’s (formerly IIR) TMRE conference is the diva of the insights conference world—from October 17th to the 20th—you can expect thousands of attendees, six tracks running simultaneously, and terrific keynote speakers like Freakonomic’s Stephen Dubner. All of this adds up to a significantly higher price tag, so let’s talk about how you’re going to communicate conference ROI to your CMO.
Plan prior to the conference:
- Write your elevator pitch: Whether you’re reserved or chatty, you’re going meet a lot of new people at TMRE, so take a minute to prepare your elevator speech:
- “My name is ___ and I work for ___, the makers of ___.” If you work for Amazon, people understand that, but if you work for SC Johnson or Coca Cola, specify the product line.
- “In the coming year we’re focused on improving our ___, and for that we’re interested in ___.” Here’s an example: “We just finished up a big journey study, which will help us drive the right messages to the right people at the right moments.” You can follow that up with something like: “In the coming year we’re going to do a lot of messaging optimization and concept testing to bring those moments into focus by segment.” That’s your hook, and your reason for the conversation you’re having.
- Next comes your question. You’ve offered a bit about what you do, but who are you talking with? If they are a peer or competitor, ask, “How about you?” That’s it. You need to bring this information back to your company. If they are a supplier of research, ask, “How would you approach this if you were pitching to me?”
- Highlight the agenda: Figure out which sessions you want to attend. Tip: I circle my agenda based on who will be speaking vs. the topic itself. I want a mix of dot com, financial services, technology, healthcare, hospitality, and consumer goods, so I circle every brand that interests me and then I go back and take a look at the titles. If I’m interested in mobile/geotagging more than dashboards (or vice versa), then I can narrow it down from there.
- Block your calendar for the October 17-20 dates: Activate your out of office message and be sure to mention that you’re WORKING offsite all day. At the price of any conference, it’s really a crime to be dialing in to staff meetings or writing emails in your hotel room. Plan ahead…if you have a big deadline, consider moving it. The Conference ROI of you missing the conference…it’s not pretty.
During the Conference:
- Recap 3 of the sessions in writing so you can talk specifically about the cases during a future lunch and/or a staff meeting: It is not enough to just go and listen to each session and then when you return to the office proclaim, “the conference was great.” You need to listen fiercely, with pen or tablet in hand, and write down who spoke, what they said and how it can be useful to your business. This is key, you need to find a way to weave in at least two of those three sessions into your future behaviors. TMRE should CHANGE the way you think, and the only way change happens is if you bring it on yourself.
- Make a few new acquaintances (and connect on LinkedIn): Because you need to keep actively learning in and across industries, use TMRE to expand your network. One of our clients recently told me, “I’m painfully introverted so I just go to the sessions.” But how are you going to remember that incredible speaker from ___ or that kind person from ___ unless you connect on LinkedIn? It may seem awkward, but when it comes time to look for new methodologies, share best practices or recruit new hires, you’ll be happy you connected with a wider net of people. Companies can get insular, so TMRE offers you the opportunity to interact with people you wouldn’t typically meet.
- Bonus tip—take a photo of yourself with one of the famous authors and share it with your CMO: OK, you don’t NEED to do this, but you need to come up with one visual representation of you at work and broadening your horizons at the IIR TMRE. Best-selling authors including Stephen Dubner (Freakonomics, SuperFreakonomics), Zoe Chance (Better Influence) or Francis Glebas (The Animator’s Eye) will be there, so you can check out at least one of those books prior to the conference. Or you can take a picture of the stage for one of your favorite sessions and share that. A picture tells a great story!
Julie blogs for GreenBook, ResearchAccess, and CMB. She’s an inspired participant, amplifier, socializer, and spotter in the twitter #mrx community, talk research with her @julie1research.