Are Conferences Worth It?

Today is a solo episode with Jessy Grossman, Founder of WIIM! Jessy Grossman is a long time entrepreneur in the digital media space. She’s passionate about supporting women in business and being at the forefront of innovation. She’s been quoted in Forbes and was awarded a spot in the “Influencer Top 50” by Talking Influence. In less than two years she created one of the fastest growing talent agencies in the country. Amidst unprecedented growth, she sold the multi-six-figure agency and pivoted to focus on her long-time passion project: Women in Influencer Marketing (better known as WIIM). Founded in 2017, today WIIM is the premiere professional organization for those who work with influencers. The community offers networking and new business opportunities, career services, continuous education and more. Jessy also does consulting, advising and influencer marketing recruiting with her company Tribe Monday. You can find inspiring stories and more about Jessy on the WIIM Podcast. Check out iamwiim.com and tribemonday.com for more information.



[00:00:00] Jessy: Hi everyone and welcome to the WIIM Podcast. Women in Influencer Marketing is a first of its kind exclusive networking group made up of inspirational women. This podcast is where we explore influencer marketing and get real about women in business. Find us wherever you download podcasts, and of course, you can always find us at iamwiim.com. That’s iamwiim.com.

Hello. Hello everyone. And happy 2023. I’m gonna say that all January. I hope nobody minds. I am little under the weather still. So if I sound a little congested or a little slow today, please have some grace. 

Some of you were either at our beautiful LA experience last week or you saw all about it on social, and while it was fan freaking fantastic, I wasn’t there.

I was so sad to not be there, but I got Covid for the first time ever. I avoided it for three years. And the one day that I was like, incredibly excited to see so many of you guys in person, we had planned this event for months. My ass was sitting in my hotel room because the last thing I wanted to do was be responsible for someone else getting Covid. So I’m still recovering. I’m feeling pretty fine, all things considered. So don’t worry about me. But if I sound a little off today, that’s why.

Also if you are watching this on Spotify or YouTube, you’ll probably see, I think, I hope, that the video quality is a little nicer than it has been in the past.

I know I, I think you shared this in the last episode or the one before that it’s all a blur, if I’m being honest. But for Christmas, this Jewish girl got a ton of really awesome new equipment for the podcast. So we have better lighting, better camera. I have a backdrop that I’m gonna be installing over the next couple of weeks.

Once things slow down, I feel not slow down, but once I feel a little bit more caught up. So I hope you watch the video versions. They’re fun. I think they’re more fun. I don’t know about you. I love watching my podcast, like the video of the podcast, not my podcast. I love watching the video versions of the podcasts that I enjoy.

Some of you guys who have been listening to this show for a long time know that I’m really into true crime and just talking about the universe and like out there concepts. So one of my favorite podcasts is The Mile Higher Podcast, and I also love Kendall Ray, who has her own podcast, mile hires with her husband, her best friend, or her and her cousin.

Anyways, I love watching those on YouTube. So that’s why we started doing these on video. I hope you guys enjoy them too. And of course when we have guests, you get to see them and it feels a little bit more personal. That was the reason behind it. So I hope you check us out on either YouTube or Spotify. It’s on both that, where you can watch the video. I feel like not everybody knows about Spotify, I hope you check out. 

This week’s episode though, what I wanted to talk about when I was thinking, I was like, what do we go over this week? I just got back from CES. I’m gonna be going back to Vegas later this month for Creator Economy Live, where I’m moderating a panel there.

And I’m already thinking about VidCon. There’s two VidCons this year. So this week I decided, I thought a really interesting topic would be our industry conferences worth it. So let’s get into it. 

 All right guys, so we’re gonna be talking today all about industry conferences. If they’re worth it, if which ones are good and which ones you should be going to. So I’m gonna start off by saying there is absolutely not a one size fits all conference. 

So for me to try to make conjectures about, this, it’s black and white and it’s for you or it’s not that would be insane. That would be insane. So I’m not gonna do that. 

What I will say is like the first place to start is like, what are your goals for going to conferences? For me, I’ll speak personally, I’m always looking to network, meet new people, get both my name out there, the WIIM brand out there and to me, nothing in the world beats in person experiences and events, so that’s my goal.

If I, when it come to, when it came to CES that I just went to at the very beginning of January this year, it was my first time going and for me, my goal for going to CES was probably very different from a majority of people. Certainly those in WIIM who went to CES. 

