In anticipation of the 2016 Options Industry Conference (OIC) at Terranea Resort in Southern California a few weeks ago, I was excited for the beautiful weather and taking in the sights and sounds of my first OIC. While the weather resembled an overcast spring day in Chicago for the whole week (to the disappointment of many attendees, I’m sure), my experience at OIC still managed to surpass my expectations.
My positive experience at OIC prompted me to put pen to paper and talk about why agency folks should attend their clients’ industry conferences. Here are my three top reasons:
You’ll beef up your domain expertise
3Points Communications prides itself on being a subject matter expert at the intersection of trading and technology. There’s no better place to learn about what’s going on in the options world than listening to representatives from exchanges, brokerages, analytics firms and more dive deep on the topics that are most prevalent in the space.
For example, the conference started off with a bang – Gary Katz, President and Chief Executive Officer at International Securities Exchange (ISE), sat down in a 1-on-1 interview with Stephen Luparello, Director, Division of Trading & Markets at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commision (SEC). Throughout their conversation, Luparello stressed to the crowd that competition in the markets solves problems, removing the need for so much regulation. He also implored attendees to come to the SEC with solutions to their problems, and that he doesn’t want the SEC to be “left to their own devices” for decision-making on certain legislation in the industry. Little things like that simply cannot be learned without being in attendance at OIC.
Over the course of the conference, the educational opportunities were endless; with several panel discussions, Q&A’s and smaller group sessions where I took diligent notes and have shared with my team. I’ve already found myself using the knowledge that I gained at OIC in completing client work.
You’ll build your personal brand
Industry conferences like OIC are built for networking. There are scheduled functions (happy hours, dinners, even pool parties) where attendees are there to meet people and exchange business cards. One client also introduced me to his professional connections as well. Not only did people get to learn more about me, but I was also able to get the word out about 3Points.
OIC was a great opportunity for me to mingle with executives and decision-makers from several companies in the options field. It’s not often PR professionals will have access to some of the highest-ranking officials in a particular industry.
You’ll strengthen client relationships
The primary reasons I attended the conference were to support clients and facilitate introductions between them and members of the media, as well as others in attendance. While I helped coordinate several conversations in that regard, I also had an opportunity to spend some time with clients and we got to know each other on more of a personal level.
Breaking away from the day-to-day client work and having a bit of time to relax with a client can go a long way. There’s something about enjoying a couple beers at a bar with open pane windows right on the oceanfront that can really improve client relationships!
I’m already looking forward to my next conference — I just hope the weather will be better next time. If you have any questions about my time at OIC or want some advice about supporting clients at a conference, feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com.