Vegas, baby! Here we come.
Now, the conference crowd can get crazy. But you’re not heading to Oracle’s Modern Marketing Experience in Las Vegas to relive your cousin Gary’s bachelor party. You’re heading there to see James Franco. Oh, and to learn about all things marketing from the best in the business.
Conferences can be a lot to handle. You don’t know where to eat, you don’t know who to talk to, and you’re there for a specific purpose—like meeting James Franco. That’s a lot to process.
Let me ease your anxiety, marketers. How? By helping you (1) make friends with everyone and (2) find amazing places to eat and drink in a town littered with giant neon cups and swirly straws.
Ready? Here are some invaluable conference tips backed by science, paired with our handpicked food and drink recommendations.
How to Start Your Day in a Good Mood
There’s nothing worse than being surrounded by party-goers who have zero concept of time and treat 7:30 a.m. in Vegas like it’s 10 p.m. in a normal city. Wait. There’s something worse: experiencing it without caffeine. Get yourself to a coffee shop stat, and you might start to think that those shenanigans are so ugly they’re cute. Like pugs.
Studies show that people will subconsciously respond to and emulate your good or bad mood. So start your morning off right, and you’re already making the people around you more comfortable and happy—a step ahead when it comes to networking.
The Spot: Starbucks is Old Faithful, and there are many of them close by for all of your caffeine needs.
How to Pay Attention and Retain Information
Another benefit of caffeine is that, as a recent study out of Johns Hopkins University suggests, it can improve long-term memory. And Modern Marketing Experience has an incredible line-up of speakers; you don’t want to miss a word. If caffeine isn’t your thing, start your day with a soothing tea or decaf latte.
Before the conference starts, try visualizing one accomplishment for your day. Visualization has been shown to help you achieve your goals. Maybe your goal is to solve your lead nurturing problem, or come up with a strategy for multi-channel campaigns. Perhaps it’s finding a way to manage all of your marketing content (cough, come to booth #232, cough).
The Spot: Java Coast in Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel and Casino (3645 South Las Vegas Boulevard)
How to Network
Well, if you had your coffee (see above), you’re already in a good mood and ready to talk it up. Now, deepen your conversations by inviting a few people out for drinks, appetizers, or—if I’m in the group—cheese plates.
Who should you invite? Studies show that you can significantly strengthen and grow your network by connecting others. Find and introduce people to one another—and encourage them to bring someone, too. By building these valuable connections for other parties, you’re growing the depth and size of your own network.
Now that you have the right people, make sure you go somewhere you can actually talk.
How to Capitalize on the Conference Connection
You might have an inkling that the person sitting next to you during a session wouldn’t be your first pick for happy hour back home. But all that goes out the window at conferences. It’s been shown that “experiencing the same event, at the same time, and in the same space” bonds people together.
Even though you might be nervous to strike up that conversation, don’t be. Ask about how they’re enjoying the conference, and bond over the fact that you’re both at Modern Marketing Experience. Although you might not grab drinks outside of this conference setting, why not grab one while you’re in it? Who knows what opportunities might arise.
How to Make an Amazing First Impression
Whether you like it or not, first impressions stick. But there are a few tricks you can take with you to Vegas that will help you make sure you make a great one.
First, smile. When you smile, people consider you more likable, courteous, and competent. Whether you’re trying to mingle with marketers, pitch a prospect, or connect with a customer, smiling’s one of the best ways to get them on your side. Also, make the first thing out of your mouth a positive statement. Starting a conversation with positivity, even a simple and nice comment about the conference or the weather, will set the tone for the rest of your conversation.
To sustain that great impression, don’t recommend or take anyone to a sub-par restaurant. Here are a few that will do the trick.
How to Get Club Promoters to Go Away, Nicely
If a club promoter comes up to you with promises of bottle service and dance floors of scantily clad people—tell them you’re getting your shakes and buns elsewhere.
More specifically, at Holstein’s Shakes and Buns. There’s no science behind this one…just brilliant puns on buns.
The Spot: Holstein’s Shakes and Buns (3708 S Las Vegas Blvd)