I was able to catch up with recent first-time iMedia Summit attendee Melanie Phung, Director, New Media at PBS Interactive, to get the "real deal" scoop on her experience at the iMedia September Brand Summit in picture perfect Coronado, Calif. Her insights are valuable for any new attendee to an iMedia Summit.
Q: What are three tips for first-time attendees to the iMedia Brand Summit?
1. Spend the time to pick your appointments thoughtfully
As a first-time attendee to an iMedia Summit, you may downplay the importance of your one-to-one appointments, but the adage "you get out of it what you put into it" applies even more to your scheduled meetings. While the task of filling out your appointment schedule may seem like a chore, you're much better off doing research into your appointments up front; otherwise you'll be wasting your time, as well as the sponsors', sitting through meetings that aren't useful to either party. In addition to putting thought into whom you'll be meeting with, come prepared to your appointments. Know what kinds of services your company is and isn't considering, and be ready to ask questions. Chances are you'll learn a lot, and you may just find a couple new strategic vendors to help you take your marketing to the next level.
2. Bring business cards and get ready to meet new friends
Get ready to make friends. iMedia Brand Summit attendees are high-level professionals just like you, which means you're very likely to have interesting and useful conversations with everyone you talk to -- as long as you're present and engaged, communicating, and sharing. Maybe it's that everyone is more relaxed when surrounded by peers, or maybe it's the sun and surf, but everyone I met was extremely open, welcoming, and generous with their time and knowledge. Remember to bring plenty of business cards so you can keep in touch with your new network after the Summit is over.
3. Go to the Marketers-Only Day!
As an in-house marketer, I found the sessions and discussions during the optional Marketers-Only Day among the most relevant and valuable. This is billed as an optional day, and because it occurs over the weekend, it's tempting to skip it. Don't! It's your opportunity to learn from high-level brand marketers who have faced, and possibly already solved, challenges similar to what you may be facing. You can talk honestly about what you're working on within a friendly community of peers, without any sales pressure.
Unlike many other industry conferences, the iMedia Brand Summit has plenty of scheduled down time, so there's no need to sneak away from the sessions to hold meetings or relax.
Bonus tip: Sign up for the activities early!
All work and no play is a waste of an amazing venue! If you're not paying attention, you can easily miss the sign-up for popular activities (like a catamaran ride). Your pre-Summit communication will tell you what's on the agenda, but you'll miss out on the most popular extra-curricular events if you don't plan ahead of time.
As you can tell, a key theme for my advice to first-time Summit attendees is: Come prepared.
Q: What was the best part of your Summit experience?
My favorite part of the Summit was getting to speak candidly with other brand marketers. Rather than thinking of other attendees as potential competitors, or vendors as salespeople to be avoided, I was really encouraged to view everyone as a potential partner or ally in my success.
Q: In one word, how would describe the Summit?
Fun-formative! (It was too hard to pick a single word, so I'm going with a portmanteau of fun and informative!)
Thanks to iMedia for the opportunity to attend the conference and to share my experience. Until next time!
For any inquires on how to get an invitation to a future Summit, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.