Six Conference Organizer Operating Styles: Which Are You?

Hangar 6

Many CEOs name driving sustained and steady top-line growth as their top priority for their annual meeting.

Yet how many conference organizers and meeting professionals see driving sustained growth as their priority?

Even further, how many conference organizers see driving the CEO’s agenda as an essential objective of their conference?

Is it even a wonder that some meeting professionals feel they are losing influence in their organizations and in particular with their CEOs? If they don’t align with the CEOs expectations and agenda, how can they expect to have influence and impact?

Six Conference Organizer Operating Styles

Here are six conference organizer operating styles. Which one do you identify with the most?

1. Outperformers

These are conference organizers that surpass industry peers in terms of conference revenue growth and profitability. They go above and beyond the average meeting professional to ensure that their CEO’s objectives for the conference are being met. The focus on creating above average sustained growth of their conference in both revenue and quality. The customer experience is unparalleled to other conferences.

2. Growth Champions

These conference organizers are most connected with the company’s strategic agenda. They are most directly correlated with above-average conference growth and profitability. These organizers look beyond customer satisfaction to how customers use the knowledge and learning gained at the conference. They identify the problems their customers are trying to solve and provide solutions through education. They not only find efficiencies of conference planning and implementation, they clearly identify where customized programming is required to target specific growth markets.

3. Mature Market Organizers

Mature market organizers are those meeting professionals that have an established conference that is predictable and the same from year to year. The conference grew fast and matured in the past 20 years and now attendance and revenue have plateaued or started to decline. Mature market organizers are less likely than their growth champion and outperformer peers to make changes to the conference schedule, program, planning or implementation process. They are risk adverse and avoid innovation and change.

4. Conference Masters

Conference masters excel at traditional logistical and meeting fundamentals. They are expert coordinators, planners and implementers with an eye towards the meetings details from registration to food and beverage to room layouts to audio visual. Their success as executional leaders means they are rarely seen as, nor do they consider themselves to be, strategists with decision-making authority about larger corporate objectives. As expert tacticians, they seek revenue and profitability through effective and efficient logistical implementation. Unfortunately, efficient and effective logistics does not necessarily translate into new customer acquisition or loyalty.

5. Experience Executors

Conference organizers who focus on the conference attendee’s experience are second only to growth champions in their contribution to the company revenue growth and profitability through effective and efficient program development. They focus on the end game of creating a unique customer experience that drives sustained revenue. They work hand in hand with the CEO and C-Suite to establish the company’s strategic agenda within the conference structure. They are strategic, big-picture thinkers that can also understand the small details needed for implementation.

6. Best Practice Advisors

These conference organizers work with their planning teams to apply proven practices to their planning process. They have an over reliance on proven and efficient techniques that have worked for others. Their reliance on these standard correlates with average company profitability and growth.

Which of these operating styles is most beneficial to an organization and therefore should be compensated more? Which one of these styles is most like your current style?

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  1. cvela says:

    I am a conf master but am working on becoming more of a growth champion. I’ve begun to realize the importance of making sure people learn at my events and that depends on me and my team. The change has not been to hard. There is so much great research out on the topic and we have made small changes.

    1. Jeff Hurt says:

      Congratulations for taking steps to improve your conference experience for your attendee! It will yield great results. Here to your ongoing success.

      Thank you for reading and commenting too!

  2. What a fascinating roundup. At The Hub, most of our team members work with each other, so we have lots of experience that covers most of, if not all of, these conference-organizer types. Is it possible, after all, to be an outperformer year after year, event after event? Surely we need others on our team who have different experiences and emotional approaches to conferences to help us all to round out the rough spots.

    1. Jeff Hurt says:


      I’m seeing some events that are the outperformers year after year. They processes and procedures they have put in place cause them to excel far about the others. Their success attracts newcomers and continues to breed success. So I do think that some conference organizers can be those outperformers. What’s their key to success? Continually learning and unlearning and not getting stuck in the way we’ve always done it.

      As always, thanks for reading and commenting too.

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