How To Ace Your Next Tech Convention

October 6th, 2017 by inflectra

If you are a software company, you probably market your products at trade fairs, conventions and such. We recently went to one and decided to share some lessons learned on how to make the most of your time, $$$ and how to maximize ROI.

1. Know your audience:

Once you’ve found a conference that serves your business goals, define what your aims are (sales, awareness, leads generation) and then do your best due diligence to understand the profile of a typical attendee. Once you have created that ideal conference attendee image (because you want them to buy from you, at some point, right?), tailor your presence and set an objective of creating value for them, while creating a positive connection between your business and their needs.

2. Have a fresh message:

So, you dusted off your fliers, your swag and your banner.  Now think of a fresh message just for that conference and its attendees. Show the people who stop by at your booth something new and exciting about your product or make an exclusive offer valid for those who engage with you.  

3.  Strive to make a connection, not a sale:

If you are a techie, you are not exactly comfortable selling stuff in the first place, no matter how #awesome you think your software is (and ours is super awesome, if you don’t mind me saying). For the love of coding, put aside that sales pitch and talk about what you think is so great about your product, and it will stick with your listeners. Make that your elevator speech, if you must, but make it authentic and concise.

4. Speak and network:

(This one is fairly self-evident, I suppose) Gone are the days when just sponsoring a conference and having a vendor booth gave you visibility. Today’s busy and overstimulated humans need an extra nudge to remember you. Create value by securing a speaking spot and sharing your insight with the conference goers. If possible, invite questions after your remarks to give more genuine and unscripted view of your achievements and failures. Also, make time for networking: breakfast, lunch and dinner – talk to people, ask and answer questions. While you are at it, hang with other vendors, see what they are pitching and take notes.

5. Logistics and swag:

Starting preparations early and knowing the conference setup will carry you halfway to success. Hop on a call with an organizer and have a walk though of the numerous conference events as early as possible. Do not make a mistake of assuming things and always (and I mean always), read the contract. Swag, naturally, is the shortest way to peoples’ hearts – so, splurge a little on something a bit more creative. But don’t just hand things out to just anyone! Instead, have your booth guests do something symbolic for you – sign up for a newsletter? Follow your company on linked-in? All good options. If you are going with t-shirts (I know, a staple but also a failure of imagination) label sizes for ease of distribution as time will be in short supply.

6. Talk about it:

Social media is your friend, so make sure you get your followers excited about the event by making your pre-conference planning and your attendance the marketing gold. Make playful clips and take photos showing the spirit of your company, showcasing your booth, conference speakers and attendees, and do not forget to give shout-outs to organizers and hosts! People love to be recognized and social media has no rivals in letting masses know about your best friend(s) from such and such conference.


This is all for now.  

To recap:

  1. Know your audience
  2. Seek speaking arrangements
  3. Network with attendees
  4. Have an elevator speech and practice it
  5. Tailor your message to the audience
  6. Have a list of competitive metrix for your product
  7. Add value to those who come to your booth
  8. Do not over-sell
  9. Have booth visitors do something for you, even if it is just asking nicely for a t-shirt.

Even if you are a newcomer to both marketing and tech, decide that you are going to fake it until you make it. And good luck -  you will do great!


Do you have other ideas? Share in the comments section below. I'd love to hear from you!

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