Which Conference Would You Attend?

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Which Conference Would You Attend?

Take a look at the four pictures below and answer the question. Both “Windy City Summit: A Wealth of Information worth talking about” and “TAWPI: Summit 2010” are financial conferences, the first for high-level treasury executives and the second targeted at department heads and managers that head transaction-related financial functions.

Those first two pictures show program covers. The Windy City Summit is two colors and focuses on the city, which isn’t necessarily bad given that the sponsor is the Treasury Management Association of Chicago. The second cover, though somewhat busy, focuses on the conference’s content. Done more in magazine style, the readers know exactly what they will learn at the Summit 2010.

The inside pages, below, also show a marked contrast. A lot of type advertises the main speaker at the Windy City Summit. Now look at the featured speaker for the TAWPI show. Wow. The first page looks like a speech from a dull financial executive—I’ve heard him speak before and he isn’t dull. The second picture shows a financial star. He’s a CFO from a major wholesale outfit, and that’s about all I’m going to read or need to know.

I want to go to TAWPI. Each page of the program is compelling and exciting. Now to be fair, TAWPI is a national organization, far larger, and as a result much better funded than the TMAC. They can afford color printing inside the catalog and more space for the text. But the brightness of the copy, the emphasis on benefits, the use of photos and type are not all budget related.

It’s about perception, not the quality of the shows. It’s how quality is portrayed, and these days, it’s also about generating excitement, showing value, and communicating both quickly and visually.

I’ve been to both conferences in years past, and they are both good. The year I went, I’d say that the TMAC show had higher quality speakers and more educational vendor presentations. But in tumultuous times, when finance can be anything but dull, make it so I can’t wait to go, not stay home.