Having spent close to 14 years studying the conference landscape, I am frequently asked for my opinion on the top ten best [retail, healthcare, thought leadership] conferences. While I could easily name a dozen great conferences within each vertical market, I always hesitate to create a single list for one simple reason: the best events for one company or speaker are not necessarily the same for another. One of the big misconceptions in speaker program management is that you should work from a set list of conferences as you plan out the year. The trouble with this approach is that the event landscape changes so frequently that you will likely miss several great opportunities – or worse, find yourself at an an event that is no longer relevant, popular, or well attended. Instead of relying on a Google search for ‘Top Ten Conferences,’ I suggest you do some due diligence to determine which events are the best for achieving your business goals.
Every speaker program or event participation strategy must map back to clearly-stated objectives. Are you trying to get your brand in front of a specific audience segment? Are you trying to build an executive’s personal brand? Is your aim to network with senior level IT executives? Once this is determined it is critical that you investigate the events that will put your speaker or brand in front of the right target audience. Other considerations that should not be overlooked: Based on the attendee or speaker lineup from the past few years, do you have a realistic chance of being invited to participate? Considering the topic coverage and or current conference theme, do you have an interesting or unique idea that could fit into the agenda? Does the timing and location of the event make sense within the context of your goals, travel schedule and budget? Finally, is there a membership or registration requirement for potential speakers/attendees?
Only by doing your homework and comparing the conference details with your stated speaker program goals will you be able to truly determine the top ten events that are best for your organization.