Don't just learn the tricks of the trade. Learn the trade.
- James Bennis
In the never-ending season of budget cutbacks and layoffs, it's harder and harder to justify attending educational industry conferences - especially for corporate meeting planners. But if you have truly selected event marketing as a career path, and not just a job, you must find ways to stay relevant and keep learning your trade.
Personally, I get to pick one event industry conference per year that my company will cover, and I must do any others on my own dime. However, I find the content, networking, and environment so inspiring that I make sure I do attend more than one per year.
This year, I have the added benefit of getting to present at two of them! On June 11th, I'll be at PCMA in San Antonio talking about Strategic Meetings Management Programs, and July 15-17, I'll be at CEMA Summit in San Diego talking about the New Realities of Branded Conferences, as well as presenting a session on Social Media 101 for event managers.
But attending conferences outside of my own profession is highly inspirational, as well. I love going to corporate events that my company attends to take in and explore ideas (not just focus on making sure my booth setup is going well). I truly enjoyed the "Study Tours" of Oracle Open World and Dreamforce that CEMA hosted last year. And I'm very sad that I missed the one for SAP Sapphire - I REALLY wanted to see that one!
In March of this year, I spent a little time at SXSW, Austin's famous Interactive, Film, and Music festival, taking in the buzz, plugging into the socialsphere, and absorbing the creativity.
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending the Word of Mouth Marketing Crash Course in Austin, an event I highly recommend to all event marketers who have an interest in social media and guerrilla marketing.
What other not-exactly-event-marketing conferences inspire you?