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The biggest benefit to attending an accounting technology event is the convenience of having many vendors, thought-leaders and your peers in one location that also provides CPE credits. These events provide the perfect opportunity to problem-solve, learn and investigate technology during a condensed timeline. Whether you have a project planned or if one is on the horizon, being able to talk to your peers and multiple vendors at your next accounting technology event is a convenience and may shorten your investigation time.

Consider these tips to get the most out of your next accounting technology event.

  • Prepare your list of projects or technology interests.  Define your project and identify potential solutions and vendors. Aim to assemble a list of 3-5 vendors to compare for each type of technology you are investigating.
  • Research vendors before you go. Depending upon your experience, you may or may not know the players in the space. Talk to your peers and do research online using keywords. You can also use social media to ask for recommendations and to learn more about a technology provider.
  • Seek out technology user groups and join them. Join user groups now to learn about vendors before you get to the event. These groups provide invaluable insight into the technology issues users are working through. You might ask questions or simply observe user conversations.
  • Read organic product and company reviews. Look for reviews that occur organically (e.g. CrowdReviews.com, Google Business Reviews, etc.).  Organic reviews are created by your peers who are real users working in the trenches daily. Reviews written by a commissioned reviewer are typically assembled using information from vendors’ websites. Product demos are rarely if ever done, and the commissioned reviewer may not be an accountant. A quick search of LinkedIn should reveal the commissioned review writer’s expertise in the channel.
  • Prepare your list of questions for vendors. Get your deal-breaker questions ready – questions that need to be resolved before you invest any additional time with a vendor. A deal-breaker question might be related to the level of integration with one of the technologies your firm relies most heavily on (e.g. tax software, bookkeeping software, accounting software, etc.) or product issues (e.g. user groups, independent reviews, etc.). Make notes for each vendor and prepare your questions ahead of time.

At the vendor’s booth, you will be talking to a sales person, the software developer and/or implementation specialist. Take advantage of the time you have with them to ask about integration, the impact on your existing processes, training, hardware requirements, implementation, migration of data, customer care, product updates and upgrades, add-on modules, and more.

Vendors may avoid discussing where product improvement is possible or needed. This information should have already revealed itself in the user chat groups and on organic product review sites, but it is nice to hear a vendor’s position.

  • Prepare your process list of must-haves and nice-to-haves. Consider the possibility a vendor does not understand your process and needs, especially if the vendor serves more than the accounting channel. It is not automatically a negative factor when a vendor serves more than one channel. It is common.

You may need assurances they understand your business processes. Prepare a list of must-haves, good-to-haves, and nice-to-haves; a features-and-functions list from every department that will use the product or service. This checklist will provide points of comparison when investigating multiple vendors.

  • Plan your booth visits. There will be hundreds of attendees walking the exhibit hall with you; prioritize your list of vendors and plan your route. Check to see if the conference app will allow you to make appointments so that you can skip the line and guarantee you get time with your top choices.

The vendor may have an assortment of employees and leadership team members at the event (sales, development, implementation or training specialists, CEO, VP, etc.). They will likely welcome meeting for morning coffee or at the event luncheon for a deeper-dive. Ask them to introduce you to a current client at the event; use coffee breaks, luncheons and social mixers to ask real users about their experience with the vendor. If the vendor is leading a session, attending the session might lend additional insight.

Looking for new technology partners to help you stay on the cutting edge? Practitioners Symposium and TECH+ Conference, one of the six conferences at AICPA ENGAGE, will be held June 12-15 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Attend virtually or in person to learn from industry experts and meet with vendors.

Leslie Garrett, PhD, Marketing Executive, Accounting Edge Marketing. Dr. Garrett is a marketing executive and industry analyst with expertise in marketing, public relations, search engine optimization, lead generation and management. She is instrumental in leading Edge’s corporate consulting and Search Engine Optimization website analytics services.

This article appeared in AICPA Insights on May 9, 2017.

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Press Release: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New and Improved “The Edge Room” Opens for Legalweek West

Minneapolis, MN – May 16, 2017 – Edge Legal Marketing announced today that the new and improved virtual press room, The Edge Room, is open for Legalweek West. Beginning today, exhibitors and sponsors may upload their company logo and information, post recent press releases, announcements, articles, white papers, images, social profiles and other marketing materials they wish to share with one another and media representatives in advance of events.

This service affords media representatives the opportunity to plan on-site briefings and easily cover breaking news. The Edge Room can be found at www.theedgeroom.com.

With The Edge Room, Edge Legal Marketing embarked on an overhaul of the system and Legalweek West will be the first event to use the new and improved website. Some highlights that sponsors, exhibitors and media members can look forward to include:

● Easy social sharing to The Edge Room’s LinkedIn and Twitter pages
● Automated event hashtagging for Twitter
● Easy access to The Edge Room Blog, which is integrated into www.TheEdgeRoom.com versus a separate site
● Advanced image uploading, including bulk uploads
● Ability for The Edge Room to host multiple events simultaneously

Legalweek West will be held June 12-13, 2017, at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square. Within Legalweek West you will find events-within-an-event such as Legaltech, the cornerstone of Legalweek, LegalExecutive, LegalOps, LegalSmallFirm and LegalDiversityForum.

