Conferences, and Why We [Should] Love Them

Q2 is over and all of the chaos has, for now, died down. You rally all of your employees for townhall, as they’re ready to impress and show off their can-do attitudes. In reviewing your calendar, you realize a conference is approaching and you need your team to attend.

Should you?*

Conferences have become increasingly popular amongst businesses since 2010. Attendance has skyrocketed, with a projected growth of a whopping 44% by 2020. 

According to Linkedin, in the United States alone, the conference market is estimated as:  

500K events in a year

120MM people attend in a year – 60% go to more than one

Attendance growth of 5.8% per year

Worth $150B annually

Ticket price average for conferences (as opposed to trade shows/expos) of $1500, trade shows/expos average around $100

With such an expansive market size, companies have developed a clear understanding of what comes with attending various conferences. And every year many businesses globally allocate funds to mingle with the industry. But with so many other avenues to sharpen employee skills (google, podcasts, blogs, books, webinars, and now, youtube) why bother to spend the market average $1500 to attend?

Accountability.  A key reason to attend a conference is to maintain accountability with employees. Companies frequent conferences to promote new ideas while networking with other industry professionals. Because of this, attending employees will be looked to as the expert on that subject, thus holding them accountable for any information presented. In return, employees should be prepared to assist in the development of the overall direction and vision of their department. Attendees should also hold themselves accountable for nurturing key contacts, offering training outreach, and contributing valuable insight.

Value. Often times, when asked why companies should attend conferences, the first response usually sounds a lot like “for networking purposes.”And there is a lot of truth to that. But in order for a business to willingly send employees out of office for days at a time–on their dime–they must see value in attending. To recognize a need and be interested in attending a conference, of course, companies should be driven by networking and building relationships. But there are also a plethora of other reasons to attend. Maybe an important speaker, competitor, subject, or outreach method will be provided at the conference. Maybe launching new innovations to like-minded industry peers will give your company new ideas within itself. Or maybe the company simply wants to increase brand visibility amongst top-performing brands. With a market size as expansive as this one has become, companies must see value in their presence and that value should exist within three reasons: networking, information, and opportunity.

Visibility. Speaking with industry peers is probably one of the most underestimated requirements of being successful within a role. A mentor once told me that in business, wherever you aren’t, your competitor will be. So being in an environment where people who think and innovate within the same realm as you, is vital for progress. This means, having your logo and/or name in the industry’s space as you should always seek industry visibility and guidance. How will we develop ideas? How will we stay relevant? In regards to trends, what are “they” doing? Find purpose in attending to learn how trends stack up against your direction and how you can apply them to your own quarterly strategy. 

More and more, companies are finding reasons to attend conferences for team accountability, visibility, and value. So when the quarter ends and you go to work to see a conference on your calendar that you need your team to attend: should you? Yes.

QuestionPro attended the 2017 IIeX North America Conference in Atlanta, GA from June 12-14 to launch QuestionPro’s latest capabilities Canvas and Conversational Forms. To request a project quote, email


Charmin White, Marketing Manager

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