Look, marketing conferences are beneficial for a number of reasons:
- You gain build with potential new clients if you’re an agency.
- You can learn a ton of new, insightful information if you’re a marketing novice.
- You get the chance to network with thought leaders and experience a sense of community in the marketing field.
But having a sense of the value of attending marketing conferences is the easy part.
The hard part is getting enough money to attend the conferences – because in all honesty, they can be pretty expensive at times.
Luckily for you there are some tips that you can apply when trying to save money on your ticket.
1. Get your boss to pass for your ticket.
When it’s time for a company to craft budgets for the following year, every company – and every team belonging to that company – always sets aside some of that budget to train their employees.
But this budget rarely gets used.
In most cases it gets allocated towards a different, more timely expense.
However, if you’re an employee who is aware that this budget exists in your company’s training development program, you should try to make use of it.
You should legitimately ask your boss how much budget is available and ask if he or she can use whatever’s left over to pay for your trip to a marketing conference.
Of course you will need to create a 1-pager outlining exactly what conference you want to go to, how much it costs, how it will benefit you, the ROI of the company putting this money towards investing in your knowledge, etc.
And then you will need approval.
But this does work a lot of the time and proves to be a win-win for everyone.
- The conference wins because it has a good, capable attendee showing up.
- Your company wins because its name gets more exposure by you attending the conference alongside other thought leaders.
- You win because you get to network and experience the event.
- Your boss wins because the decision to let you attend the conference shows how he or she is being proactive by investing in the company’s brightest stars.
Everyone wins – and you get to attend a fun and engaging marketing conference as the reward!
2. Secure a speaking engagement at the conference for a free ticket.
This one’s an awesome trick.
Basically, speakers at conferences get to attend the conference for free.
They usually also get one complimentary pass that they can share with a colleague, which means double the value.
Well, if you can’t afford to pay for a conference relevant to your business, and your boss isn’t willing to dig into your company’s training budget for you to attend, then reach out to the conference and ask if there are any open speaking slots available.
You’d be surprised: a lot of times, conferences aren’t able to fill out their agenda – or, perhaps they get a last-minute dropout that they need to fill.
That’s where you come in.
Reach out, come in there with a pitch, show how you’ll provide value to the conference’s attendees (maybe even reach out with a blurb of what your presentation can be about), and secure the slot.
Once you secure it, your ticket will be free! Better yet, sometimes these conference circuits actually pay for their speakers’ flight and board.
It’s all about giving it a shot – what’s the worst that can happen?
3. Offer a barter exchange with the conference circuit for a subsidized ticket.
This one is a little more unknown of the three, but here goes: Marketing in general costs money, right? Well, so does digital marketing.
The thing is – digital marketing costs a decent amount of money for conferences.
Conferences have to spend a ton of money on ads to secure more ticket purchases.
Conferences have to do this in major cities where these ads can be pretty expensive.
The point is, all of this requires time, cost, and energy.
Everything needs to be implemented to perfection; it’s the only way these conferences can maintain their margins and sustain their high level of profitability (there’s a ton of cost that goes into running a successful conference from start to finish).
And this is where you make your pitch!
Think about what you can offer a marketing conference and see how much they can subsdize your ticket.
For instance, imagine you were looking for marketing conferences, events, and meetups in the D.C. region, specifically.
One thing you could do is reach out to one of these conferences and offer them this: I’ll write 5 articles about D.C.-related events on marketing blogs and publications, building more exposure to your event, if you can subsidize my ticket for 50%.
If I were them, I would accept this offer in a heartbeat because there’s very little risk for them.
They don’t need to offer anything upfront.
All they have to do is wait for you to publish the 5 articles.
Once they can see that the articles are real, well-written, and driving more traffic to their sites, then they can say, “Sure, I’ll gladly subsidize your ticket for 50% because you’ve provided value to me that would have cost me 5x the price!”
Don’t be discouraged by any means about the price of a ticket to a marketing conference. Instead, get creative and find a way to get it done. It’s all about evaluating the three options I laid out above and figuring out the right call for your situation.
There are many options, but here are three reliable hacks:
- (1) Speak with your boss and see how/she or the company as a whole can help you.
- (2) Find out if you can speak at the actual event for a complimentary “speaker” ticket.
- (3) Lastly, connect with the marketing conference itself and find out if you can agree on some terms that will allow you to get a discounted price on your ticket.