312 Digital v The Conference

If you’ve attended a major conference in the last five years, then you’ll understand. We hate to start this off with a rant, but…

Does anyone go to conferences to learn anything anymore?

In all seriousness, when is the last time you really learned something new at a conference? We polled a number of our friends and colleagues in the Digital Marketing world to better understand the issues they had with conferences today.  Here’s what they had to say:

  • Myles Dannhausen TestimonialExpensive. The conferences we’re talking about range in price from $1000- $3000 plus T&E! That’s a pretty steep ticket price – especially if you’re a small business.
  • Too long. Many of these conferences are 3-4 days out of the office when you count travel days. Hardly a good fit for today’s hard working entrepreneur.
  • Too many sessions.Over 100 sessions to choose from? REALLY? How in the hell are you supposed to choose which sessions to attend? Especially when there’s so little info on each session?
  • Too short sessions. With so many sessions packed into 3 days, event organizers are forced to jam sessions in back-to-back for three straight days. The result? 30 or 40 minute sessions. How can you cover a topic adequately in that amount of time and expect REAL LEARNING to take place?
  • Too many sponsors. The minute a conference brings in even one sponsor, the business model becomes inverted. You as a paying customer have suddenly become the product! Why? Because the sponsors have paid a great deal to the event organizers to get access to your eyeballs. Why else would sponsors pay conference organizers thousands of dollars?
  • Sponsors brought in as speakers (and pitching their products). There is nothing worse than paying thousands of dollars to learn something valuable only to have a sponsor of the event get slotted in to give you a product pitch. Any day of passing kidney stones would be preferred to sitting through a sponsor product pitch AFTER I paid thousands of dollars to learn something.
  • Too many speakers. When you have a huge conference with thousands of people in attendance and lots of speaking slots to fill, there is just no way to ensure all the speakers are fully vetted. Quality suffers as a result: Quality of content; quality of speakers; quality of the entire conference experience
  • More value in networking than in sessions. Have you ever attended a conference, sat through dozens of sessions and learned more from hanging out at the bar after hours? Do yourself a favor. Ask yourself this one question. If I was the ONLY attendee at this conference and there was nobody to mingle with and learn from other than the sessions, would I come back next year?

Empty Conference Chairs

The cure for the common conference.

312 Digital is just one little company. We’re not going to change a multi-billion dollar industry any time soon (if ever).

Nevertheless, we built 312 Digital to take on the conference industry head on. Our goal is to CHANGE THE WAY PEOPLE LEARN DIGITAL MARKETING. So we’ve set our sights on doing exactly that. We’ve created 312 Digital to be a 180 degree different experience from the “typical” conference experience.

  • Priced right. Every 312 Digital course is just $595. And we bring the learning to you. No travel required.
  • One full day of learning. No airports. No hotels. No car rental. No hassle.
  • One learning track with four sessions. So simple. If a course isn’t right for what you need to learn, just hold your horses. A different course will be coming up shortly.
  • Two hour learning sessions. Scheduling fewer sessions of longer duration allows for a more refined learning environment.
  • No sponsors. Ever. One of our founding principles is to ensure our students are NEVER turned into a product too. Our focus is 100% on creating a world class learning environment. We will never allow that to be subverted by introducing sponsors into our events.
  • No sponsors means no sponsor presenters. Squeeeeeeee!!!!
  • Four experts. Each 312 Digital class is presented by four true experts. No “talking heads.” Our instructors practice what they preach during the day. They also happen to be amazing speakers who have a lot of passion for their subject.
  • Our value is in the classroom. Period.

Photo courtesy of LordFerguson via Creative Commons License on Flickr.