I was very actively trying for it not to be a business trip. I planned that. I planned on going to Vegas for CES months ago. It’s been in my mind that I’ve been wanting to go for years at this point, and I just never got around to it. And this is actually like my birthday present. 

So the fact that like Paul got Covid on day two and then I got ovid like a few days after that was a huge freaking bummer. But negativity aside, the goal of going to CES was purely for fun. 

Sure, I met up with a handful of industry people cause they were there, but it was people that I just like genuinely wanted to grab a drink with or grab lunch with and just, shoot the shit with, I could have made it such a more business heavy trip.

And I say that because it depends what your goals are. I love technology and I’ve always wanted to go to this conference. So I went, I kept the agenda light. We had dinner reservations every night. I did a bunch of gambling because I love to gamble. Blackjack and craps are my game. And we stayed at a beautiful hotel.

And, I, they, most conferences these days do have apps. I will say it’s like 50/ 50. Whether or not they’re good, some of them are like so glitchy and not that great, but whether it’s through the app or through the website or you print out the agenda, you’ll have access to the agenda.

So what I always recommend, just going through and putting a star or highlighting the ones that you definitely wanna go to, if it’s anything like CES, they’re gonna be multiple events at the same time that you’re gonna wanna see.

So try to do like a first skim and see which ones are interesting to you, a second skim to see which ones overlap, and then maybe correspond it based on location. 

CES, for those of you who have not been and are like CES, CES what is that? It’s The Consumer Electronic Show. It’s been around for decades and it’s like probably the biggest conference, one of the biggest in Vegas, overall, and one, probably the biggest conference in the technology world.

There was an entire track for creator economy and metaverse stuff, VR, AR that was going on, which I found fascinating. And so for many of you who came to me asking, they’re like, should I go to CES? Is that something that I should do next year? Absolutely. 

There were like movers and shakers there who you would definitely to meet up with. There are a ton of people there, and it’s actually be, I don’t know if it’s because it’s such a big show or what the reason is, it’s an incredibly reasonable ticket. 

So CES, the ticket cost me a hundred dollars, guys. That is pennies compared to some of these other conferences that charge a thousand dollars a ticket, and that’s not even an exaggeration. Anywhere from 500 to a 1000, upwards of 1500 I’ve seen that’s like fairly typical CES a 100 bucks. 

We stayed at The Vdara, which is right next to The Aria, which we had stayed at a few years ago when we just went for New Year’s, and I really liked Vdara.

It doesn’t have a casino, so if you’re into gambling or not, make up your mind. I love gambling. You’re right next to the Aria that does have a casino. And a lot of the events were at the Aria, so it was like incredibly close distance. But I liked it cause like the rooms were a little bigger. We got like a really nice suite. It was a little less expensive, but it was really nice. 

So I’d recommend the Vdara for any of you guys who may be going to Creator Economy live later this month, which I’ll talk about in a few minutes. Highly, highly recommend The Vdara. 

Anyways. So yeah, less expensive ticket and pretty affordable all around. So CES, why would you go? They had tons and tons of they had tons, how am I gonna say this? They had tons and tons of programming for those of us in the creator economy and tons of networking opportunities. 

They, I would say it was, I would say it was like a good 10%, maybe even upwards of 15% of the entire conference. We’re talking about 150,000 people, guys was dedicated to the creative new economy. 

Oh, if you didn’t go this year, I’ll try to get your discount for next year, but even if I can’t, it’s a hundred dollars. It’s one of the more reasonable ones. 

So I did CES, recommend. The next conference that I’m going to twice in one month, I’m gonna be back in Vegas, is Creator Economy Live.

So this my understanding, this is the first time they’ve done the Creator Economy Live Conference. However, the production company that’s producing it has done tons and tons of other conferences, including some for the creator economy and affiliate marketing and things like that. But some of you guys have asked is it worth going? Should I go?

I can’t tell you to go based on the programming and how the actual conference is gonna be. Cause I’ve never been, and I actually don’t even think they’ve done this specific show before. But is it worth going? I think absolutely. Not just because I’m gonna be there and a lot of other WIIM members are too, but that kind of does parlay into the reason that I think you should go.

I have noticed like the names of the people who are going to be at this conference really recognizable names, like they’re getting really legit people, and I talk to more and more folks who are going. 

