How to Evaluate Crypto Conferences and Events
The world is overrun by crypto events and crypto conferences.
It's true that (on the whole) in-person events still yield the highest ROI of any marketing activity - and provide the highest quality leads.
The reason? It's perhaps hard to pinpoint, but let's face it - personal contact and trust-building (the very things that marketers strive so hard to develop through digital channels) are easiest when you get to talk to potential customers and partners face-to-face.
Now - given the above, it's no surprise that the number of crypto conferences, summits, congresses, workshops and expos has mushroomed over the last year or so.
But how do you know which ones to attend? Are the hefty price tags worth it?
Here are some guidelines to evaluate your next crypto event:
The most obvious way to evaluate an event is by its "prestige" - in other words, is it a famous event?
If you had an open invitation to attend the World Economic Forum, you would probably take it. Period.
But in the case of crypto events, it is also important to consider whether attending the event will raise YOUR prestige as well. Because, remember - you are not only attending to connect with people who are AT the event - you are also attending to raise your profile online, to project yourself as a serious project across your digital channels. (The connection between social media and in-person events, is one of the most forgotten strategies in digital marketing...)
So - here is what you should look at:
This is naturally the first place you should look to judge the quality and prestige of a crypto event. Will you be able to rub shoulders with thought leaders, innovators and influential names?
One key here is to see how many speakers/participants are also sponsors. If the percentage is high, chances are the event is simply a money-maker for the organizers. This is also true if the percentage of content slots is filled with panel discussions. Event organizers love panels because they can dump as many people into one slot and make a hefty amount money charging each one.
If, however, there are multiple keynotes from thought leaders, especially those very close to your project's focus - go for it.
Blockchain Expo - London
Free admission brings a diverse, but unqualified crowd of attendees.
b) Repeat events and attendance
Another way to judge the prestige of a crypto conference is to look at the number of years it has been organised. True - the space in general is new enough that few events will fall into the category of repeat events, but this makes it all the more valuable an indicator.
This also is true when it comes to attendance. If an event (such as CoinDesk's Consensus) has been held multiple times and its attendance keeps increasing year to year, it is a clear sign that its prestige is also growing in the eyes of other potential attendees.
c) Discounts and advertising
By definition less prestigious events need to attract more attendees and sponsors by reaching out. Therefore, one indicator of an event's prestige is how much online advertising they are conducting.
In other words - if you see banner ads for the event plastered around it may be in a desperate situation.
The same goes for discounted ticket sales. No event wants to open to empty seats, so it is natural that organizers try to attract as many attendees as possible. Conversely, attendees are known for waiting until the last minute to pull the trigger.
If an event offers multiple deep discounts - or suddenly slaps an extra 50% discount on top of current offers, this is usually a sign that it is not prestigious enough to draw people by virtue of its content.
c) Organizer position
Some people organise events simply to make money. (And this is the majority of crypto events today...) Others do so, because they have something to share.
If you have never heard of the organization behind a certain event, they are most likely trying to use the event to increase their visibility - meaning they do not have enough klout to exist without the exposure for themselves.
However, if the organiser is already well-known, their position changes from one of a "taker" to one of "giver" or "facilitator." These are likely to be better aligned with your own interests.
2. GOALS & OPPORTUNITIES
An event which you are planning to attend is, of course, only as good its ability to give you want you want from it. For most crypto projects, this is investors (or exposure to possible investors).
Blockshow Europe - Berlin
Small enough to foster intimate discussions, but big enough to attract a wide range of attendees
Usually you can gain this in one of three ways:
a) Attendance (i.e. buying a ticket as an attendee)
b) Speaking (either alone or on a panel)
c) Having a booth or stand
As a general rule of thumb - speaking opportunities carry the biggest price tag. BUT - they are not always the most valuable. Here's what you should know:
- Panel discussions which are not VERY specifically focused on your industry or project are useless
- Pitch slots are also generally worthless.
- Keynotes are of more interest, but only if you have deep knowledge or experience to share. Otherwise, attendees will dismiss them as worthless.
- Any speaking opportunity which occurs in the late afternoon, or early in the morning on the 2nd day of a conference, or directly after a big name speaker is also of little value.
Provided that a conference is multiple days, has an attendance of at least 600-700 people and offers the opportunity to use audio-visual equipment (TV screen, computer screen, powered props) a booth or stand is almost always the most value for money.
Leads, investors or people just first discovering your project will be much more exposed to your project by passing your booth once, twice or multiple times, interacting with you personally or taking a flyer, watching a demo or just simply looking up your website after the show.
This is how you convert people - not by talking at them on a stage.
Also - a booth (and to a lesser degree, simple attendance) gives you greater flexibility in using your time and effort to achieve the goals you want at a crypto event.
If you want to practice your pitch - you will be able to do it hundreds of times in front of visitors at your stand.
If you want to sign up potential partners for your project - you can scout them yourself while passing around the venue or count on your physical presence in attracting the right kind of people to you directly.
3. Organisation and attendance
Some elements of organization go without saying and don't need much explaination when it comes to deciding whether an event is worth your while.
- Is there clear communication about the agenda from the organising team?
- Does the event website give you proper exposure if you are a presenting or speaking?
- Does the event have a newsletter which reaches all attendees?
- Is there a networking app available to set up personal meetings with investors or other attendees?
But some other parts are worth examining too. For instance:
- Does the event have a large social media following and is it likely to retweet, share your content during the event?
- Is the agenda structured in such a way that attendees are likely to attend most speaking sessions? (In other words, do people have enough networking time outside the sessions?)
- Is there a VIP/Speaker lounge? Will speakers and influencers be available for you to connect with or hidden way in a special area?
- Are there guaranteed positions for booths/stands or are they assigned at random?
Regarding attendees - one often overlooked point is: what kind of mood will attendees be in?
What kind of mood, you say? Yes... This means: is the organization, location and amenities of the event such that attendees are in a good mood, in other words, ready to network, open to discussing, relaxed and unstressed?
If you're target is coporate partnerships and the general atmosphere of the conference is very informal - will your target audience leave early or feel too uncomfortable to connect with you?
The most important thing to keep in mind when planning to attend an event for marketing purposes is:
WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM THE EVENT?
Knowing what your goal is - increased social media exposure, personal contact with investors, testing your pitch in front of people, finding new members of your team - is absolutely essential.
Then and only then will you be able to adequately judge whether an event offers you value for your money.