It’s about 8 pm and I just landed in Las Vegas to attend Eloqua’s Modern Marketing Conference. The lights are flashing, slot machine bells are ringing, and joyful screams are coming from the craps table. It dawns on me. Do not get distracted (very easy to do in Las Vegas) ! I rushed up to my suite and immediately sat down to figure out how I can get the most out of this conference.
Why? The data tidal wave is crashing upon us and the stakes are extremely high. Not only do I need to help Adaptive Insights surf the wave, my own career depends on it. I needed to understand how organizations are now adopting modern marketing practices. Finance professionals today are no doubt feeling this same sense of immediacy.
With Adaptive Live set to kickoff in one week, I thought I would share my strategy on how I made the most of my time at Eloqua’s Modern Marketing Conference in Las Vegas. Here are the five areas I focused on:
Idealize the end goal.
If the CEO, Board of Directors, or even one of your employees asked you for one takeaway from the conference, what would you say? Prioritize and write down 2 or 3 goals you wish to achieve before Adaptive Live. Let these goals guide you through the conference experience and focus your learnings. Then, immediately after Adaptive Live, record any goals that changed during your experience.
Try to take away at least one nugget from each session.
On a strategic level, what are your key initiatives this year and what can you take away from the session that helps you get closer to achieving it? Or a tactical example might be going into a session asking, “how will this information help me and my team with our current cash flow forecasting?”
Find and network with the finance professionals that are already winning.
When a conversation is open and inviting, ask what your peers are currently doing. Seek modern finance leaders who already have skin in the game. Ask them specifically how they approach financial modeling or financial statement analysis. What were some of the challenges or pitfalls that they had to work through?
Look for quick wins to take back to your organization.
During the education tracks, look for immediate small tweaks to your model that might have a big impact in saving time. Or during the Customer Insights vertical panels, ask questions and look for ways that other customers of Adaptive Insights have created efficiency.
Create a roadmap of where you want to go.
Lastly, what does your project roadmap look like for the next year? Immediately after Adaptive Live, start to break up your roadmap quarterly and use the session topics to start mapping out what you might need to make your transition into a modern CFO.
Your journey to becoming a modern CFO will require you to step out of your comfort zone and go beyond crunching the numbers, much like my modern marketing journey required learning new skills that marketers need to run today’s businesses. It’s about sales and marketing effectiveness, talent and hiring performance, and my favorite, customer retention. Why? Because at the end of the day, these effect financial performance.
As I started my journey about 8 years ago to become a modern marketer, I can tell you there is a light at the end of the tunnel. And it still continues to be an amazing journey. A big part of my success during that journey was going to user conferences and making the most out of each experience. So have fun and enjoy Adaptive Live, and make the most out of your conference time.
Blake Cohlan, Sr. Manager Marketing Operations for Adaptive Insights, is a modern marketing thought leader. Starting his career is marketing automation consulting in 2008, Blake has helped drive best practice marketing operation and demand generation engagements with companies like Eloqua, SalesForce.com, Dell, Taleo, Synopsys, and many others. In his free time, Blake enjoys playing golf, completing triathlons, and volunteering within the local community.