So for networking opportunities, if that is your goal, to get your name out there, your company’s name out there, to just meet other people for BizDev opportunities, I highly recommend going actually.

And so if you are in our Facebook or our Slack community, go in there and I dropped a discount promo code where you get 50, 50% off of your ticket, if you get it before January 22nd. And the conference, it’s only a one day conference, so 50% off your ticket pretty good. We usually have promotions by the way, and if you’re a WIIM member, part of the WIIM community.

So again, check out our Facebook group, search Creator Economy Live same thing for our slack board and get 50% off your ticket.

So I’m excited to go. I’m on moderating a con pa blah. Let me start that over. I’m moderating a panel there. I’m very excited to go. Our panel is all about let me pull this up actually before I misspeak.

Sorry. Bear with me. I’m looking for.

I definitely thought I shared it somewhere that I didn’t. Okay, here we go. So I will be there moderating a panel that’s called Staying on Hashtag Trend. What’s working on the top platforms and how you can leverage them for success in 2023. Topic that I love. So I’m so happy that they asked me to moderate this panel, and I’m gonna be moderating a panel with a bunch of WIIM members and just people that I know throughout the industry. So I hope you come. It’s a 1220 shameless plug to come to our to our panel.

I was talking about earlier. Conferences, are they worth it? Which ones to go to? There’s so many and they can be really expensive. I think step number one, to be hyper clear, what is your goal? Is it to network? Is it to find sign talent? Is it to, generate new business? Is it to get your name out there? Is it to speak on these panels or, you know a keynote or moderate a panel or have a booth? 

These are all awesome goals, they can be combined. But I do think that going there is, and having a clear idea of what you wanna get out of it is hugely important. And here’s why. 

I go to VidCon. I’ve been probably like five or six times over the past many years, and that’s one of the biggest industry conferences that we’ve had forever. It’s in Anaheim, California every year. This year they’re doing it also on the East Coast in Baltimore, which should be fun. But it’s a huge convention and every single time I leave VidCon, I pretty much feel the exact same.

I am stupid, overwhelmed, and I wonder if I got anything out of. Not anything, but I wonder if I got enough out of it because I always feel this insane amount of pressure as a small business owner. VidCon is not cheap and I get free tickets transparently for the most part. But like the hotel is never cheap.

The flight is never cheap and spending at least usually 1500 bucks to go and regardless of the money, I’m, my time is money, so I wanna make sure that I’m maximizing it. And I usually leave that conference in particular, so overwhelmed and feeling like oh, I just didn’t get to see enough , do enough for meet enough people because there’s so many people there.

So what I would recommend, like I said before, first figure out what your goals are. Second, come up with a game plan. It’s incredibly important to do whether it’s a Creator Economy Live, that’s one day, or a VidCon that lasts for a few or CES that lasts for like almost a week, come up with a game plan.

So like are you gonna have breakfast with certain people, lunches, dinners? Is there a way to maximize your time so that maybe you can like, go go and tell people that you’re gonna be at a panel that you can kill a few birds with one stone. Going to one panel, maybe enjoying it as you could have some, enjoyment out of actually consuming the content.

But then, meeting a few people in 10 minute or 15 minute increments right after. I think that being really efficient with your time at these conferences is hugely important. Managing your meals is also an opportunity to connect, but I think it’s also important to just have scheduled downtime too.

Yes. So CES, yes, like we had Covid. That was an incredibly unfortunate situation. So our plan got all outta whack, but I would say at most conferences that I go to, I definitely don’t plan all meals with people. I think it’s important for me to have some quiet time to myself.

I don’t like to go out particularly late. At these conferences. That’s just me. But that being said, some of the parties after are some of the best opportunities to meet people.

So for example, us at WIIM, we try to have get togethers so people can just aggregate in one place. But at CES, I saw there was a list being distributed, which is really smart, on LinkedIn, I grabbed it. Where it was like all the after parties and every night there were parties to go to, and some of them were invite only, and some of them were open to everybody. 

My CES plans, were not as planned. So that’s a bad example. But most big conferences like VidCon absolutely have after parties. So just knowing which ones people are going to, and again, like what your goal is by attending, I think is huge. 

If you have colleagues that are also attending the same conference as you, do not stay in the same locations, spread out as something that’s very important to do. And then another bit of of of advice that I can give.