Originally launched in 2007, The Edge Room is a modern version of the traditional trade show press room. ALM partners with Edge Legal Marketing to offer this convenient service to conference exhibitor, and qualified members of the media.

Edge Legal Marketing grants login credentials to qualified members of its proprietary legal and mainstream media database, providing exclusive access to preview exhibitor announcements and company information.

The Edge Room also includes additional exposure for exhibitors via its social media outlets on Twitter (#legalweek17, @Legalweekshow) and LinkedIn, or individuals and companies can follow Legalweek West via Twitter. Press releases can be automatically posted on The Edge Room blog, which is configured to help companies boost their social media presence and search engine optimization (SEO).

“We have marked an upward trend in use of The Edge Room over the years and as the usage continues to increase, we will continue to invest in the platform,” says Amy Juers, founder and CEO, Edge Legal Marketing. “Because of the type of work we do every day, we know traditional paper press rooms have gone to the wayside. Marketers work hard on creating compelling content for editors and reporters and it is important to us that this information gets exchanged appropriately. The Edge Room fills that gap and will carry on to successfully give show exhibitors and media a connection that benefits all.”

If you have questions, please email vlabrosse@edgelegalmarketing.com.

About Legalweek

Hosted by ALM, Legalweek West brings together the legal industry to address the biggest challenges and issues facing legal professionals. Legalweek West which will be visited by more than 1,200 attendees and will feature more than 40+ exhibits includes the following seven areas of focus: Legaltech, the cornerstone of Legalweek, LegalExecutive, LegalOps, LegalSmallFirm and LegalDiversityForum. Please follow us @Legalweekshow.
About ALM

ALM, an information and intelligence company, provides customers with critical news, data, analysis, marketing solutions and events to successfully manage the business of business.

Customers use ALM solutions to discover new ideas and approaches for solving business challenges, connect to the right professionals and peers to create relationships that move business forward and compete to win through access to data, analytics and insight. ALM serves a community of over 6 million business professionals seeking to discover, connect and compete in highly complex industries. Please visit www.alm.com for more information, and visit www.alm.com/events to learn about our upcoming events. Please follow us @ALMMedia.

About Edge Legal Marketing

Edge Legal Marketing (www.edgelegalmarketing.com) delivers marketing and public relations expertise to service, software and hardware providers targeting the legal market. The company helps B2B businesses market and sell their products and services to corporate legal departments, law firms, federal and state courts and legal associations. Edge Legal Marketing services include strategic planning, marketing and e-marketing action plans, alliance building, website development, market research, public relations and advertising (concept and media plans).

# # #

Media Contact:
Vicki LaBrosse
Director of Media Relations
Edge Legal Marketing
651.552.7753
vlabrosse@EdgeLegalMarketing.com

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For businesses, there are a lot of benefits to exhibiting at trade shows. Trade shows offer the chance to not only gain visibility and make a splash in the industry, they also offer the chance to meet face-to-face with a potential client that is likely to be in the frame of mind of listening to what you say and buying products or services.

Of course, attendees go to these shows for various reasons such as to get informed of the latest industry trends, hear from peers how they have overcome obstacles that perhaps they too are facing, but also…secretly…I believe they are there to see which exhibitor can give them a memorable experience. They want to be wowed and wined and dined. They want to be educated and armed with information that they can bring back to the office and show value to their organizations.

So, the challenge lies ahead for conferences and trade shows to put their best foot forward so the attendee comes back next year and the challenge for the exhibitor is to leave a lasting positive impression which will hopefully convert to a new client, new relationship, and hence, new revenue down the line.

The upcoming Legalweek West is dubbed as the largest legal conference on the West Coast. On June 12 -13, thousands of legal professionals will crowd the Hilton San Francisco Union Square to indulge in two full days of education, networking, exhibit hall visits and more.

The show starts with a “State of the industry keynote” regarding Internet, technology and the law; featuring a discussion on Digital News & Information in the Age of Trump. This intriguing keynote will be headlined by Ari Melber, chief legal correspondent of MSNBC. The day will continue with educational tracks focusing on legal operations, legal executives, legal technology.

There are plenty of exhibit hall breaks scattered throughout the agenda and this is when the exhibitors need to shine! Perhaps some of the libations that are delivered during the evening Welcome Cocktail Reception will break down some barriers to entry and pitches will be flying throughout the exhibit hall!

An interesting spin on Legalweek is their LegalLive event Monday night from 6:30 – 8:30 PM. It is a Darwin Talks presentation that is “meant to intrigue, excite and generate discussion (similar to Ted talks)” event.

Day 2 of Legalweek West keynote focuses on possibly the hottest topics around which is Cybersecurity, Consumer Privacy Challenges and IoT and Big Data. It’s here, we can’t avoid it and this keynote is sure to provide a lot of insight to legal practitioners. The educational tracks will continue to focus on legal technology, but also legal diversity and small firm practices.

As the world becomes more electronic and automated, it is important to remember the “old school” form of communication and connection. Legalweek and other trade shows and conferences will remain as one of the best opportunities to build and grow.

Edge Legal Marketing, the proud creators of The Edge Room™ will be at Legalweek West and look forward to making as many connections as possible while at the show. We hope to see you there!