Here are some of the reasons that I heard why do you go to a conference or event:
It’s free – that seems to be very important to some of the group of guys because they wouldn’t go to an event if they had to pay to attend.
Has vendor area – the vendor area for some of us is a great networking area and a place to see what is new in the market place. For the guys it is a spot where they can pick up the numerous freebies that are being handed out (t-shirts, pens, chargers, notebooks, etc). I am not sure how many of any of these items you can really use.
Food – now this is something that I found interesting. The guys were saying it is very important to know which events are going to be providing food especially lunch and breakfast or dinner at the event. Yes, the food seemed to be one of the things that was key to if they attended or not.
Reception – at some events there is a networking reception and that is where you can mix and mingle with other attendees and also the presenters and vendors. There are times where you will get drink tickets and then there are times that is is open bar (wine and beer) and sometimes there is even snacks available. This was another important factor if this group attended or not because without this why bother.
Again these are the observations that I got from listening to a group of guys talk about going to the various conferences and events. They were also sitting and comparing the different events that they were either invited to attend or knew about and then they would spend each other emails with the information. Yes, it seemed like they were trying to make sure that they had lots of various events to attend so that they didn’t have to worry about meals.
One point that did almost make me laugh was when one guy said that free events were ok but if he could do a focus group instead he would. Now focus groups are normally for someone that has an interest/opinion in a specific topic, store, or such. To this guy it was a means of making some money and he didn’t care if he was interested in the topic or not as long as he got paid to attend.
In summary what I found out after listening to this group of guys is that they only attend events where there are things for free. Meals, drinks and giveaways are the top items on their list and if it is just a meeting where you sit and listen to talks and maybe get a meal they are less interesting. See to them the actual giveaways either through the vendor areas or prizes are the end are what they are looking for. To me, I am not going to go to a conference based on the meals, drinks or giveaways but will go if the conference will assist me in some way with our business.