How to Get the Most Out of Analytics Conferences

by May 1, 2019

Developing a Conference Strategy

Episode #113 of Digital Analyt­ics Power Hour: Getting the Most Out of Confer­ences, with Tim Wilson, Moe Kiss, and me (Michael Helbling),  centered around the role of confer­ences in the work life of the analyst, and what place confer­ences have in the devel­op­ment of the analyst. How do you get the most value out of them, and how do you convince your company that it is a worth­while cost for them to send you to develop your skills? 

There’s an art, and maybe even a science, to getting the most value out of a confer­ence expe­ri­ence. The func­tion of going is to learn and network with peers in the indus­try and to provide some compar­a­tive points of view to help synthe­size your own think­ing on topics that you’ve been working on or think­ing about.

Value for You

  • Have a strat­egy for the confer­ence: What am I plan­ning to do, or accom­plish? Set a goal for how many people you will intro­duce your­self to, because if you are intro­verted like me, and need to mentally prepare your­self for intro­duc­tions, then take the time to plan.
  • Have ques­tions prepared for the specific people you want to meet: There is value in prepar­ing your ques­tions ahead of time so you utilize your limited time with them wisely.
  • Don’t be afraid to walk out of a session: You (or your company) have spent a lot of money to attend the confer­ence, you should get the most out of it. If you need to walk out of a session because it’s not right or you think another section might be better, then do it!
  • Network: you should be exhausted at the end of any confer­ence and you should have spent the bare minimum time in your room even though you desper­ately want to recharge. More often than not, you start to have the discus­sion and then within a minute you found some sort of common ground and you’re having a good discus­sion.

Before you can enhance your career with all the learn­ing and network­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties confer­ences have to offer, you have to convince your company to send you. Even if you work at a company that invests in their people, you still have to make an effec­tive case for why your atten­dance at a specific confer­ence is going to add value to you and the company. In essence, the deci­sion is one of compar­ing the choice to spend the dollars for the confer­ence against a multi­tude of other oppor­tu­ni­ties to spend those dollars that may have a more obvious return on invest­ment. Even in large enter­prises, money is not endless.

Value for your Boss

  • Iden­tify the other brands or (indi­vid­u­als within compa­nies) that will be there that you can learn from: Use your competi­tors as an incen­tive.
  • Deter­mine how you will bring the value back to the company: Does that come in the form of train­ing and knowl­edge for you, educa­tion for the team, or some combi­na­tion of both? Or perhaps your atten­dance could take the form of research to under­stand oppor­tu­ni­ties in the market, better under­stand who is doing well and what are they doing that could help drive your own company’s strat­egy?
  • Give options to your boss: Don’t fixate on one event or confer­ence. There are often multi­ple ways to achieve your main goals for attend­ing a confer­ence. Research­ing all the options’ pros and cons, and offer­ing alter­na­tives to your boss commu­ni­cates thought­ful­ness and flex­i­bil­ity, which will appeal to their better senses.

Once you have thought through your approach and the value propo­si­tion, go get that approval, and I hope to see you at the next analyt­ics confer­ence!

Listen to the Full Podcast

Check out the full podcast Getting the Most Out of Confer­ences, and many more insight­ful topics on the Digital Analyt­ics Power Hour website.

Note from the editor: Some awesome analyt­ics confer­ences that you will find some Serch Discovery team members at this year and next!


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Multi­ple Search Discovery employ­ees have chosen to pursue their inter­ests and enthu­si­asm for their respec­tive disci­plines by creat­ing or co-creat­ing podcasts. While these podcasts are inde­pen­dent initia­tives sepa­rate from Search Discovery’s corpo­rate efforts, we are proud to have team members who are commit­ted to sharing their exper­tise and engag­ing in these discus­sions. Check them out: Michael Helbling and Tim Wilson are part of the Digital Analyt­ics Power Hour team, Noah Omri Levin is the creator and host of Digital Market­ing Life, and Jake Stoops and Jeff Louella run the Page 2 Podcast for SEO.

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