We recently worked on sponsoring a conference on behalf of one of our clients. The sponsorship and presence at the conference was a part of a larger Developer Outreach program that we’re running for them.

The sponsorship included hosting a booth at the conference. Being amongst some of the most renowned tech companies, at a conference that attracted over 700 developers, we picked up some key learnings that we’d love to share with you:

 

  1. The Why is as Important (sometimes more) as the What

Presenting the cutting edge technology that you’re working on is crucial. Engineering folks, especially those attending a tech conference love geeking out on new tech. It builds a strong connection with the geek in them.

The other thing that companies practicing developer outreach at a conference prepare well is the work culture. If the primary objective of your presence at a conference is to attract great talent, amazing the attendees with your cool work culture is essential. Unlimited vacations, coolest gear, the most chilled out workplace policy-all get you a lot of brownie points.

But there’s another thing we realised people were really interested in and that is the mission of your company. Why are you building another algorithm for X. How does this help the people? What is the issue with the current practices in place? Why is your solution better?

While this seems rather obvious in hindsight, we were surprised to find that so many of the companies there were not really prepared for such questions.

 

  1. Be Conversion Focussed

Setting up a booth at a conference has a very clear objective. It is usually to reach out and talk to as many people as possible. Showing interest, signing up a lead form and exchanging contact details – conversion at a conference could mean different things based on the objective.

While conversing with people is essentially a non-measurable skill, it is essential to keep an eye on the number – how many people could you go out and interact with. The more people you interact with, the more your conversion numbers.

 

  1. Stand Out

Setting up a booth at a technology conference is quite like participating in a flea market. It gets crowded real fast. People glance around while walking, usually in groups and don’t stop until something fancy catches their eye.

Standing out from the rest of the booths can pull in huge crowds. But, how do you do that? Maybe keep something that EVERYONE would want. We had a bunch of branded Cupcakes with the logo printed on them with edible stickers. Lunch break, tea breaks or while just strolling around – there’s never a bad time to pop in a cupcake.

People came to us for the free dessert – they stayed for the story.

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