Which Events to Attend in 2008?

Where Should a Small Shop Spend Its Time and Money?

By Published on .

Doug Zanger Doug Zanger
This year, we were exposed to a couple of events and conferences that opened our eyes quite a bit: Advertising Week and the ANA Masters of Marketing Conference in Phoenix. Since we're radio/audio-focused, this was new territory. In some ways, it was overwhelming. However, the ideas gleaned from such a high level of expertise, we found, were very valuable an important as we figure out who and what we are going to be.

As of today, there are 22 industry events listed on adage.com's industry events page for January and February alone. This doesn't include anything local/regional or anything on other websites. Most, of course, are highly targeted and industry/medium-specific, but there are some really great opportunities out there.

As of now, we are committed to four events in 2008 where we will run "pop-up" radio stations. But it feels different when we're actually working it instead of just attending it. Though we garner a great deal (and "pop-ups" are part of our business/growth plans), we're not as deeply immersed because we are focused on making sure everything runs smoothly.

The question, however, is which events are the most beneficial to attend? The 4As in March looks good. CES in Vegas is always a kick. The North American International Auto Show looks like something we should probably go to. The challenge is to figure out where we're spreading ourselves. Since it's vitally important to ensure that clients are taken care of first, does it even make sense to go to any of these? Or, could the wisdom learned by a few days be highly beneficial to a client's growth and development? Is it more for the networking and less for the knowledge? Or, could that networking lead to something even better for a client?

Since we're small, we have a little more latitude in choosing where we go. However, travel and registration expenses can rack up very quickly. My best guess at this point is to just focus on what we're working on so far and let the rest of it all naturally fall into place. That said, I could be completely wrong and there may be some events or conferences out there that we just can't miss. The big questions are: What events/conferences do you attend and why? What do you get out of them and how does that affect your business?

Who knows? Maybe we'll see you at the ARF Convention and Expo in April.

Contest Winners
The "Can the Corporatespeak" contest is over and we have our winners. The winner is Mike LaMonica, senior VP of Beber Silverstein Group in Miami. He chucked the rules, got creative and sent this over:

Subject: I'm glad you extended the contest as I was out of pocket.
I wanted to helicopter up with my embarrassment of riches hoping this will move the needle and give you the most bang for your buck. To capture the mindshare of your demo and be your true marketing partner with an intrusive, breakthrough full court press, we should cherry pick the low-hanging fruit.

We'll do the heavy lifting up front because this will only be news once. First we'll drill down to your year-over-year objectives and focus on the aspirationally chic D.I.N.K.S. The RFP/RFI/RFQ/ ITN isn't a problem, it's an opportunity to make dollars work harder because it's an investment, not an expense.

Our response will be ownable, accountable, have a long shelf life with value added and the nuts and bolts will change the landscape and level the playing field. Down the road we'll push the envelope with award winning non traditional guerilla media, page stealers, and a liberal use of white space. The push will be a front-loaded, server crashing effort with depth and breadth to saturate to the point where viral word of mouth will work even when you're not on the air.

We'll burn midnight oil to change the mindset, up the conversion rate. We'll do lunch and your money's no good near me.

In lieu of the HD Radio, per Mike's request, we are going to donate 3 Freeplay Lifeline radios in his name. (Learn more.) That said, we're still sending him an HD Radio. He earned it.

Second place, and $100, goes to Richard Jacques of Tampa Bay. The use of "turn Mr. Washington into Mr. Lincoln" tipped it in his favor.

Receiving the coveted third place Red Lobster gift card is Cristin Curry of New York. "Circle back" meaning "leave me alone" was priceless. Attitude like The Agency Tart's will get you everywhere in this world.
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