A Primer for First-Time Conference Attendees and a Refresher for Seasoned Vets.

The CMA+SIMA Conference is less than two weeks away. If it’s your first time at the show, you might be wondering what to expect and how to prepare. Or even if you’ve been several times before, you may have lingering questions or just want a little refresher before the show.

Either way, we have you covered. We’re going to give you our tips based on some of the most frequently asked questions we receive regarding the show. They may be big, or they may be small. Either way, we want to ensure you’re able to maximize the value of your experience at the Conference.

Where Should I Stay?

If you have not yet booked your hotel room for the Conference, we strongly recommend that you do it now. Staying onsite at the Hyatt Regency is, by far, the best option. There are other hotels in the area, but they are a bit of a hike, which can be a pain during a conference, convention or trade show. Your stay at the Hyatt also includes the convenience of free round-trip shuttle service to the Late Night Party on Tuesday.

Will There Be A Conference App?

Yes! We will have a Conference app again this year. If this is your first time at the Conference, be sure to download the official CMA Conference App from the Apple or Android App Store before you head down to the Conference.

The App is your key to everything – find session times and rooms, check the agenda, participate in the social feed, connect with other attendees and set up meetings. A new feature this year will allow you to book times and tables to meet with fellow attendees right in the App, so be sure to use it. Make sure you enable notifications within the App for critical reminders throughout the show, meeting request notifications and improved messaging with your fellow attendees.

Which Sessions Should I Attend?

One of the most important tips for any conference is PLAN AHEAD. We recommend you take a look at the Training Sessions, Track Breakout Sessions, Emerging Technology Sessions and Track Super Sessions to decide what you plan on seeing now, before the show.

This serves a dual purpose. First, many of these sessions run concurrently. If you prepare now, you’ll be able to read the descriptions and make the best decision, rather than scrambling to decide between sessions. Secondly, it will free you up to maximize the time during the Networking Breaks between sessions to do just that: network. Finding partners and resources is what this Conference is all about so make sure you get the most out of those opportunities.

See the latest agenda here.

Learn about the breakout sessions here.

What’s the Difference Between Keynotes, Breakouts, Super Sessions and Emerging Technology Sessions?

This is a great question. Here’s what to expect. Keynote Sessions take place in the General Session Hall. These are the most self-explanatory: we’ve brought in a number of thought leaders to inspire you and dive into some of the most pressing topics CatMan and Shopper Insights professionals are dealing with today.

Track Breakouts are more focused, with industry leaders giving you insights and case studies along specific tracks, such as shopper insights, eComm, technology, next-gen retail and professional development. Super Sessions are a bit of a blend of both breakouts and keynotes – they are focused case-study discussions by a panel of industry leaders.

Finally, Emerging Technology Sessions are a new feature this year, evolving from the Speed Demos of years past. These take place in the Technology Expo Hall. A select group of Solution Providers will be providing tech talks on new emerging tech that will help professionals in our industry drive better results.

Will There Be Professional Headshots Again This Year? When?

Yes. LinkedIn has become the nearly universal professional medium for first impressions. It’s often times the first place we go to learn about new prospects or people with whom we are interviewing. As such, your headshot is often the first impression people get of you. Having a great looking professional photo puts your best foot forward, and we’re happy to help out.

We will be offering professional headshots in the Technology Expo Hall on Monday from 10:30AM-1:00PM. Spiff up with a nice dress shirt and stop by as you make your way through the Expo. Our team will snap your photo and email you a brand-new professional headshot within a couple short weeks. The line for headshots got fairly long last year, so get there early!

Note on attire: If you plan on getting a headshot, we strongly recommend against wearing shirts with heavily striped or checked patterns to avoid a moiré effect.

We’re so excited to see you at this year’s Category Management and Shopper Insights Conference. For us, this has been over a year in the making, and it’s always a huge pleasure to see it come together. If you have any questions about how to prepare for the Conference or what to expect, don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

What are you most excited to see at this year’s show? How many CMA Conferences have you attended? We’d love to hear from you! Sound off on social media now and join the conversation.