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Your 2017 Resource Guide to Digital Marketing Conferences

Your 2017 Resource Guide to Digital Marketing Conferences 351x200 Your 2017 Resource Guide to Digital Marketing Conferences

The smell of networking in the air. Booths freshly stocked with promotional items. Business cards at the ready. Anticipation mounting. You know what that means ‒ it’s almost conference season!

Every year, in nearly every industry, businesses organize conferences that attract the best and brightest professionals. Attendees and speakers share knowledge, network, and mingle in an effort to stay up-to-date with trends and remain on the cutting edge of innovation.

If you’ve had a chance to attend a conference you know that it can be a bit overwhelming, with many decisions to be made: Which sessions should I go to? What booths do I want to make sure I visit? Which speakers do I want to meet? And, of course, who will I sit next to at lunch? (Let’s face it, some things never change.)

In this guide we hope to dispel myths, share resources, and highlight a few helpful best practices so you can get the most out of conference season.

Marketing Conference Resources

The value a conference can provide is often centered on its relevance and application to your current job and future career prospects. Additionally, cost, audience size, and digital presence should be taken into consideration. Digital marketing conferences offer a multitude of options. So, where should you start?

Throughout the year, Act-On Software attends, speaks, sponsors, and hosts events, trade shows, and webinars that support customers and partners. Check out the Trade Shows, Networking Events, and Education Sessions page to get started!

Another great place to start is with this amazing marketing reference provided by MarketingTerms.com. Sean O’Rouke created a very helpful collection of the top conferences to attend in 2017 (178 so far). Best of all? It’s in a sortable and handy Google Doc that’s updated regularly and provides more resources than just information about conferences. Check out the free trials, tools, calculators, podcasts, blogs, and forums, in addition to finding a conference that interests you.

Niche Marketing Conferences

A niche conference might be the right way to go if you’re specifically focused on marketing one particular industry. Here’s a list of a few to get you started on your search.

Healthcare Marketing Conferences

Higher Education Marketing Conferences

Legal Marketing Conferences

Sports Marketing Conferences

Construction Marketing Conferences

Nonprofit Marketing Conferences

More Nonprofit Marketing Conferences

Financial Marketing Conferences

Banking, Money, and Finance Conferences

Food Marketing Institute Conferences

Real Estate Conferences

Senior Living and Assisted Living Conferences

Marketing Conferences by Discipline 

Instead of looking at conferences by industry, perhaps you’d rather target a specific discipline that’s more in line with your needs and the type of niche you want to focus on. From CRM and email to affiliate and mobile marketing, there are plenty of conferences with specific focuses. Check out a few resources that may help:

Social Media Upcoming Events

Top PR and Digital Marketing Conferences

Enterprise Mobile Marketing Conferences

Affiliate and Internet Marketing Conferences

eCommerce Marketing Conferences

Content Marketing Conferences

Guides to Marketing Conferences 

Still looking for a bit more guidance on which conference to choose? These resources are sure to help! Don’t forget to check out the comment threads on these articles; they’re chock full of additional resources.

Complete Guide to Marketing and Sales Conferences in 2017 by MariaMilea.com

Internet Marketing Conference Calendar by BruceClay.com

Marketing Conference Guide by DigitalThirdCoast.net

2017 Marketing Conferences by Digimarcon.com

A Survivor’s Guide to Attending a Marketing Conference by VerticalMeasures.com

Marketing Events in the United States by online.marketing

Once you’ve selected the conference you’d like to attend, it’s time to do a little preparation so you can get the most out of the experience. The following tips will help you optimize your time as an event attendee.

10 Tips for Thriving at Your Next Marketing Conference

#1 Work the room before you’re in the room.

Make sure to learn about the conference in advance of attending. Visit its website and social profiles, join any groups on LinkedIn, and follow Twitter lists and other online areas ripe with information. Start engaging with other attendees and get your networking started before you even leave for the conference.