This was mentioned in the last episode, but we had overwhelming response to it and I wanna expand upon it a little bit. So let’s say you wanna speak on conference at, sorry, lemme take the back. So let’s say you wanna speak at conferences one day or you wanna give a keynote, you wanna be on a panel, you wanna moderate whatever it is, but you really want to work on your own personal brand and getting your messaging out there, whether it’s your own messaging, your company’s messaging, what have you.

You’re like, how do I get on the speaking circuit? So this is actually a really interesting topic and I can’t believe it hasn’t come up sooner. I wanna share what like my personal journey has been and be super, super transparent with you guys about how I was able to achieve what I am and the struggles that I absolutely still experience.

So I’ve definitely been on quite a few panels, but I’ve always wanted to do a keynote and I haven’t yet been able to do that. My keynote, this is my keynote guys being able to produce my own fricking podcast. But I also wanna just like recognize that even the panels that I’ve been on, It’s so rare that anyone is ever reaching out and handing me a panelist spot. Even a moderator spot, maybe. 

There are definitely people who get those, probably those who work at bigger companies. Some of those companies have their own internal PR and they literally have a person dedicated to, getting those types of opportunities and handing them out to the appropriate person at a company.

So if you work for a larger company and you want to be doing more speaking, raise your hand and tell them that because it’s probably just a matter of linking you up with the right opportunity.

But if you’re anything like me and you are working either for yourself or a smaller company, and it’s been really challenging to get yourself on a panel.

It’s all about relationship building and all about leveraging whatever you can give them in exchange for what they need. So for example, for WIIM, I am able to say, hey, like if you give us a little promo code, I’m happy to blast it to my community. And I would also love to like have a panel spot or moderator spot or what have you for Creator and Economy Live.

It’s a perfect example. So I actually had a friend of mine just reach out and saw that we’re participating and she’s did you pay for that? And transparently I didn’t pay anything other than my travel. And I actually know that some people got their travel paid for, but here’s what I got instead, which was to me more valuable.

So someone did connect me to Creator Economy Live. Actually, this was one of those unique scenarios that someone actually proactively reach out to me. I tell a shit you not like that really is not common. 

So So someone linked me up with them and just suggest me as a speaker. I connected with them and she was looking for a moderator. I prefer panel spots to be honest, but moderating is something that I’m really comfortable with. And so moderating I am. 

What happened was what What I also wanted to explore for 2023 was the idea of having a booth for WIIM so we could have a little booth set up at the exhibition center and hopefully like expose more people to what we’re doing here at Women In Influencer Marketing.

So what I was able to negotiate is a moderator spot in exchange for for sharing their promo code and discount with my community. So for me it’s a win-win cause I know that the Wiim community just want, a lot of them wanna go and would love a discount anyway. They’re trying to sell tickets again, win-win. 

What I was also able to negotiate though, is a free was a free, sorry, my brain is hold on one second. Okay. What was a free, what is it called? Free. Free for free.

Okay. And then I was also able to negotiate with them to get a free booth. So it’s something that was really important to me. Not all companies are interested in that sort of a thing, but for me, I’m really interested in exploring like what that could do for WIIM. For other people, they just wanted to speak and get the heck out of there. So a lot of people I do know, negotiated things like their hotel room or their flight even just like a travel stipend. 

So just know that with everything, everything is negotiable, everything, and just it’s important and really beneficial to just discuss with yourself or discuss with others and basically identify what leverage you have.

So that was a Creator Economy Live. I’ve also done a ton of speaking at other conferences, and for the most part, I leverage things like my relationships. So this might be relatable to you guys. And I did this actually with Critter Economy live too as well. So what I said to them and other conferences is, I’d love to be a panelist.

I’d love to moderate happen to have a really extensive network, and I’m also more than happy to introduce you to people who could be beneficial to fill your speaker. So like work with them in any way, shape, or form to be able to make sure that it’s a win-win opportunity. So that’s what I would recommend if you were looking to get on a panel.

The last thing that. Could be a really great resource for you and I will make sure to drop this in the show notes of this episode, is an incredible list that we put together that will be a working list for the rest of the year and will be evolving as we go along, I amwiim.com/conferences.

So if you go to that page right now, you’re gonna see an entire list of 2023 industry related conferences to attend. If you are logged in as a member, you’re also gonna see some member promos and member discounted prices just for, our members. 

