Conferences, Tradeshows, and Forums—Oh My! Choosing the Best Solar Events in 2020

January 22, 2020

To attend or not attend? That’s the question that faces many marketing leaders as they plan their events schedule for the year ahead. With finite budget, time, and energy, you can only attend so many, even for large companies. Before you commit, consider the following four questions:

Does the Event Have the Right Marketing Fit?

Break out the trusty three Cs of marketing: customers, company, and competitors. The right event will either connect you to appropriate customers or benefit your current customers. If the event won’t address the needs of your target customers in some way (even indirectly), don’t go. The right event will also improve the skills of your attendees and help build shared knowledge. If the event won’t build the skills, knowledge, or culture of your company, don’t go. The right event should give you insight into your competitors, even if it’s the realization that your competitors should be there but aren’t. If the event is completely irrelevant to your competitive landscape, don’t go.

Will an Event Address Multiple Marketing Goals?

​Some events may be smaller, such as industry forums focused on a specific topic. Others are huge bonanza tradeshows, filled with educational programs, exhibitor halls, and social gatherings. To get the most from your investment, choose events that accomplish multiple marketing goals. Will it connect you to new customers? Can you network across an industry? Will it develop your reputation for thought leadership and innovation? Will it give you insight into your competitors? Does it give you an opportunity to test or announce a new product or service? Whatever you want to accomplish, select an event or a mix of events that gives you the most holistic value.

What is the total cost of attendance?

Plane tickets, entry fees, and hotels. Don’t stop there. Remember to consider all potential expenses (both corporate and personal) related to your attendance: uniforms or apparel, nametags, dry cleaning, giveaways and promotional swag, business cards, stationery and office supplies, snacks and food, exhibitor displays, client meals, taxis and trains, passport or visa fees, tips and gratuity, printing and mailing services, extra baggage fees, medicine, gas, wifi, haircuts and grooming, customs and tariffs, makeup, luggage, electronics, insurance, and more. It’s all coming out of someone’s pocket, even if you can’t expense it to a corporate AmEx account. Understanding the total cost of attendance for everyone involved will help you select and plan for the best events.

Does the timing work out?

After all the above thinking and planning, even a great event may be poor timing. Look at calendars, both corporate and personal. Understand the sales or production cycles of your company, and don’t commit yourself to being elsewhere during a crucial moment that requires your presence of mind and body. Likewise, consider holidays, promises to friends and family, health, and other commitments to your personal well-being that are important to you. This is the moment to talk with colleagues and direct reports. Make sure the people you choose to attend will be present and healthy to take best advantage of the event. Otherwise, it’s a waste of time and money.

Need advice on which events you should attend in 2020? Or help creating a dynamite tradeshow marketing plan? Contact Corbae Creative today.