October is convention month for marketers, and those in the MarTech world have had a number of ideas to share. Having just chatted my way through two of the conferences in Boston, there are a few marketing truths I find these marketing conferences reinforce.

Everyone’s on their phones. After getting walked-into by several 30-year-olds on their phones, I started to lament the fact that marketers used to be the most fun folks to talk to. Then I watched a few look up from their phones to use a funky backdrop to make Boomerang GIFs of themselves to share. They’re all talking to fellow conference members on apps, and are taking the conference moments and broadcasting it around the world. I was the one not being social by abstaining from the app.
Lesson: Your customers are on mobile devices. You need to be there, too.

Bozoma Saint John might agree that she and I are both loud and OK with self-promotion.

You’ll believe folks who are like yourself. If all things were neutral, there would be never be so many white males over 45 running marketing, marketing conferences or software companies. While there’s nothing wrong with white men, they don’t reflect all points of view – and way too many panels have zero female representation. At Inbound, the very loud convention/conference/promotional days run by HubSpot, care was taken to bring in a number of women like former First Lady Michelle Obama and my childhood hero Billie Jean King. I found myself gravitating to Uber Chief Brand Officer Bozoma Saint John, who is also brash, loud, also doesn’t think self-promotion is bad and also has funky hair (hers is cooler; mine is just unruly). You might not think looking at us that we’re alike but I think she’d disagree. I think she’d agree that the only thing keeping some conference participants from being the star of the conference is opportunity to share wisdom — and it’s everyone’s loss when more wisdom isn’t shared.
Lesson: Your message doesn’t need to resonate with everyone, just future customers. Getting diverse points of view will help you reach them.

Laptop, MBTA subway pass, name tag, power strip. I’m ready for a conference in Boston.

Everyone gravitates toward power. Whether you put your electrical outlets at the front of the room to fill up the seats near the speaker or you put them near the shop where folks buy conference swag, you’ll attract people at conferences by putting whatever you want their eyes on near the electrical outlets. Granted, there are a few customers who know what they want and don’t care where you’re offering it, but you can help yourself by moving the people physically where you want them.
Lesson: Find out what you can offer the customer to get his or her attention.

Attentions drift. Conferences often have speakers and screen animations that verge on the silly to get everyone’s attention, but most attendees will be able to tell you about the one horrible session: The hungover presenter, the speaker without an agenda, the 30-minute history lesson that could have been a tweet. When you’re talking to folks who are there to listen to you, you need a point to make and then you need to make that point. Otherwise, you’ve lost your audience.
Lesson: Launch your campaign only when you’re ready to make an impact.

Sure, there was other stuff I learned, like Workfront gives away the coolest T-shirts, and maybe we should let the .PDF die a dignified death, but marketing conferences will move us all forward by combining new knowledge with what we already know.

Kat Powers is Editorial Director at CabinetM.

To learn ways you can share your wisdom at CabinteM, contact Erica Ross at eross@CabinetM.com

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