There are lots of great B2B sales & marketing events throughout the year, but this week we’re treated to not one but TWO great events – MarTech in San Francisco and the Modern Marketing Experience in Las Vegas. Whether next week represents your first time attending one of these, or if you’ve been to many, having a game plan and strategy up front for conferences like these is essential.

Here are several best practices for making the most out of your time at MarTech and/or MME (or any conference you’re about to attend).

Why attending events in person is still so important
There are many reasons why a conference may be worth your time, but in general I’m a big fan of regularly finding events that get me out of my office, away from my usual environment, and somewhere I can accelerate my business, my own learning, and my value to our clients all at the same time. I love the growing trend of online-only conferences, as well as the ever-present availability of Webinars to help me learn. But nothing will replace the value of being there live. Here are five reasons for this.

The four “other” things you can learn at a great conference
You’re there to close some business, meet partners, hear speakers and network with fellow attendees. But if you look between the lines, and pay closer attention to what’s going on around you, you can also absorb a ton of best (and worst) practices about running or participating in a successful conference. Here are several.

How to work the conference with nothing but a smartphone
Written originally for Dreamforce, but the best practices can apply anywhere.

The do’s & don’ts of conference hashtags
Most conferences these days feature a hashtag for both attendees and followers from afar to “meet” each other and share highlights from the event. MarTech (#martech) and Modern Marketing Experience (#MME15) are no different.  For both marketers and enterprising individuals looking to accelerate their own networking ROI, conference hashtags also represent a significant opportunity to catalyze your objectives. But like a lot of things, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. Here are a handful of best and worst practices.

How to take notes at a conference
Over the years, I’ve developed a system for how I take notes at conferences, and (more importantly) how I process and use those notes afterward to extract their value for my business and our clients. Here are several recommendations based on my system for how to not only take better notes faster at these events, but also ensure that those notes are immediately put to good use and effectively archived for yourself and others without extra work.

How to make the most of the parties and networking events
Both events are chock-full of parties – those sponsored by the host as well as sponsors and exhibiting vendors. These events are a great opportunity to relax and enjoy the company of fellow attendees, but they’re also an important opportunity to meet new people, add to your network, and create new business opportunities. Here are six tips for better engaging and leveraging these parties in your favor (while at the same time enjoying yourself and having fun!).

Where to eat and drink in San Francisco during MarTech (and specifically the Moscone/Union Square area)
This isn’t a definitive guide by any means, but if you’re hungry or adult-thirsty, here are a few recommendations.

Getting the most out of an awesome conference (once you’re back at the office)
The flow of inspiration and ideas at a conference like this can be overwhelming while still away, but it gets worse when you’re back in the office. Unfortunately, those pages and pages of notes often get relegated to a pile on the side of our desks, or forgotten altogether once we dig into the backlog of emails, re-engage in the daily fire drills, and otherwise get overwhelmed by trying those great new ideas in the midst of the everyday madness that surrounds us. To get the most out both MarTech and MME, and maximize your productivity and execution on all those great ideas, you need a little preparation, a little discipline, some organizational best practices and two short sharing exercises. Here’s how to do it.