The Trouble With Conferences

Would you pay to go to a work-related conference out of your own pocket? If you wouldn’t, would you expect your boss to pay for you?

Hubbub, a new media and marketing show planned for Manchester next month, has had to cancel. How Do, industry news source and one of Hubbub’s partners, reports that, with three weeks to go, it was clear the event wouldn’t cover its costs. Tickets for each half-day session costs £180 + VAT.

Hubbub appeared to have the support of industry and its speaker line-up ticked all the right boxes. The theme of each session was clearly defined, there was an exhibition component, and visitors would have the chance to network.

Perfectly competent. But is this enough when times are tight? Are two speakers, a panel discussion and a bit of Q&A worth £180-plus?

There are plenty of free networking events in Manchester, expert comment is not hard to find online, as is discussion. It’s not that difficult to arrange a coffee with someone. Paid-for live events, particularly ones that trade in ideas, need to offer a compelling reason to attend or price themselves accordingly (this week’s Insider Media morning at the Lowry was £55, if I remember rightly).

They might also want to ban Twitter; it’s easy to follow for free the key headlines from those inside the room. Time for a rethink.

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