Conferences like Money20/20 are overwhelmingly exciting at first glance. A chance to sit and hear keynote speakers talk about their innovations or comment on industry benchmarks.
But payments conferences are more than just a place to network and see keynotes, they can be a critical crux in your business' future.
We went down to Money20/20 in Las Vegas last week, and while we hit up some of the more exciting keynotes (we're looking at you Steve Wozniak), we went down there for so much more.
Here's 6 reasons why conferences are an often over-looked necessity for your business:
Whether you talk to one person or several, feedback is an awesome reason to head to conferences. If you're planning on launching new products or services, why not test them on the people you trust the most? Your peers. You're in a room full of some of the brightest minds in your industry so you might as well use them.
With all the expertise around you, conferences allow you to get honest feedback on your new offerings while also slyly introducing new innovative payments content that you can launch at next years event? Think of it as a preview and a controlled environment to gain some ideas for improvement before going live.
Why not consider making some of those newly made acquaintances into longer lasting partnerships? With so many attendees, conferences let you meet a plethora of people from potential vendors to even some new clients if you spin your words the right way. Oftentimes, however, a lot of people get lost as simply passersby.
Start to really engage with the people you meet and follow up with potentially suitable partners a few days after the conference. Even if you're not in the market at the moment, you never know when you might need a new processor, or plan on expanding your partnerships with banks. And, not to mention, maybe there's a company that offers services you don't - they could make a great partner for a project you're working on?
Sure, you know the existing key players in the industry and have heard of some smaller more local talent before, but conferences offer up a potential to get to know the up and comers. Money20/20 for instance, has an entire segment dedicated to new startups as they vie for funding. They offer up "compelling startups in AI, wealth management, biometrics, payments and more" (money2020.com). This is a great way to see who is new to the game, and to see if any of these new startups could be potential new partners? Even if they don't win the challenge, they might have some valuable insights and ideas to contribute.
Innovation and ideation are the most sought-after commodity in payments. Why? Because they bring something fresh, exciting and new to the table. Innovation, even in the form of redesign of current systems brings about the necessary change that payments and finance need, a boost into a brave new future.
So, if you're in the market for ideas, conferences are the place to be. You've got your hands on the best and brightest minds in the industry and they can help you solve the pain points or roadblocks you've been slaving over. Think of them as a major brainstorm session with thousands of minds coming to your aid.
Ok, so you already have a bunch of products and services that are pretty airtight? That's awesome! But what about best practices and new use cases?
Conferences can be more than just a place for new ideas, it can help you expand and scale your current offerings and see what other people in the industry are using similar products for. Maybe one of your services isn't performing and you're considering removing it from your offering, but what if someone at the conference offers a new use case for that service? Now you can keep the service and just change the way you approach it. As you look to best practices, know that if it's working for a lot of people across the payments industry, it's likely to be successful.
Conferences are a lot like town hall meetings. A gathering of everyone in your industry to talk about what's new, innovative and how the space in the next year will be changing. You get to see old friends, or current vendors and partners, and meet those new to town too.
Oftentimes in such a broad industry like FinTech and Payments, you find that most of your communication ends up being over email or text and you lose out on those crucial face-to-face moments that can often solidify a relationship/partnership. With these town meetings, it ensures that you always have a space to rekindle that relationship and really let your personality and your company's personality shine.
Conferences allow you to remove yourself from the comfort of your current ecosystem and get exposed to global perspectives that can change the way you think, and the way you do business. Maybe you have a really great idea you think is new only to find out that other markets have already implemented it elsewhere, so use conferences to scale-up partnerships, contacts, and innovations because who doesn't love a weekend in Vegas, right?