The Real Reasons We Attend Conferences

Conferences, seminars, expos.. it seems to be that time of year again and I find myself facing another round. Those of you who follow Charli Says will know that I like to provide an honest snapshot of the digital marketing industry and this article will be no exception. So what are the real reasons we attend conferences?


Back in the 80s and 90s there was definitely a point to attending a conference. You got to connect with industry influencers, attend workshops, meet clients and give out those all important business cards. Now it’s 2017.

You have connected with your influencers on Twitter, attended your chosen seminars (usually for free) online and chatted with your customers on Skype or Messenger.

Conferences can cost thousands to attend but if you’re an employee then the cost is not usually your concern, so here’s what I think we attend them for:

#1 Great Food

Conferences and expos are often hosted in nice hotels with a great breakfast, lunch and maybe even dinner included. Forget the usual tuna sandwich on brown at your desk.. now you can go wild and enjoy a long lunch featuring prawns, a Chinese buffet, some unnecessary but delicious fries and some deserts which you promise you won’t touch and then end up gorging yourself on. Hungry caterpillar meets conference buffet? Yes indeed.

#2 An Escape From The Office

Sitting in an office from 9-6 every day can be really tedious and an expo or conference provides a legitimate escape. Not a sick day, not one of your precious vacation days but a legitimate and real reason to be out of your office ALL DAY! You will probably still check your emails remotely but doesn’t it feel so much nicer to do so whilst sitting by the pool and sipping something mojito like?

#3 Free Stuff

A few colleagues of mine who shall remain nameless recently attended an expo purely to get free stuff. Yes that’s right… people actually do that! In fact, they turned it into a bit of a looting competition as to who could gather the most stuff. Umbrellas, pens, usb sticks, mouse mates and sometimes something a little bit special like a miniature golf set… you know who you are!

#4 To Meet Friends

Meeting friends… ooops sorry- networking is one of the main reasons we attend conferences and seminars. Often your friends will be working in the same industry as you, in my case marketing, and so we will all end up at the same expo. After the obligatory wander around the hall (twice if you’re really good) it’s time to grab a coffee and catch up. Actually, this is one of the main reasons I attend – although some of it is professional networking… a lot of it isn’t!

#5 The Parties

Conference parties are really fun and a great chance to dance the night away. For many of us, attending a VIP party gives us the chance to dress up and socialise with our peers which can actually lead to making new business connections (strange but true). I met a Facebook founder at one such party… he was sipping sparkling water on a purple couch and we talked about melons … true story!

Don’t get me wrong, I am a serious marketing professional but if I’m honest most of the connections I make and business I do is online and not at a conference. Will I still go? Absolutely… a girl can never have enough pens can she?

What do you think of conferences? Tweet me @Charli_Says