Get to know the agenda, session tracks, history of the event, and location. Schedule your calendar once you’ve decided which sessions you want to attend and outline an itinerary for yourself. This will help you stay organized while you’re at the conference and ensure you a spot in the sessions you want to attend. Plus, you might just impress your boss with how organized and excited you are about attending the event.

#2 Keep a pulse on the event online.

Digital marketing conferences almost always have a heavy online presence. Monitor any conference hashtags, Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, and more. Keep your eye out for special giveaways and promos that sponsors might be running. Do free crab dinners, private 1:1 sessions with your favorite speaker, limo rides, or VIP access to clubs sound appealing? Then trust me, it’s worth the investment of time to scour social media before you attend.

#3 Set goals you want to achieve by attending.

Specific, actionable, measurable, and timeline-oriented goals are often the most effective. Think about what you want to get out of the conference. It might be to connect with clients or meet prospective new clients. It could be to learn more and understand inside secrets and tips. Or, you might be attending as a speaker. Whatever the reason, be sure to set a few objectives and establish what you want to accomplish before attending. By making these aims specific ‒ such as “give out and get at least 10 business cards” ‒ you’ll be more likely to meet your goals.

#4 Stock up on business cards and don’t forget those extra batteries or power supplies.

Plan to bring a good supply of business cards to hand out. That’s essential preparation for any networking event, let alone a conference where you might be meeting people from another state or country. Keep plenty on hand and remember to carry them with you each day.

At large conferences, Wi-Fi is often in high demand and can be a drain on your devices. Make sure to bring extra power supplies, such as chargers and extra batteries. You may need to use your phone as a Hotspot device when Wi-Fi isn’t available. Inevitably, this drains your battery and you’re left searching for an outlet in which to charge your device. Do yourself a favor and stock up beforehand.

#5 Document your experience well.

Take notes during the sessions you attend and don’t forget to bring a pen and paper … just in case. At one of the first conferences I attended, I remember thinking I’d be able to use my computer in each session. But standing-room only sessions, low battery, and no wifi resulted in me not being able to document the event with notes. After that experience I always make sure to bring my low-tech back-up pen and paper to all sessions I attend.

#6 Give a card, take a card.

Even if you’re not at a conference to get more customers, as a representative of your brand you should take networking seriously. You’re a brand advocate and are acting as the face of your company, which likely paid for you to attend. Give a business card out and then make an effort to receive one too. Pass along the cards you collected to your sales team or boss as proof of who you were able to meet. Create a friendly competition with your attending colleagues to see who can meet the most people.

#7 Keep ROI in mind.

It can be expensive to attend a marketing conference, not to mention the travel costs and time away from the office. Make the most of your trip and always keep the price tag in mind. Get the most return from the money spent by attending sessions all day, networking with as many people as possible, being aware, and taking the event seriously. Missing keynotes because you overslept, leaving early to attend a party, talking with your friends during sessions ‒ these are all examples of failing to keep the ROI in mind.

#8 Have your elevator pitch ready.

Ultimately you’ll be meeting people you’ve never met and they will ask you what you do. Be prepared by having your “elevator pitch” ready to go. It should briefly outline what you do, ideally in three sentences or less. The last thing you want is to sound unprofessional or unsure about your role, your company, or your brand. Think ahead and practice it a bit until you have it down.

#9 Have fun but be professional.

Marketing conferences are usually incredibly fun and they also allow you to connect with industry friends. But, after all, they’re still business events, so keep your attitude and behavior businesslike. Don’t drink too much and make a fool of yourself. Remain strictly professional and you’ll be better off in the long run.

#10 Share what you learned.

Last but certainly not least, remember to share what you learned. Don’t attend a conference expecting to keep the knowledge to yourself ‒ that’s selfish! In the past when I sent employees to conferences I’d suggest they bring their takeaways back to share with others. This can be done in several ways:

  • Create a blog post of your top takeaways, resources, and helpful knowledge.
  • Present the key takeaways to your staff or other colleagues.
  • Send your colleagues slides, resources, and documents you found useful.
  • Make copies of your notes to hand out to those interested.
  • On social media, share relevant information that you learned at the conference.

