Our Top 5 Networking Tips for the 2020 CMA+SIMA Conference

The 2020 Category Management and Shopper Insights Conference is just a little over a month away. We’re so excited to be bringing you an incredible lineup of speakers, new features and content that will prepare you for the future of retail. And while we’ve focused the lion’s share of our attention on that over the past few months, we’re going to turn our focus in this week’s blog to one of the most important aspects of the Conference: networking.

The true heart of the Category Management and Shopper Insights Conference is networking. For many of our attendees, it’s the number one reason why they attend. We make it a priority every year to create a conference where CatMan and Shopper Insights pros can come together in a non-competitive environment, share best practices, seek out solutions and catch up with their friends throughout the industry.

In fact, last year, 94% of attendees polled said they made a connection that could be a partner or resource going forward.

We know networking is a huge priority for attendees, and this year we’ve added some new features that we think will make it easier than ever before. So, with that, here are our 5 tips for successful networking at the 2020 CMA+SIMA Conference.

  1. Take Advantage of Networking Breaks & Receptions
    First thing’s first. If you’ve never been to the Conference before, Networking Breaks and Receptions are one of the best reasons to go! Built in throughout the Conference, these breaks are the perfect time to connect with fellow attendees, explore different solution providers and arrange meetings with potential partners (more on that in Tip #2).On Monday, there will be Networking Breaks at lunch and mid-afternoon, followed by your choice of a Networking Cocktail Reception or Ladies In Leadership Cocktail Reception when the show wraps at 6PM. Tuesday, there are networking opportunities at breakfast and lunch, plus planned Networking Breaks in mid-morning and mid-afternoon. After the show on Tuesday, there will be another cocktail reception, followed by our Late Night Party at the Backyard (stay tuned for details!). Wednesday wraps with another networking breakfast and a final mid-morning break.

Be sure to take advantage of all these opportunities to connect with your fellow attendees!

  1. Schedule Meet-Ups in the Conference App
    NEW THIS YEAR!! We’re very excited to be offering a new feature in this year’s mobile app: Meet-Ups. Using the app, you’ll be able to reserve meeting spots in the Connections Café throughout the Conference. Making connections is easier than ever before!

Using the new Meet-Ups feature, you can pick your time, select your table and invite your fellow attendees to a meeting right from your phone. Meet-Up with solution providers and figure out how they can help. Or link-up with other attendees in similar roles and talk through your CatMan and Shopper Insights challenges.

  1. Up Your LinkedIn Game
    Networking is a job that runs 365 days a year, and when you can’t do it in person, there’s no better place for professionals to connect than on LinkedIn. Do you need help getting started? Need to tweak your profile for optimal results? Want tips to grow your network and open up career opportunities? Have no fear, we’re here to help.

We’ll have a LinkedIn help table manned by the pros who run our social media accounts. Whether you’re just getting off the ground or are looking to take your game to the next level, they’ll help you get a foothold and show you best practices for optimizing this great tool. We’ll also be offering professional headshot on-site on Monday morning, if you need to update yours.

  1. Branch Out from Your Circle
    The safety of a group can be comforting, but good things can happen when you put yourself out there. Take a little time to go through the app and find interesting attendees and solution providers you’d like to meet, then get out and make some connections. You never know what might happen.

If you’re feeling shy and want an in-person introduction to somebody, that’s what we’re here for! Just ask one of our CMA+SIMA staff, and we’ll be glad to introduce you and help you make a new connection.

  1. Don’t Forget Your Business Cards!
    It seems simple, but it happens all the time. Don’t get caught without your business cards. It never hurts to have a packing checklist to ensure they make it into your luggage.

But even still, you’ll want to make sure you have a digital business card, too. Our CMA+SIMA Conference App makes it easy to exchange info with fellow attendees. Be sure to fill out your profile once you download the app. That way you always have a digital business card ready to go, and information is stored in a location that’s not so easy to lose.

We’re so excited to see you at this year’s Conference. If you haven’t booked your ticket yet, what are you waiting for? Let’s have some fun and make some connections. You never know who you might meet.

What are you most looking forward to at the Conference? Do you have any networking tips you’d like to share? Let us know! Sound off on social media now and join the conversation.