Featured Article

How to Make Your Case for Attending the Spark Marketing Summit


The Spark marketing summit is right around the corner! Over 300 marketing executives have already packed their bags in preparation for some martech goodness at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. on May 18.

Spark 2017 is the exclusive marketing leadership summit on the future of marketing technology, analytics, and data-driven creativity. This is not a conference you want to miss.

Amped to go but unsure how to justify the investment? Well, they say it’s always better to ask forgiveness than permission.

Just kidding! You should absolutely get budget approval before you pull the trigger. After all, you’re not just going for yourself. Everything you learn at the Spark marketing summit will benefit your entire organization — but like any important investment, you have to make your case first. Fortunately, we’ve got some handy tips that can help you do just that.

1. Be prepared.

Any conference trip is going to involve some expenses (even one as reasonably priced as Spark). In addition to the conference fee, there’s hotel, lodging, and air fare. It’s a significant investment, one you need to budget for in advance and to rationalize the expense.

Make sure you know exactly when and where the event is, how much it will cost (an itemized list of potential expenses would be handy), what you plan to do there, and most importantly how the company ultimately benefits.

To cover all your bases, go overboard and make as formal a case as you need. The key here is to deliver your proposal with all possible forethought and professionalism. After all, you’re not asking for a vacation — it’s work, and you’re approaching it as such. Think about all the details surrounding your trip: from estimated costs to what will happen to your workload while you’re gone.

2. Present the learning opportunities.

There’s a lot to learn at the Spark marketing summit, and some fantastic people to learn from. Read up on the agenda and accomplishments of the Spark speakers like Viacom’s Ross Martin, who was inducted into Advertising Hall of Achievement, and use these luminaries’ accolades to strengthen your case.

To further prove that you’ve got the good of the company in mind, share the list of breakout sessions with your teammates. Offer to attend those that interest them and to share your notes upon your return.

This is a golden opportunity for the team to learn more about data-driven marketing, so give your colleagues a say. You can even offer to approach one of the speakers and present a question or use case on which your team would like an outside opinion.

You might even be able to boost your own content marketing efforts by writing about your experiences at the Spark 2017 marketing summit. Share the insights you learned with your own readers, and use it to start discussions on your social media communities.

Tip: Take a look at this press release about Spark’s keynote speakers for more in depth information.

3. Emphasize the potential of networking opportunities.

There are over 300 marketing leaders from all over North America registered for the Spark marketing summit, and more coming in every day. This would be a golden opportunity to expand your individual and organizational network well beyond your existing circle of contacts.

Think about it: how often will you get the chance to meet like-minded marketing professionals from across the coast, and in such a welcoming and open environment? If you tried that over the phone or email, you’d be met with a wall of resistance near-impossible to break through. At Spark, all it takes is a smile and a handshake.

Many previous Spark attendees have formed business partnerships, brainstormed co-branded marketing projects, and yes — even become clients.

Just one successful connection could potentially cover the cost of the entire event.

Tip: Check out the hashtag #TMSpark on Twitter to find out who else is talking about Spark.

4. Submit a formal request.

Unfortunately, we can’t write a doctor’s note to excuse you from work. But we’ve got the next best thing: a handy letter template for you to personalize and hand over to your boss.

Download it, fill out the blanks, and tailor it to fit your boss’ personality. It’s much more effective than making puppy dog eyes. (Although that always seems to work for Maven!)

SUBJECT: Attending Spark 2017


Our marketing campaigns to date have been great, but in order to stay ahead of the competition we need a constant infusion of fresh ideas. They can’t just be any ideas, though — they need to be data-driven campaigns so that we’re sure we’re heading in the right direction. We’re doing some of that already, but I feel like there’s so much more to know.

I’d like to attend the Spark 2017 marketing summit this May 18 in Washington, D.C. The summit would be the perfect place to learn about data-driven creativity and how we can use that to improve our own campaigns. We’d be able to learn which tools other companies are using and what strategies they employ to maximize the data they collect.

I’d be able to find all of that out first-hand; not just by listening to speakers from companies like Viacom, The New York Times, and MGM Resorts, but also by actually comparing notes with other marketing leaders from all over North America. That alone, I think, would justify the cost of attendance.

Then you’ve got the networking opportunities such contacts would provide, and the partnerships we might be able to forge if we play our cards right. Not to mention the boost to my own productivity and effectiveness after being inspired by so many great ideas!

I’ve worked out how much it would cost us to attend the conference. Please refer to the itemized list below:

Conference fee: $599
Airfare (round-trip): {Insert Amount}
Hotel: {Insert Amount}
Meals per diem: {Insert Amount}
Ground transportation: {Insert Amount}

With your permission, I’d like to secure a spot at the conference before tickets run out. You know I wouldn’t make this request if I didn’t think it would benefit the company and the team in a big way, and I think the Spark summit has the potential to make a significant impact on how we work.


{Your Name}

Good luck, and we’ll see you there!

Learn more about Spark 2017 and register to attend while tickets last at spark.trackmaven.com.