We hope you found this guide to conferences helpful. Fear not, attending a conference doesn’t have to turn you into an anxious, nervous, and confused wreck. Prepare ahead of time and you’ll be ready to rock your next marketing conference or event!

Have some suggestions of your own? Share with us in the comments below!

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Act-On Blog

Resource Management is a Fluid Process – Make Sure Your PSA is as Well

Posted by Dean Herback, Sales Consultant for NetSuite Services Resource Planning

I’ve run at least a hundred or more discoveries over the past few years at NetSuite and learned that the need to gain better visibility into their resources is one of the most common themes for services firms.

From utilization tracking, to capacity planning, to finding the right skills for a project, relying on spreadsheets or, even worse, tribal knowledge at weekly meetings can make the process very inefficient. It can also be a serious source of revenue leakage due to idle resources or staffing overqualified resources on projects. If you could have staffed them to a more profitable or strategic project that means potential for lost revenue. Similarly, underqualified resources can lead to customer service issues, lost reference opportunities and potentially rework.

Another common theme I hear is organizations undertaking a wide variety of projects that can span different types of services and different project lengths, from days or weeks to months or even years. You can imagine that the resource staffing model for the various types and sizes of projects will also vary quite a bit. Finding the right person to staff a short-term contract job can be a completely different experience from trying to staff a year-long intensive implementation requiring up to a dozen or more resources. There can also be everything in between these two extremes as well.

So resource management, including the identification of the right resources and being able to quickly fulfill customer requests can be a very fluid process even inside just one organization, let alone across the multitude of types of service companies. The sad truth though is a lot of companies don’t have a solution that can support the various models, whether that’s using a spreadsheet or some of the PSA software solutions on the market. I’m often surprised to hear a prospect tell me they own a PSA but can’t use it for resource staffing, and even resort to buying another tool just for managing resources!

PSA%20Dashboard Resource Management is a Fluid Process – Make Sure Your PSA is as Well

NetSuite OpenAir has been designed from the ground up to support organizations large and small, for any length of a project and requiring any type of resources. The real benefit is that you don’t have to choose a formal or informal process during implementation and force everyone into that process. OpenAir offers a variety of methods so you can choose the right staffing approach for every opportunity.

  • For clients that need nimble identification of available resources and quick bookings, that can be accomplished using our recently revamped Advanced Booking Worksheet.
  • When a custom search is required to find the right skills, with sufficient availability, and the option to add in other parameters our custom search can quickly identify the resources. Then the new compare view capability lets you see the resources side by side for in-depth comparisons before selecting the right individual.
  • If you have a more formal process where you want to build a list of required resources and skills required for a project our planner fits the bill. Built in conjunction with one of NetSuite’s largest resource management customers that has 15,000 resources to track and manage, the Advanced Booking Worksheet provides the ultimate in collaboration between the project manager and staffers to build the winning team for a successful client engagement.

These are just a few of the major types of resource management capabilities in OpenAir, but the built-in flexibility of the product means there are many more variations that can accommodate unique requirements of many customers. Whether you want your resources to keep up their own schedule of availability and skillsets, or keep it controlled centrally, or something in between, NetSuite OpenAir should be the first and last PSA system that you turn to for taking your resource management into the future. Get an OpenAir demo and value assessment of your services organization.

Posted on Wed, December 28, 2016 by NetSuite filed under

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The NetSuite Blog

How to Transform Resource Management with Professional Services Automation

Posted by Scott Grillo, PSA Account Executive, NetSuite

PSA%20getty How to Transform Resource Management with Professional Services AutomationLots of companies call themselves “people” businesses, when in actuality people are often simply a necessary tool for selling and delivering a product. But at professional services firms, the product literally is the people.

Yet, today, many professional services firms fail to manage their people as if they were their most important assets. Instead, they rely on spreadsheets to determine who’s available for project work, an approach that may be efficient at first but is quickly rendered ineffective.

