Conferences… Bigger Isn’t Always Better

Conferences… Bigger Isn’t Always Better

Last week,  I attended a one day conference in NYC with a client to provide onsite PR support and facilitate the press interviews we had secured. It was a small event, much different from the big trade shows that I’m used to, but this presented some key advantages…

A more targeted audience
– instead of scanning everyone’s badges to fill up email databases, we were able to have conversations with people who were actually interested in the services my client provides. People weren’t rushing around trying to fit in discussions with as many vendors as they could; they only came over to talk if they were seriously interested. An audience of 200 could much more easily work the room than the thousands that flock to larger shows.

Greater visibility – having four booths instead of 50 meant that we were seen by everyone and everyone was seen by us. My client’s logo wasn’t tucked behind a giant mega-booth, but was clearly visible from every corner of the room. The company name was prominent on all event signs and sponsorship materials, not squished amidst 20 some odd vendors, vying for attention, as is often the case at larger shows. People knew we were there and our presence was recognized.

You don’t miss a thing – one hall, one audience, enough said. At larger shows there may be interesting panels going on at the same time in three different halls. Since it’s impossible to be in three places at once (I know, I’ve tried…), conference attendees usually have to pick and choose which panels they want to attend, but at these smaller events, you don’t have to miss any interesting sessions since none overlap and you get to see them all.

Time is money – like this event, many smaller conferences only last a day whereas the larger shows pack as much as they can into three to five days, leaving the audience utterly exhausted. After an event like that, I usually need a couple days to recover, especially if you have to factor in longer travel time. However, this one day show was just enough to make attendees feel like they gained value without needing an extra 12 hours of sleep and full body massage to recover.

Perks – not only did we get a delicious buffet lunch, but a nice coffee and cookie break as well! All included? You bet. We all love the SWAG (stuff we all get) that’s present at every conference and trade show, but as soon as the conference gets too big, these kind of superior perks go away and attendees are left to fend for themselves, scavenging for customized pens, USB sticks and multi-colored stress balls.

Been to any smaller conferences lately? What do you like best?


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