So what I would recommend is if you work for a company especially, go through that list and see which ones are relevant based on, who’s gonna be attending based on the topic, based on the opportunities, and based on the location, if it’s in your city, definitely prioritize that. 

If it’s somewhere across the country, it’s gonna take more resources to get you there. But bring these proposals to your company sooner than later. This is one of the reasons why I wanted to have this discussion early in the year because I think that January is like the perfect time to plan out the rest of the year in terms of which conferences you’re attending.

We always get this question in Wiim, which is, hey, what conferences are you guys going to? Et cetera, et cetera. We did a little bit more work today, and we put together this awesome list and hope that you enjoy it. So again, it’s I amwiim.com/conferences and we’ll link it in the show notes and hopefully it’ll be a really helpful resource for you guys to plan the rest of your 2023 shows.

And then I just wish you guys luck. I would say, be really clear and concise with any proposals that you make. So if you get to the point where you’re speaking with, the people at a conference or a convention and you’re pitching yourself as a speaker, what to pitch, make sure you have some really unique ideas conversations that could and should be having that could and sh we should be having.

So if you are on the brand side, for example, like what unique perspective can you provide having worked on the brand side or if you work at an agency, what unique perspective can you provide? Do you have a really top client that, people definitely wanna hear about the experience working on that account, focus on that.

Obviously get permissions first to make sure that you can speak about certain things, but could also be a really great opportunity to loop in that client. Maybe it’s like you and your client having a candid sort of fireside chat type conversation on the stage, that could be really interesting. 

So thinking of like an interesting format to present a very unique perspective in terms of the topic. And then, if you have other people in mind and can help build the programming for them, they usually are gonna love.

And the last thing that I will say is don’t get discouraged if you hear no, I’ve heard no tons of times. Probably more than I’ve heard, yes. In terms of being, accepted onto a panel or to be a moderate or what have you.

And it’s like anything, you’ll hear me talk about this all the time in WIIM. It’s all about relationships. So build those relationships and hopefully they will continue to snowball into bigger and better opportunities and make sure when it all possible, have it be a win-win for everybody. I really hope that’s helpful.

I always wanna give you guys like, tactical information and not just theoretical stuff. So with my foggy Covid brain, I hope that I made sense in the past 30 minutes of talking. 

Before we wrap up, we do have an incredible New York City Experience, coming up that I wanna remind you guys of. It’s on February 8th and it’s sponsored by the incredible company Mediavine.

More sponsors will be announced soon. They’re definitely worth checking out and the event is going to be incredible. So if it’s anything like this LA one, which I experienced virtually, I saw the photos and of course I heard firsthand from people. It was really a night to remember. 

So bringing it back to New York February 8th. Check out our website. Iamwiim.com/events. You’ll see NYC experience. Log in if you’re a member, so tickets are only $10. Guests are $50 very intentionally because you should just become a member and pay the membership fee so that you can get the discounted tickets. I think I bumped the mic so you can get the discounted tickets.

I hope to see you guys there and we’ll be coming also to more and more cities throughout the rest of 2023, but leaning very heavily into in-person experiences. I hope you attend lots of conferences and let me know which ones you guys are going to and if we should have little meetups there. Okay. I’ll see you guys next week.

If you enjoyed this episode, we gotta have you back. Check out our website for more ways to get involved, including all the information you need about joining our collective. You can check out all the information at iamwiim.com. Leave us a review, a rating, but the most important thing that we can ask you to do is to share this podcast. 

Thanks for listening. Tune in next week.


Founder of Women in Influencer Marketing and CEO of Tribe Monday

Jessy Grossman is a long time entrepreneur in the digital media space. She’s passionate about supporting women in business and being at the forefront of innovation. She’s been quoted in Forbes and was awarded a spot in the “Influencer Top 50” by Talking Influence. In less than two years she created one of the fastest growing talent agencies in the country. Amidst unprecedented growth, she sold the multi-six-figure agency and pivoted to focus on her long-time passion project: Women in Influencer Marketing (better known as WIIM). Founded in 2017, today WIIM is the premiere professional organization for those who work with influencers. The community offers networking and new business opportunities, career services, continuous education and more. Jessy also does consulting, advising and influencer marketing recruiting with her company Tribe Monday. You can find inspiring stories and more about Jessy on the WIIM Podcast. Check out iamwiim.com and tribemonday.com for more information.

Book Your Session