Oh, the spreadsheet may work fine while a firm is a 10-person boutique, but things quickly become unwieldy once a company doubles or triples in size. Eventually, the organization is forced to change its approach, or risk missing out on revenue opportunities, due to having insufficient insight into that critical asset: People.

Spreadsheets Create Challenges

Use of spreadsheets by small, growing companies is a common approach to replicating enterprise-grade functionality without making enterprise-priced technology purchases. But whatever they’re used for, spreadsheets inevitably bump against numerous functional limitations, at which point they start to bog a company down. And nothing will bog down a professional services firm faster than poor management of people.

This is why every professional services firms should consider deploying a Professional Services Automation (PSA) solution that can bring accurate, up-to-date resource utilization and skills data into project planning, resulting in sound resource management practices.

Think about how spreadsheets can run off the rails for simple things such as running a football pool or keeping track of who’s bringing what to a company Christmas party. As you add more people and more data fields, things get complicated and unmanageable. Change the football picks and food assignments to things like availability, career goals and travel, and it’s easy to see how using a spreadsheet to manage staff resources can become a serious quagmire.

PSA systems like NetSuite OpenAir transform the quagmire into simple decisions. Need three Java developers who speak Spanish for a project in Minneapolis? No problem. Just enter those parameters and the system returns a list, even ranking them based on suitability for the project, availability, location, and any other factor the organization wants to track.

Meeting Expectations

Why is this so important? Start by considering that professional services firms must meet the needs of three groups of stakeholders:

  • Clients want their projects staffed by people who understand their business and industry, and have experience working on similar efforts.
  • Project managers are similarly motivated, wanting to ensure the client’s satisfaction, a much easier goal with the right people on the job.
  • Finally, there are the staff resources themselves, who are often overlooked, but who might prefer to do work for certain clients or vertical industries, and may or may not be interested in travel.

Trying to keep up with all those needs in a spreadsheet simply isn’t possible. Employees are constantly added (or subtracted), skills evolve, people move and start families, and priorities change. Adding to the complexity is the fact that as changes are made, multiple versions of the spreadsheet get saved, making it impossible to know who has the most current data.

Conversely, a PSA solution like OpenAir automates these processes on cloud-based platform that ensures everyone is on the same page and working from the most current information. A firm can track exactly what it needs to make good staffing decisions, eliminating a lot of the extra, non-essential data that works its way into spreadsheets, and store key contractor skills data for quick access to additional resources.

Satisfaction Abounds

Better yet, the improved decision-making a PSA system yields will fuel employee satisfaction and retention, as well as customer satisfaction.

And let’s not forget the resources it takes to manage the resources. Rather than having people living in a spreadsheet, constantly updating and cleaning data, a couple of people devoting 10-15 hours a week can easily manage the schedules of 500 people, thanks in part to OpenAir’s user-friendly design.

OpenAir gives professional services firms the flexibility and toolsets they need to support whatever process methodologies they may use. The system has been designed to flex to the needs of multiple industries, enabling companies to cater it to their own specific business models.

More than anything, professional services firms should consider PSA systems to be an investment in their most important asset: people. When people get overworked, they stop being excited about projects and cease doing their best work. They start thinking about going elsewhere. Conversely, if they’re underworked, they get bored, which also eventually will lead them to look elsewhere.

With a PSA solution in place, a professional services firm can hit that resource sweet spot and greatly reduce the odds of keeping its staff together, happy, and motivated. Its customers will thank it.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

Download the full whitepaper: Eliminate spreadsheets: Optimizing the resource management process.

Posted on Wed, November 16, 2016 by NetSuite filed under

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Minds&More drives growth and efficiency with NetSuite Service Resource Planning

og image Minds&More drives growth and efficiency with NetSuite Service Resource Planning

NetSuite SRP Replaces Multiple Systems at Belgian Consultancy

London—11 October 2016—NetSuite Inc. (NYSE: N), the industry’s leading provider of cloud financials / ERP and omnichannel commerce software suites, today announced that Minds&More, a preferred partner for business growth through sales, marketing & transformation excellence in Belgium, has implemented NetSuite Services Resource Planning (SRP) to run its end-to-end business from financials, project and resource management, customer relationship management (CRM), time and expense reporting, to client billing all within one unified solution. With NetSuite SRP, Minds&More has a solid foundation for its ambitious growth plans that can manage processes from lead to customer to project to delivery, while improving operational efficiency and providing critical real-time business insights.

