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The Rise of User Conferences – How to Best Prepare for One

The Rise of User Conferences – How to Best Prepare for One

User conferences were all the rage in the ‘80’s and ‘90s and then they went dark for years. Now they are making a roaring comeback – partly due to attendees' demand to get together and partly due to better ways companies can present new products and services.

“User conferences are a great way to bring together exceptional education, training and networking,” stated Stuart Gold, Vice President of Corporate Events, Field & Partner Marketing, who advocates for more user conferences.

Here are the benefits and best ways to prepare for this event.

Two Overarching Benefits of Hosting a User Conference

  1. Customers feel they are valued and heard.

    Because the entrance fee for getting into a conference is a client’s loyalty and business, it only makes sense that most user conferences are structured around listening to the client.

    Provide plenty of opportunities for this to happen from a mobile app with feedback forms to self-serve iPad kiosk stands where were attendees can make suggestions on product improvements.

  2. Relationships are formed or improved upon.
    If your organization is national or international, a user conference may be the only opportunity to have your entire company in one location at the same time. Clients can get to know your CEO, their administrative support and sales representatives a lot better due to face-to-face meetings and interactions.

5 Measures Toward Building an Effective User Conference

  1. Give clients in-depth training.
    Every client will come to the conference with different levels of experience on your products and services, so:

    1. Give them each a beginning, intermediate and advanced tract so they can they are neither overwhelmed or bored with the content.
    2. Be sure to offer continuing education credits where appropriate.
    3. Organize tracks in different areas such as marketing, sales and operations to draw different types of users or allow cross-training among attendees. 
  2. Allow the user to see the latest products and services in a new way.
    Utilize Virtual Reality rentals, 4K monitor rentals and 3D printers to bring your offerings to life.
  3. Be sure to implement health and fun into the agenda.
    Here are three ideas to get your creative juices going:

    1. Offer yoga and fitness opportunities throughout the day
    2. Host a happy hour with industry experts
    3. Provide entertainment options such as gamification or live music concerts
  4. Choose a venue that meets the needs of your attendees.
    Find out what your customer base wants to do on their free time, where they want to meet and whether they are bringing their family. Then, armed with the data, choose a venue that will meet the needs of your conference (large meeting space, enough breakout rooms and trade show floor) and your attendees (fitness center, spa and family entertainment).
  5. Start small and build.
    If you have not held a user conference in years (or not at all), don’t expect thousands of customers to flock to it. Have a series of short-term goals followed by a long-term one that allows your conferences to grow progressively over the years.

“User conferences can provide a more relevant, targeted and high-touch experience…that broader conferences just can’t offer,” stated Dan Martinez, Marketing Director at O.C. Tanner.

Think of Hartford Technology Rental for Your Next User Conference

We offer affordable computer and event rentals. Give us a call at 888.520.5667 to learn about how we can serve you!