March is a busy month for IT channel road warriors. My calendar is back-to-back with travel to The Channel Company’s Solution Provider Xchange, Ingram Micro’s Cloud Summit, CompTIA’s Annual Members meeting, and—I almost forgot—the IDC Directions event in San Jose. It’s a lot to juggle, and if you don’t play your cards right and plan in advance, it could be a colossal waste of time—not to mention exhausting for you and your immediate circle of business associates, friends, and family.
- Engage the sponsor.
- Block out your time.
- Download the agenda.
- Don’t skip out on lunches and socials.
- Bring staff.
- Network pre-event, during the event, and post-event.
- Talk business with your vendors.
- Take notes and share your experience.
- Make time to review what you learned.
If you come to the event with an agenda, stay engaged and work to be seen and heard, the takeaways will be obvious, and your time will be well spent.
Tips for hosting an event
If you’re hosting your own event or series of events in 2015, here are a few tips that will help ensure it’s a success.
- Venue! Don’t underestimate the value of a great venue. Wine bars, steak houses, and car museums are always a good draw. If you’re hosting a partner or customer appreciation event, think outside the box. For example, one of our clients, PlanetOne, hosts one of their partner appreciation events at Spring Training each year.
- Pick a compelling business topic. Talking about technology is expected, but showcasing your knowledge about what business problems the technology solves is what will draw in the decision makers.
- Prepare for your event weeks in advance. Be sure to assign a team member or two to ensure accountability and execution.
- Make customer and prospect attendance part of the sales quota. And get your entire staff involved.
- Incentivize the sales and technical teams to close deals resulting from the event.
There’s more to be done, but this short list will help you get started. Also, be sure your timeline for planning starts a minimum of six to eight weeks out. You can find more detail around a play-by-play marketing comms plan, including event templates such as email invites, in Intronis Essentials.
As president and founder of WhiteFox, Marie is recognized throughout the IT channel for her straightforward, business-minded approach to channel marketing, PR and communications. With more than 15 years of experience in the IT channel, Marie is a friendly face at industry events and a respected advisor and colleague to many of the channel’s most innovative companies and business partners. Marie launched WhiteFox Marketing and Communications in 2005 with the vision of bringing channel relationships, marketing, PR and communications to the forefront of companies’ business growth strategies and tactics.