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5 Tips to Surviving a Marketing Conference

Tue, Sep 15, 2015

HubSpot Inbound Marketing

Last week I attended HubSpot's annual Inbound conference. It's not a conference for the company, but rather for the Inbound movement itself. But really, it's a HubSpot conference.

Having reconnected with friends, former coworkers and clients, I also landed new business and met a ton of prospects. Nothing like introducing yourself after a session to the speaker, and then having others waiting to talk to him ask for my card, because they too need a web designer on call.

Though it's been three years since I left HubSpot, and I worked there for two, this was my first Inbound. Actually, it was my first marketing conference. I left there with such an overwhelming sense of excitement to be back in the office, to put in place what I've learned and to start a discussion with those I can help.

That said, I wanted to share my top five things I did right and will do again next year. These aren't things I learned from sessions, but rather just attending in general.

Have a great bag.

I found myself bringing a number of things for spending all day, every day at the conference. From mobile devices to headphones to the various swag I obtained, my bag held it all. I could easily pack away everything and be on the move to the next session quickly, or whip out the Chromebook to take a look at someone's site. My bag is an Osprey Jillpack Courier.

Use a Chromebook.

My laptop's charger is packed away in a box, slowly on the way back to my house. Thus, it was a good thing I had already ordered an Asus Chromebook Flip and didn't have to stress about not having a device larger than my phone. I'm typing this article on the Chromebook now. It's fast, has a rediculously long battery life and handled everything I threw at it, including heavy coding, being left on all day and reconnecting to the wifi everytime I flipped it open.

Wear sneakers.

The first two days I was in business attire, and my feet paid the price. By the third day I couldn't take it any more, and switched to wearing sneakers. I was able to get to sessions quicker without my feet screaming in pain, which meant better seats. I no longer minded the walk around the building and outside for the food trucks.

Take an Uber.

All week I was taking the commuter rail into town, and then using an Uber to go from North Station to the convention center. Sure I could have taken the T fairly close and then walked, but aforementioned feet issues meant the less walking, the better. Honestly the time and stress savings of using Uber instead of the subway far outweighed the cost of surge pricing at night.

Use a form to collect contacts.

Last but not least is the one marketing-related thing I did that made my Inbound experience better. That is, create a form that doesn't track cookies to enter in all those business cards you're going to collect. I did this on the first day, after I had gotten several cards, and it meant not having to enter the new contacts manually in the system. Instead, First and Last name, persona and email address went into the form. I can throw away those cards now with the knowledge that they're already in my marketing system.

Those were my five tips on surviving a conference, how about yours?

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