Using Upcoming Cloud & IT Conferences to Fuel Your PR & Demand Gen Goals

Bobby Chilver

As you plan your event attendance for the summer and fall season, now is a great time to think about how you can make the most of your scheduled events.

In-person conferences are back as pivotal hubs for not only networking and knowledge sharing, but also showcasing your company’s latest innovations. As a marketer, properly navigating and promoting your presence at these events can help solidify your position in your industry and maybe more importantly, help drive leads for your sales team.

In the cloud and IT services industry, conferences are particularly important because they are typically hosted by the industry giants that you and your competitors likely partner with. While other industries often feature brand-agnostic events at the core of their conference schedules, the cloud and IT space works differently, with hyperscalers like Micorosft, AWS, Google, Oracle, etc, hosting the biggest industry get-togethers of the year:

Upcoming IT & Cloud Services Events Calendar

  • Snowflake Data Cloud Summit June 3-6
  • Oracle Ascend 2024- June 17-20 
  • Salesforce Dreamforce – September 17-19
  • Oracle Cloud World 2024- September/October
  • Microsoft Ignite – Fall 2024
  • AWS re:Invent – Nov 27 – Dec 1

So how do you stand out from the noise at these huge events? Not surprisingly, money helps, with plenty of sponsorship and exhibiting options available. However, you can also leverage your existing marketing partnerships to maximize the value of every conference.

There are several key points we frequently discuss with our cloud and IT clients to help them optimize their event strategies as major conferences approach.

Paid/Demand Gen considerations for conferences:

  • Don’t be afraid to try new strategies – Consider tactics like geofencing to deliver ads to consumers within a certain location range of the conference

  • Have timely content on hand – Highlight content relevant to conference attendees in targeted digital marketing campaigns before and after the conference

  • Plan ahead and budget for conference campaigns – While it’s important to have a consistent budget for evergreen, “always on” campaigns, you should plan ahead and set aside budget for big conferences that are important to your target audience.

Media Relations considerations for conferences:

  • Start outreach early – Having trouble getting your hands on the media list for an event? Research who went last year, and check in with them about their plans for the current year. You might also reach out to existing media relationships and use this as a chance to connect in person. But start outreach 1-2 months before the event because this is when people are finalizing their schedules and plans. And make sure you have something to say in meetings with journalists: Hard news announcements, controversial POVs on industry trends, unique thoughts on new tech challenges, etc. can make the conversation worth a reporter’s time.

  • Identify the reporters who care – Launching a new cloud product during a conference is spot on for some journalists, but not all stories are created equal. You’ll meet journalists from The Wall Street Journal to CNET at an event like AWS re:Invent, but they all have different priorities and topics of interest. There’s a large umbrella of tech journalists, so be selective about who you reach out to with certain news before, during and after the event. Check what the journalists at publications of interest are chatting about on Twitter, or look at the past few stories from an outlet to learn what they consider newsworthy. However, don’t overlook industry bloggers and social media followings — these audiences have their own value.

  • Prepare event attendees with an elevator pitch about your business – Conferences are all about networking, and while it’s an expectation that you’ll have pre-scheduled meetings going into the event, be open to connecting off the cuff. You never know who will visit your presentation or who you’ll pass in the hall, and time is limited to make your business stand out. Focus your elevator pitch on the what, who, and why it matters.

  • Stay updated on event news and don’t hesitate to comment on it in real time — You’re on the floor, so you have direct access to the buzziest news of the conference. Journalists want to hear about how the industry reacts to big news from the event and how announcements will impact various businesses. Many tech news publications from CRN to SiliconANGLE to IT Pro Today are closely monitoring the hot topics from events like Microsoft Ignite to Google Cloud Next, so be bold and transparent about your POV on the discussions of the week.

  • Time partnership announcements around the event – In my experience, if a company is working on a collaboration with a cloud partner like AWS or Google or SAP, it’s helpful to share the news around the same time as a major cloud conference because journalists are keeping close tabs on what’s happening in the industry, i.e., your news. Be wary that you could be buried under a bigger news item at the event, but connecting your announcement to a larger conversation can make it more relevant.

Social considerations for conferences:

  • Consider how conference social posts (pre-, during, and post-) add audience value for both virtual and in-person attendees – This often translates into fewer promotional posts on brand channels and more efforts through advocate and executive platforms.

  • Leverage event hashtags and set up social listening – Make sure your brand monitors event-related conversations and inserts thought leaders into the dialogue when appropriate.

  • Live post when appropriate – While live posting is a great way to engage virtual audiences and summarize thought leadership, ensure that posting cadence does not fatigue followers (e.g., fewer engagements per post). Using event hashtags, tagging thought leaders, and leveraging crisp event imagery furthers the success of these posts.

  • Amplify your PR efforts on social – Thought leadership angles, industry news priority topics and event coverage can be shared on social channels after the event, furthering credibility and reusing existing content produced.

Looking for additional support for an upcoming cloud + IT services event? Get in touch with our industry experts and see how Walker Sands’ PR, social and demand gen teams can assist with in-person or remote support.


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