Surviving RSA as a First Timer: A Cautionary Tale - Kinda
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So, you’re about to dive headfirst into the shark tank that is RSA? As someone who’s been bitten multiple times (figuratively speaking), I’ve got some (and I mean some because if I added everything, this blog would be longer than a Monday after the Superbowl) tips to help you swim with the big fish and come out the other side (mostly) unscathed.
- Expect to be overwhelmed – at all times: RSA is a behemoth of an event, with tens of thousands of attendees, booths, and more buzzwords (a word or phrase that’s plastered on every booth, but no one knows precisely what any of them mean) than you can shake a stick at. Expect things to go wrong, because they will. No amount of planning can avoid it. Just remain calm, take a deep breath, wear your big boy/girl pants, and take control of the things you can control.
- Rely on your team – They’re there to help you navigate the chaos, provide moral support, and hopefully, make you laugh when you need it most (or at least crack a smile). Just don’t rely on them for directions to the restroom – that’s on you, buddy. But in all seriousness, teamwork makes the dream work, so don’t be afraid to lean on your colleagues when needed. And if all else fails, stop by my booth, where you’ll be greeted with a smile and maybe a hug if you’re into that.
- Know who loves you for you vs. who loves you for your stuff – Ah, free stuff – the ultimate conference currency. But let’s face it: sometimes people love you for your stuff more than they love you for you. Attendees will walk around with bags overflowing with swag like they just hit the jackpot at a casino (or a really good clearance sale). And while it’s great to attract attention to your booth with some killer giveaways, it’s important to remember that your true fans are the ones who appreciate your organization for what it is, not just for the free stress ball you gave them. Focus on why you’re there in the first place.
- ZzZzZ – Do you know that meme with Tom from Tom and Jerry pinning his eyes open to stay awake? Yeah, you’ll feel a lot like him. You’ll be running on fumes for most of the conference between the long days on the show floor, standing, walking, and talking (sometimes saying the same thing repeatedly as you recite your boilerplate to booth visitors). Make sure you’re taking breaks, staying hydrated, and getting some much-needed shut-eye (and invest in a liquid IV and a personal masseuse). Trust me; you don’t want to be the marketer who looks like they’re auditioning for a role in The Walking Dead.
- Look out for the cool kids – You know who they are – the cybersecurity influencers with the big booths, flashy demos, and hair so perfect it looks like angels styled it (this is a personal thing for me…as I’m bald). But don’t be fooled by their Insta-worthy pics and overpriced swag. Stay focused on your objectives, and remember that looks can be deceiving. Even if someone’s booth is the size of a small country, it doesn’t mean they have the latest and greatest in Cybersecurity. Your company is there for a reason – stay honed in on that reason and make the most out of your investment, and who knows, maybe next year, you’ll be the one with the booth that’s the talk of the conference (and the hair that makes me jealous).
RSA Conference is like a buffet. There are many options, and if you’re not careful, you’ll walk away feeling stuffed, bloated, and regretful. But with some focus and strategy, you can leave feeling satisfied, energized, and ready to conquer the world (or at least your competition). That’s why it’s crucial to stay laser-focused on your objectives. Why did your company shell out big bucks for this event? What do you want to achieve? Who do you want to impress? And most importantly, what snacks do you want to steal from the neighboring booths? (Just kidding, kind of.) Whether you’re there to generate leads, connect with other professionals, or showcase your latest products, remember to keep your eyes on the prize. That way, when you leave RSA, you’ll be a few pounds lighter (thanks to all the walking), a few connections richer, and a few steps closer to achieving your goals.
I’m not one to brag (okay, that’s a lie; I wouldn’t be a good marketer if I didn’t), but DomainTools is going all-out for RSA this year. We’ve got a brand-new booth and a fresh new t-shirt design. But that’s not all – we’re raffling off a still-in-box Nintendo64 (because who doesn’t love some old-school gaming?) and Flipper Zeros for the hackers. And if we need more than that, we’re hosting a party, a lunch-and-learn, and even managing a meeting suite (because apparently, we don’t like to sleep). Oh, and did I mention that we’re also planning an international show, a sales kick-off, and another domestic roadshow while we prep for RSA? Some might call me crazy (okay, I definitely am), but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Make sure to stop by DomainTools booth #6370 North Hall. I look forward to sharing a few laughs or being a shoulder to cry on – if needed. Depending on the day, I might need your shoulder.
See ya at RSA!