The Best HR Trade Show for Your 2016 Budget [Infographic]

The Best HR Trade Show for Your 2016 Budget [Infographic]

With 2016 just around the corner, everyone is not only frantically shopping for new health care plans and Christmas gifts, but also planning next year's budget. We're no exception (which is probably why I'm getting at least 3 sales cold calls a day).

Part of this planning of course, means prioritizing conferences and trade shows. Deciding which you'll attend, where you'll exhibit, and which to skip.

So for anyone (especially a benefits consultant) working on next year's trade show budget, here’s some fresh eyed tips from the trenches on how to find the right fit for your team, and get the best bang for your buck.

Benefits Forum Expo vs. HR Technology Conference 

Two of the more prominent Human Resource Technology industry trades show include the HR Technology Conference and at the Benefits Forum and Expo. Both of which we (RFP365) went to this past year. It was a crazy whirlwind complicated by the fact that my team and I were first time exhibitors (and attendees) at both events.

Below is a visual of our experience and our take on how the opportunities compared: 


The Best HR Trade Show for Your 2016 Budget EBN vs. HR Tech.png


So which is best?

Which HR trade show is best? It all depends on what you’re looking to do. Some events offer more breadth, some more depth. So whatever show(s) you're eyeing, if you're new to the event(s) consider attending several rather than exhibiting at one or two. Attending is not only significantly cheaper (and less effort), but it also allows you to see which is a better personal fit before you commit.

Once you’ve narrowed it down, define the kind of lead or network you’re looking to cultivate (are you focusing on HRMS and HRIS systems? Or on talent management & recruiting?) and compare it against each expo's demographic profile and attendee list. 

If you’re still unsure, ask significant prospects or seasoned colleagues where they’re going and consider planning your agenda around theirs.


How to excel at exhibiting 

As rookies, we naively thought planning a trade show would be pretty simple, and were completely flabbergasted when we found out just complicated it actually was. Luckily, we had excellent help and got some great tips on how to make the most of any event, be it your 1st or 100th show: 

7 Things any exhibitor should know.png(Pro Tip: right-click to save for easy reference) 

The absolute best thing we did was hire smart people to help us (and have a drink with our favorite HR bartender). We admitted where we needed extra help (logistics/planning, graphic design, and PR), and contracted smart people to fill in the gap. They not only provided additional skill sets, but more importantly they helped us think through scenarios we hadn’t even considered (sticky shipping policies, union labor, what to say if someone asked about exit strategy etc.). Their coaching empowered us to show up prepared and at peace.

So if we could give you just one piece of advice, it would be identify where you need help...and do whatever it takes to get it.

Whatever event is next on your agenda, just know that if you too hate the crowds and calamity, there is someone out there also wearing ear plugs, going to be bed early, and saluting you in solidarity. Best of luck!


Curious why an RFP software company went to HR trade shows? 

Find out



**Image credit: Anna Spady