11 Personalities You’ll Find at a Digital Marketing Conference

— November 10, 2016

This past week, over 14,000 people gathered at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center for Inbound 2016. One of the largest marketing events put on by the masters of inbound marketing at Hubspot, the digital marketing conference was a chance for marketing professionals to collaborate with the smartest minds in the field.


In a marketing scene as ephemeral as Twitter, the opportunity to sharpen our skills with face-to-face training, killer content and hands-on learning (not to mention tons of networking) is vital, and attending conferences is one of my top priorities every year. And, at each conference, there tends to be similar personas filling the convention centers.


Check out the 11 personalities that graced Inbound this year, and that you’ll inevitably see at many more digital marketing conferences to come:


1. The Networker


The Networker wants to meet everyone and make lasting connections. This person is mixing and mingling, forming new relationships and strengthening existing ones. He’s charming you into meeting up for coffee, lunch or cocktails. And, he seems to be talking with someone new every time you turn around. The Networker is making real-time LinkedIn connections, handing out business cards and making friends with all the thought leaders.


After the sessions, you can find The Networker chatting up a multitude of different groups during the happy hour, then hitting the clubs with the right connections. Then somehow, after being the life of the party until 4 a.m., he arrives to each session, early, looking impossibly fresh and ready to take on a new day of connecting (oh and a little learning, too).


2. The Entrepreneur


Find The Entrepreneur walking around the convention center suited up in their cool startup t-shirt and blazer. They have a million and one things to do, people to pitch, t-shirts to give away. What’s that you say? You want to invest?


The Entrepreneur is attending in part to buddy up with The Networker and on the other hand looking to get inspired for their next brilliant product release.


3. The Salesman


Operation: Close-a-Deal is in full effect. The Salesman is slick, smart, cool and ready to pitch you with whatever they’ve got at a moment’s notice. The Salesman has a knack for finding and schmoozing the decision-makers of every pack. He’s making the right contacts and impressing the new-found brand champions so the group is ready to sign on the dotted line as soon as they get back from the digital marketing conference.


4. The Valedictorian


Soaking up as much information as possible, The Valedictorian is taking diligent notes, detailed enough to perform the session in its entirety when she goes home. She’s taking notes, live-tweeting the hot topics and actually listening all at the same time. The Valedictorian is quiet – you might not even know she’s there until she begins asking a barrage of well-thought out questions during the Q&A.


Don’t plan to see her hitting up the happy hour after hours. Instead she’ll be locked away in her hotel room, ordering room service (hey, it’s on the company, right?) and studying up on tomorrow’s sessions. She might be shy, so give her a quick smile and maybe a hand carrying her notebooks, laptop, smartphone and iPad to the next session and she’ll definitely let you copy her notes.


5. The Collector


Did someone say free shirt? The Collector’s whole purpose (or so they think) for being at the digital marketing conference is to collect all the free swag. You can spot them bouncing from booth to booth grabbing all the goodies they can carry. Free pen? Need it. Can Koozie? Want it! Mobile phone chargers? Gotta have it!


Of course this guy is picking up a few knowledge pointers in the sessions, too. But they’re not going to skip out on the Tchotskies.


6. The Social Media Guru


No one really knows what the Social Media Guru looks like because they’ve not yet looked up from their phone. From Tweets to Snaps and a few posts, too, this person is #Social. In fact, they just added you on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook.


The Social Media Guru wants the @world to know their every move in hopes it’ll generate brand excitement for their company.


7. The Fan Girl


OMG! ANN HANDLEY IS GOING TO BE AT INBOUND16! The Fan Girl is attending the digital marketing conference on a mission to meet the keynote speakers. If there’s even the slightest chance to meet the speaker, at say a book signing or a VIP sponsor event, count her in. And she’ll be live-journaling the entire experience so she can relive it over and over (and over).


Spot The Fan Girl by watching for the person who’s forgotten how to breathe, is hyperventilating and is shaking or crying upon seeing their idol.


(Note: The Fan Girl is not limited to only females. I see you, brah, struggling to keep your cool when Anna Kendrick enters the stage.)


8. The Leslie Knope


The Leslie Knope carries a binder with notes for each session. She’s wired a little tight, but you can’t help but love her. She operates on a carefully timed out schedule, and carries along maps with the fastest route to each lecture room in the conference hall laid out.


The Leslie Knope knows how to let loose and have fun with the crew, partying it up during happy hour. But she’s also insanely responsible, so she’ll be the first to call it a night.


Oh and she’s all over the waffle line at breakfast.


9. The Model


The Model is in front of the booth displaying the latest and greatest products his company has to offer. He may not know the ins and outs of the product as well as he should, but no one seems to notice – they’ll be too busy staring to care. He books a record number of demos and gives out all of the swag. On the first day.


10. The Spy


In an effort to check out the competition, The Spy goes undercover through the vendor booths with a list of detailed questions. Who are they? What are they doing? Why do they beat out the competitors?


After the digital marketing conference is over, this guy takes the intel he’s gathered back to HQ to be analyzed. Then he uses it to create an action plan to reposition the company’s differentiators and move deals across the finish line.


11. The Partier


The Partier is ready to play! He listens all day, and engages with each session he attends. But come nightfall, he’s the first to lead the charge to Happy Hour. He’s the guy that makes friends with everyone, and knows how to talk shop and have fun.


The Partier knows how fun conferences are and wants to make it exciting and productive for everyone he meets.

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Author: Dan Hanrahan


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