We all know the drill. As marketers, we go to events, enjoy the content, the networking parties, the free swag, and the speakers that give us all the marketing feels – maybe even to the point of goosebumps, or if they were exceptionally moving, tears. Hello, Mel Robbins from Marketing United 2018!
In addition to all of the fun and inspiration that events and conferences can bring, events are built on tangible takeaways and new marketing ideas. Here are a few tips for staying focused on the content and proving that your attendance was a valuable company investment by bringing home tangible takeaways to your team.
1. Take notes
Okay, okay. This might be an obvious one. But we’re not talking about typing short snippets on your phone, or grabbing a nearby napkin. We’re talking about the old school pen and paper, make sure to include a title, instructor, name, and the date on top, kind of notes.
Whether you’re taking notes during sessions or reflecting on the content after the day is over, try this strategy: make two lists.
The first list should reflect what the speaker says. Note: It’s often helpful to include examples to jog your memory later.
The second list is all about your business. What stood out to you from the presentation? Were there specific concepts from the presentation that were especially relevant to your business?
2. Soak it in
The schedules at conferences and events are always jam-packed and often leave little time to catch a breath.That said, if you can, try to find time to review your notes and round out your thoughts before you leave and the craziness of traveling and returning to work clouds your memory.
What were the moments during the last few days that you just can’t let go of? What were the ideas, concepts, or speakers that most excited you?
Many marketers sing the same song. It goes something like this: “There is so much we could be doing, if only I had _____.”
Resources whether that is time, people, or budget often hold us back from acting on every single idea that crosses our desks. So, we have to prioritize.
It’s important to prioritize big ideas from an event for two reasons.
The first is simply because you probably can’t bring every single thing you’ve learned to life. You’ll probably have to choose what is most important to your business right now, and store your other ideas away for later.
The second, and most important reason to prioritize your conference ideas is so that they will actually get done. Selecting and committing to a small number of projects – I’m talking 3 or less – right after an event will help hold you accountable for actually completing the work.
4. Build a project plan
Once you’ve returned from an event, try to create a project plan as quickly as possible. This will prevent your ideas from slipping too far down on your to-do list and help you start to see tangible results right away. Creating a project plan is also an easy way to pitch a project to your boss.
When building a project plan, keep in mind the following things:
- Project Milestone: What is the big “event,” of your project? A milestone could be launching a new campaign, publishing content, etc.
- Deliverables and tasks: Once you have a project milestone documented, think about the larger pieces of the puzzle that need to be completed in order to achieve that milestone. We like to call these deliverables because they are generally associated with delivering a specific scope of work, on a specific date. To take it one step further, break down deliverables again into the individual tasks that someone on your team will need to complete to achieve the deliverable. For example, if this blog post was one deliverable, drafting the blog post copy and editing the blog post copy would both be tasks.
- Roles: As you start to build out deliverables and tasks, think about the members on your team. What roles will they play in completing this project? Do you have the necessary skill sets on your internal team? If you’re not sure on this one, let’s talk!
- Time frame: Rather than throwing a blind dart to your calendar, take a look back at your project milestone and propose a date you’d like for that event to take place. Then begin to back into it by assigning due-dates to the deliverables based on how long they will take to complete. Once you’ve made through all of your deliverables, you’ll have a good idea as to how long this project will take to complete.
- Budget: What are the costs associated with this project? Know up-front if you’ll need to ask for additional budget in order to complete this project.
Events are a great way to gain new marketing knowledge, as well as connect with other marketers – so don’t forget to look up from your notes, and introduce yourself to someone new!
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