Minds&More provides businesses with transformative sales and marketing services and solutions through a network of more than 100 freelance associates. As the company grew and leadership outlined an ambitious growth plan, they knew the company needed to replace its existing tangle of applications, including Salesforce.com for CRM, a local accounting system and Excel spreadsheets for project management, with a single system. NetSuite SRP was the only unified cloud-based solution that met the company’s needs.

“We knew that to properly scale and deliver on our vision of delivering top rate consulting services through our network of associates we would need a system that could scale with us,” said Pieterjan Kempynck, Managing Partner at Minds&More. “NetSuite provides it all with comprehensive, real-time visibility into all aspects of our business on a single system.”

“Minds&More is a great example of the many Belgian companies that are turning to NetSuite’s cloud-based platform to innovate and grow their businesses,” said Mark Woodhams, SVP and Managing Director of NetSuite EMEA. “NetSuite SRP is a perfect fit for this business and we look forward to their continued success.”

Implemented by Global System Integrator partner Deloitte within a rapid five-month time frame, NetSuite SRP is providing Minds&More with the following benefits:

  • A broad range of robust ERP and global financial functionality designed for modern businesses, enabling the company to streamline its mission-critical business processes.
  • Profitability tracking at the project and client level, enabling Minds&More to generate data-driven insights to optimise processes.
  • Resource optimisation to put the right associates on the right projects by tracking such key metrics as resources skillset, time to completion, on-time delivery, client satisfaction and more.
  • Built-in business intelligence that provides real-time insights into business performance, including personalised dashboards for executives that provide visibility into project profitability and opportunities by month.
  • Anywhere, anytime access that allows Minds&More’s freelance associates to access the system remotely to enter their skills, résumé, availability and time and expenses.
  • 360-degree view of customers, associates and projects, enabling enhanced customer support and service.

NetSuite SRP is the first and only cloud native solution that unites all of the ERP and professional services automation functionality to meet the business requirements and needs of both product and services companies in one single system. NetSuite SRP allows:

  • Companies to automate and manage key aspects of their business across the complete bid-to-bill lifecycle, giving them what they need to stay competitive, gain efficiency, deliver quality services and delight their clients.
  • Omni business model billing for service delivery across the services value chain from fixed fee to milestone to time-and-materials.
  • On-the-go services professionals to access real-time business information anywhere, anytime and better collaboration across the organisation.
  • Companies to gain comprehensive visibility into back-office financials and front-office services operations in one unified system to help increase project profitability, maximise billable resource utilisation and make informed, data-driven, strategic and tactical decisions with powerful and insightful business metrics.
  • Companies to address global businesses’ needs by giving them comprehensive real-time visibility, integrated financials, resource optimisation and services management from corporate to subsidiaries, down to the individual project level across geographies, currencies and tax jurisdictions.

For companies selling both services and products, NetSuite SRP supplies complete visibility and control over enterprise-wide processes with such capabilities as revenue recognition for diverse revenue streams, and unified billing across multi-model service and product delivery.

About NetSuite
In 1998, NetSuite pioneered the Cloud Computing revolution, establishing the world’s first company dedicated to delivering business applications over the Internet. Today, NetSuite provides a suite of cloud-based financials/Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and omnichannel commerce software that runs the business of more than 30,000 companies, organisations, and subsidiaries in more than 100 countries. 

Follow NetSuite’s Cloud blog, NetSuite’s Facebook page and @NetSuite Twitter handle for real-time updates.

For more information about NetSuite please visit www.netsuite.com.

NOTE: NetSuite and the NetSuite logo are service marks of NetSuite Inc. Third-party trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners.

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