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Ask The Experts

July 11, 2024 |

Which Channel Events, Tradeshows and Conferences Should I Attend?

Need help on how to plan your strategy effectively? Amy Bailey shows you how to evaluate and select which shows will give you the best industry insights and connections.

Trying to determine which channel events, industry tradeshows, and conferences to attend depends on your role and what you are looking to get from the show.

If you want to connect and network with potential customers, there are some shows specifically designed for that. However, most IT channel partners want to meet with channel executives, learn about the latest products to offer their customers, and gain industry insights and business best practices.

There are thousands of events in the channel, and it’s challenging to dig through and find the right fit.

Here are some ways to plan, evaluate, and navigate the landscape of channel events.

Define Your Objectives

Before you even start looking at conference options, clearly define what you hope to achieve by attending these events. Do you seek to:

  • Gain insights on the latest industry trends?
  • Network with potential clients or partners?
  • Enhance your team’s skills through training sessions?
  • Promote your brand and services?

Having clear objectives will help you filter out events that don’t align with your goals.

Research Event Reputation, Evaluate Agenda

Look for conferences that have a strong reputation and a history of delivering value. Check out reviews and testimonials from previous attendees. LinkedIn groups, industry forums, and social media can provide candid feedback about the quality of the events.

It’s also important to review the event agenda and the list of speakers. Are the topics relevant to your business? Are the speakers well-respected experts in the MSP field? High-quality content and renowned speakers are indicators of a valuable conference.

Networking Opportunities

One of the key benefits of attending conferences is networking. Look for events that facilitate this through structured sessions, workshops, and social activities. A well-organized conference will offer plenty of opportunities to meet and connect with industry peers, potential clients, and partners.

Cost vs. Value of Channel Event

Evaluate the cost of attending the event relative to the value it provides. This includes registration fees, travel expenses, and time away from the office. Too many clients forget to include the time away from their office as part of the expense.

Amy Bailey of Unusually Unusual Consulting

Amy Bailey

Channel events typically have a schedule that runs from dawn to way beyond dusk. Can someone at your office step into your shoes while you are away? What is the overall impact on you not being able to quickly handle issues?

Size and Scale

This element can impact your experience. Large conferences offer a wide range of sessions and networking opportunities but can be overwhelming. Smaller events might provide a more intimate setting for meaningful interactions. Decide what atmosphere best suits your objectives.

Post-event Benefits

Consider what benefits extend beyond the conference itself. Does the organizer provide access to session recordings, presentation materials, or an online community? Post-event resources can be incredibly valuable for continuing education and reference.

Industry Alignment

Ensure the conference aligns with your specific industry segment and interests. MSPs operate in diverse fields, so an event focused on cybersecurity might be more beneficial for you than one on general IT services, depending on your specialization.

Reach Out to Your Network

Don’t hesitate to ask your network for recommendations. Colleagues, partners, and even clients may have valuable insights into which conferences have been beneficial for them.

By carefully evaluating each event against these criteria, you’ll be better positioned to select conferences that offer the most value for your business.

Amy Bailey is owner of Unusually Unusual Consulting. She’s a distinguished event planner and marketing consultant recognized for her expertise in organizing everything from intimate networking events to sushi-rolling classes to large corporate summits. She also actively contributes to the tech community, including serving as president of the Alliance of Channel Women. Read more about Bailey’s impressive background on channelWise.

Read more Ask the Experts columns here.

Have a question? Email our experts now!

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