Written by Sashreka Pillay
I could start with: “Hi. My name is Sash and I’m a Matchi fintech conference junkie...” – but you may get the wrong idea. Let me explain: Matchi employees are not so much addicted to fintech conferences but driven by an insatiable desire for extending our reach in financial institutions so that we can show off our member fintech firms to as many people as possible, without a team member fainting.* You see? Not an addiction. Promise.
Our collective whale/unicorn/fintech-watching at these conferences has given us insight into easily-overlooked strategies which could have made a few fintech exhibitors thrive. They didn’t. Don’t be one of them. We want to help you avoid it with the carefully curated tips below:
Be there before you get there.
During medieval times, royalty had announcers so commoners could ready themselves for the arrival. You have social media. Use LinkedIn and Twitter to shamelessly flaunt your presence at the upcoming conference. Can you magic your way to a conference attendee list or do you have access to a networking app provided by the conference? This goes a long way to connecting with the right people and setting up relevant meetings before you get there.
Throw your weight around at the venue – let me see those muscles flex!
If you are exhibiting, be bold and proactively approach everyone – even that person in the far left corner who gave your booth a quick look out of the corner of their eye. You are here to connect with as many people as you can. This is your ultimate objective. Even if it means skulking around your competitor's booth and striking up a “coincidental” conversation with their most interested prospects. I’m not saying the conference is like The Hunger Games but there are some disturbing parallels.
Ride the wave of interest on the conference theme/topic created by the conference organisers. Create a customised conference pitch. Leverage the theme/topic of the conference by positioning your solution for that market and masterfully adapting it to your elevator pitch. (Which, I presume, is already spotless –yes?) Also remember to keep the message consistent across your pitch and material; it goes a long way to reinforce your solution.
Don’t drop the mike. You can’t walk away when you’ve killed it.
Like all great tactical wins, you need a follow up strategy. What are you going to do with details of the people you have met? Who are you going to contact first? Which of them need a low touch stalking package and which need a more aggressive nudge that you would like to “take the conversation further”? This is a crucial time for you to optimise your conference spend. Do not let it go. This is not Frozen.
*This has never happened. That one time did not count.