Now I know a lot of you already attend 'Networking & Industry events' (mea culpa) a few people 'feel' they seem to work.
For avoidance of doubt I'm also a firm believer that business deals get done and finalised in the 'real world' with face to face meetings, so lets agree that I accept that no one has ever done a business deal purely on social media (except for social commerce, but that's another blog entirely), however we can definitely evidence that more and more business deals are being started on social media.
This Blog takes a more detailed view on why you should consider options with a proven ROI during the sales funnel stages.
If this resonates with you I would be very interested to hear your views and comments.
I was reading this article from 'The Guardian' (link below), and I have to say quite a lot of it resonated with what we at DLA have been saying for sometime, as a result we now practice what we preach.
"Most professionals are not getting a good return on their investment of time and money when attending networking events.
This is because people have entirely different objectives when it comes to networking. Most events are mixing bowls for professionals who are there for different reasons, whether it be signing up a new client, meeting prospective employers, creating awareness for their business, or connecting with someone in the hopes of developing a mutually beneficial relationship".
I'm also beginning to build the same view when its comes to industry related events, you know the ones I mean, 'Digital Event this, Technology event that, Marketing Expo, Accountancy & Tax event for, well, who?'
Don't get me wrong these types of events employ an awful lot of people, both directly and indirectly, the venues, travel, hotels and hospitality businesses have to fill those 'capacity' requirements somehow don't they?
If you operate in the big 'corporate world its just expenses and budget right?.
So you set about trying to convince your company that in order to 'stay ahead with whats new and relevant to our growth', it's vitally important I fly to New York, Las Vegas, London, Tokyo, Sydney etc for a 2-3 day industry event with all the ensuing cost of travel, hotels, meals, Oh, and don't forget the jibes from envious colleagues in Finance who think it's just another fun jolly for the Marketing, Sales, and IT people, and really can't understand why you can't just attend a 'Webinar'.
Meanwhile back in the real world of SME's (Small, Medium Enterprises) there are companies with very little revenues who have bet the next 6 months on being an exhibitor at these events, I know I was 'Spartacus'.
They succumb to the 'event promoters' message, "there will be X 1000s' of potential clients, attending, it's a must attend gig", they tell you that the attendees are all going to be desperate to have a 'one to one' convo with you, your now convinced they will get their sales order books out and BINGO, the next 6 months pipeline is magically filled........really?
All this with relatively the same cost as the guys with the big corporate budgets mentioned earlier, only this time you have to include the cost of the stand, the people to man it, don't forget 'entertaining' the next BIG client who can have a lie in the next morning because his company are paying him to attend, and then crossing your fingers it all pays off, because you also just threw in a weeks missed attendance for you and your attending colleagues from your day jobs.
Lets be honest, its because of FOMO (fear of missing out) its the way its always been done and now you're locked into a cycle of having a stand, speakers etc.
So, why do you do this to yourself, your employees and company?
If your true to yourself, you want to attend because there is a little bit of the 'get out of the office' syndrome, visit somewhere that the company can pay for, and ego. On a personal level you need validation from external sources that helps you reinforce the stereotypical internalised thinking that's holding you and your company back, all this so you can go back to the office with 'The Next Big Thing'.
We know companies that have been to these events, bought XYZ software, tools, and seminars, most of which are either sat gathering dust on the balance sheet (no one really wants to change from the old system) or the 'Become a LinkedIn Guru in 2 hours' seminar and you got got excited about what was going to alter the way you and your company do business, but it’s now lost it's 'lustre' because herding cats isn't what excites you, so you went to back to 'business as usual'.
So, If your a company or member of the leadership team whose budget forks out for all of this expense, why do you keep doing it?
The great news is, it doesn't have to be this way, the world of 'Social Media' is already changing the way companies like yours are doing business, and networking.
Fact check: Events, Exhibitions and Industry bodies NEED people and businesses to attend - that's the business they are in.
Sanity Check: It's NOT the business you are in.
Let's agree that all networking and industry events are done solely for the business benefit of the event organiser, if you get something out of being an exhibitor or attendee it’s also a benefit to the organiser to help promote the next event, and find other suckers to do the same thing as you did.
Where it starts to get very interesting is its also one of the reasons that online Industry Newspapers and Magazines, and now 'Social Media platforms' (BIG CLUE) need great content, they need eyeballs - that's the business they are in.
Notice I said 'great content', not content dressed up as an advert?
Part of that evidence it that you are reading this blog, just like many others - including your competitor!
We don't do outbound pushy, spammy, salesy marketing, so if you would like to explore more, please contact the author of this blog.
We have very little control when we attend networking events organised by others. We usually don’t know who will be there and when we do, we can’t be certain we’ll connect with the people who would be most useful for us to meet. This leads to results that are unpredictable at best.