Marius Marin attended several advertising conferences in 2022 so he can tell you all about them!
We all want to discover new and interesting things that will help us in our daily work. And periodically comes THAT conference that looks like it will be just what you need. And yet, you never quite make it. We all do! All except Marius Marin, Reputation Manager @ Minio Studio, who made sure he didn’t miss any of the important ones, so he could tell us what and how the industry is still talking about!
Is it worth participating or not? Especially as this was the first year after the pandemic, when the organisers were brave and did it offline.
I like to learn continuously, from any experience I take something useful, new, I draw a conclusion to put into practice at the right time and as a PR man I believe that from any event, conference or workshop you can leave with extra know-how, learning and, why not, with many notes.
Beyond that, you are connecting with people and specialists – from different professional areas and fields. From communication and PR people, influencer marketing managers, digital and social media specialists, brand managers etc., everyone comes with their own work experiences, examples of implemented campaigns, lessons on what went well and what didn’t in what they did, why they chose a certain influencer, why they thought of their PR campaign in a certain way, how they amplified a certain project and so on.
As much of my work is related to influencer work, I feel I have a professional obligation to keep abreast of what’s new, what’s trending, to keep track of what’s coming up, what X has done, what approach is coming up online, what’s happening in the industry.
We’re also caught up daily with on-going campaigns, things we need to get done, calls we need to make to clarify things, proposals, follow-ups, reports, etc., that when you have a day just for learning & networking, you really want to make the most of it.
How to select which conferences to go to?
- I choose what I know I am interested in: I go for those that are dedicated to my areas of interest, namely PR and Influencer Marketing. I also like the Social Media part because it is related to online PR and influencing and, if I have the opportunity, I also attend events dedicated to digital, brands or CSR and employer branding areas.
- I research who else is coming: I look to see which speakers have been announced, what topics will be covered, whether there are debates involving interesting people, whether there is applied discussion on case studies of campaigns.
- I make sure it’s a good place for knowledge-sharing: I also like to hear from colleagues from other agencies about how they’ve done certain projects in the market, what their vision is, how things worked out for them, why they chose that mix of influencers, or even from clients about the challenges they have.
What kind of conferences do you prefer: Online or Offline?
Offline, that’s for sure. But I don’t say no to online either and I’ll tell you why. When I can go, I prefer to attend in physical format because:
- it’s an area where I work with people, involving other people, to communicate things to certain people (like a human triangle);
- I can connect directly with people, we network, maybe even form partnerships and collaborations. It’s about human contact, you’re chatting over coffee with someone in the event room, it’s not just you with your coffee by your laptop (so the perspective is different);
- I can see all sorts of interesting BTL activations, I can see what new brands are coming to events;
- and you learn things on the spot. In a way, it’s like at school: it’s one thing to introduce the teacher in front of the class and another to watch the teacher at the laptop, where something buzzes, the sound drops, the image bluffs.
And yet, I’m not ignoring online either. In the pandemic it was the only solution and somehow I got used to it, that’s how I managed to attend events and stay connected to trends and what’s happening in the industry. At the same time, when I don’t make it to the venue, during the day I keep my headphones in my ears and listen to what’s being presented, what’s being discussed. So it can be done, even if it’s not the same.
In whatever form it takes, I actually feel this is the main gain – by participating I stay connected with the industry.
Do’s and don’ts for conferences?
- Follow the speaker from the stage and write down the main ideas and conclusions of the presentation. Don’t bother taking photos of the slides, most of the time organisers will email all the presentations after the event;
- Ask questions: if you have questions, curiosities and something you want to clarify, understand what the speaker meant, how he/she solved it. Both during the Q&A and at the coffee break, speakers are more than open to discuss with the audience based on what was presented;
- Notice what’s going on around you – who else is attending and interacting with other people;
- See what you can “borrow” from what you’ve learned, maybe even learned, and apply to your own projects;
- Look at how things are organised: you never know when you’ll be organising an event yourself, and there are components you need to take into account but haven’t thought about until it’s too late (sound, IT, video projector, photographer, cameraman, catering, brand integration, etc.);
- Avoid checking your phone, replying to messages from MS and sending emails: the important thing is to be 100% connected with what is happening and being discussed there.
Dont’s – things noticed this year:
- DON’T leave your phone on loud, mute it (it happens more often than you’d think);
- DON’T talk loudly to whoever is sitting next to you to avoid disturbing others;
- DON’T write down EVERYTHING you see in the presentations, because you won’t get it right – you can’t write it all down, pay full attention and remember what the speaker said at the same time;
- DON’T tell yourself “I’m NOT going to talk to client x / influencer x because I’m embarrassed”.
What were the most interesting conferences you attended?
Of all the conferences in 2022, both offline and online, the ones closest to my interests were PR & Communication Summit, and Webstock. But from all of them I had something to learn, whether it was new information, a tool to help me in my daily work or a discussion with one of my colleagues. I also invite you to read the material, which we are about to publish.