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Event orchestration | 4 May 2022

Event Types: A Guide to Industry Conferences

Bizzabo Blog Staff

When attendees and organizers think about professional events, their minds usually go straight to industry conferences. These large-scale events often occur in-person at exhibition halls or conference centers in major cities. 

In this article, we’ll explore what industry conferences are, the ideal format for these events, who attends them, what folks expect to get out of conferences, some examples, and how event experience and management software can help you achieve event success every time. 

What is an industry conference?

An industry conference is a large-scale event that brings together people working in the same company or industry to share knowledge, gain insights, and connect with like-minded folks. Most industry conferences are focused on increasing brand awareness and accelerating lead generation to boost revenue streams. On the other hand, some event organizers leverage ticket sales to generate revenue.

Who goes to industry meetings, and which formats work best?

At industry conferences, you’ll generally find a diverse audience that includes the following:

  • Employees
  • Speakers 
  • Executives
  • VIPs
  • Vendors and exhibitors
  • Media
  • Channel salespeople
  • Consultants
  • Social influencers
  • Agents and master agents
  • Buyers
  • Business development representatives
  • Media watchdogs

Although industry conferences have historically taken place in-person, the COVID-19 pandemic pushed industry events virtual from 2020 to the present. For example, Amazon decided to live stream re:Invent 2020

In fact, virtual events have been so successful that many organizations have decided to keep their conferences virtual going forward — although in-person events are on the rise again. Microsoft Build 2022, for example, will take place entirely online. Microsoft isn’t an outlier either; according to recent data, 40% of events will be virtual in 2022.

That said, industry conferences work well in any format: virtual, hybrid, or in-person. The important thing is to understand which format will work best for your organization’s goals, as well as your attendees, sponsors, vendors, and other stakeholders. 

What is the organizer’s objective for an industry conference?

Event organizers focus primarily on selling as many tickets as possible to generate revenue and ensure their event is profitable. On top of that, they’re also interested in driving revenue by raising brand awareness and accelerating lead generation.

Additionally, event organizers try to offset the costs of putting on an event by attracting the right sponsors. In most cases, industry events will also feature sessions and panels led by executives and other key stakeholders to demonstrate thought leadership or showcase new products and services.

What is the attendee’s objective for an industry conference?

There are many reasons why organizations decide to send their teams to industry events. Those who attend industry conferences can learn new things, generate leads, and network.

Attendees can meet other professionals in their field, employees of other companies that could potentially become partners, industry experts, and more. You never know when a chance encounter might lead to a long-term business relationship.

Additionally, attendees participate in conferences to expand their skills, familiarize themselves with new technology, and get inspired by learning best practices from experts and influencers.

What are some examples of industry conferences?

These days, there’s no shortage of industry conferences. Here are five popular events to give you a better idea of what industry conferences look like in today’s hybrid world.

  1. AWS re:Invent is an annual conference exploring cloud computing and highlighting new products built by Amazon Web Services. In addition to keynotes and technical sessions, re:Invent also offers attendees abundant training and certification opportunities. Those who attend this conference have ample opportunities for learning and networking. 
  2. Gong #celebrate is a virtual conference that caters to revenue leaders. In 2021, best-selling author Daniel Pink headlined the event, which featured sessions led by reps from Slack, LinkedIn, Hootsuite, and Sequoia Capital. The virtual event also included dedicated time for networking.
  3. Bizzabo’s Event Experience Summit is a two-day industry gathering like no other. Bringing together 4,000+ Event Experience Leaders from across industries and specialties, the summit features an all-star lineup for mini masterclasses, networking opportunities, workshops, roundtables, live Q&A, in-depth discussions, and so much more. Attendees will be able to sharpen their skills, gain new strategies and tactics for building and executing experiential events, and more. 
  4. Event Tech Live Summit is a virtual event that highlights innovations in the event tech space. For 2022, attendees can expect to hear keynotes from top professionals at Bloomberg, Meta, and Jack Morton Worldwide. Although the virtual event is free to attend, there will also be an in-person event in London with a virtual component later in 2022. 
  5. INBOUND 2022 is a hybrid event dedicated to bringing thought leaders together from across departments, including marketing, sales, customer success, and revenue operations. Attendees can listen to inspiring speakers, learn new things from thousands of business leaders, and network with industry peers.

How can Bizzabo help you achieve industry conference event success?

The Bizzabo Event Experience OS is a purpose-built platform designed to help organizations like yours put on awe-inspiring, experiential events. Engage participants more meaningfully, evaluate event data to ensure success, and more. Bizzabo’s OS gives event organizers and planners the tools to manage, promote, and execute high-impact events. 

But don’t take our word for it. Turn your event strategy into an event experience to remember by scheduling a demo — and see how Bizzabo can help you deliver more human events. 


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