How to Get the Most Out of Industry Events

I was fortunate to attend dmexco in Cologne, Germany last week. Drawing more than 24,000 attendees who present, learn and network, dmexco is the largest industry event in all of Europe. To put that number in perspective, ad:tech New York anticipates 9,000+ attendees in November this year. dmexco is a true trade show, like those you hear about from your parents or grandparents. Everyone in attendance seemed to be on a winner-take-all mission to impress, sell and buy at levels we can only dream of in the US.

This atmosphere struck me as a real contrast to the popular US events often held in Vail, Park City, Palm Springs and Miami where there’s a strong focus on cocktail hours and parties. Of course these smaller events have different goals and a different kind of value for participants. They enable networking on a deeper level, with smaller groups of people and opportunities to engage in longer conversations, often by the pool or on the golf course.

At dmexco, I was struck by the sheer efficiency of a single show bringing together companies and people from all across Europe to a single venue. It was amazing to see and it made me wonder if we actually need so many conferences in the US covering all things digital. After experiencing how much can be accomplished in a mere 48 hours, I left the show with the goal of incorporating the efficiencies I witnessed into other events throughout the year. Here are a few tips on getting the most from any industry event:

  1. Approach the conference with a sense of urgency. How much can you learn, how many meaningful connections can you make?
  2. Have your pitch ready and well-rehearsed. Don’t be shy about using it.
  3. Come prepared with a list of companies you’d like to connect with. 
  4. Commit in advance to the sessions that will challenge your thinking
  5. Keep the conversation going outside of the sessions. Continue to discuss important topics with fellow attendees who will likely have different perspectives on key industry themes. 

As the 10th annual Advertising Week is going on as we speak, I encourage everyone to use their time wisely. Have a great week!

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