How to Choose a Conference like a Pro

It’s a jungle out there.

The sheer number of events, conferences, and promotional opportunities can make the most seasoned marketer pause. It’s incredibly difficult to parse through; how do you efficiently evaluate  what fits your strategy, what is likely to move the needle, which events and opportunities is it OK not to invest in? It boggles the mind. I lived those dilemmas when I was in marketing and marketing operations.

Take general cardiology. In our most recent update, we identified more than 50 associations of cardiologists, and 150 organizations in the US that ran, or are planning to run, events in cardiology. Each with its own angle, subject, theme, audience profile.

1 Specialty-1

There is almost an event every other day. Just for one specialty.

So… how do you prioritize? I’ve seen teams  repeat what has been done; teams who attempt to honor all requests, until they run out of budget (and energy); teams who hand it all off to their agencies to decide.

It doesn’t have to be this way. I’ve developed a framework, and I’m sharing it with you today.  It has served me well, and I believe it will help you too.

A simple framework

Three questions to consider about every event:

  • Your Needs:  Does it align with your goals?
  • The Organizers: Are they good partners? 
  • The Fit: Can you execute successfully? 
Your Needs The Organizers The Fit
  • Is the event happening in geographies that you want to invest in?
  • Does the event offer  good opportunities to engage with your stakeholders?
  • Is the event happening at a time when the business need a boost, e.g., around a launch, a campaign reboot, etc?
  • How credible is the  organizing institution?
  • How easy or difficult are they to work with?
  • Will your stakeholders be there?  
  • Can you quantify how many?
  • Can you afford it?
  • Can you meet timelines?



OK, so what now?

  1. Get a list of relevant events.
  2. Look at the checklist above for each opportunity: score “0” for “no”; “1” for “maybe”; “2” for “definitely”. 
  3. Add it up to get to a score

.The highest scoring opportunities are the ones you should consider first. . 

Now you have a data-driven selection process that you will be able to defend at your next budget or performance review.   

Stay tuned for our upcoming post: how to select specific opportunities at an event.


Get our free conference selection template now

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