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Attending Activate

Tips for Attending Activate (From Someone Who’s Been to 7)

Activate is a truly special event. It’s a place where anyone that impacts the customer experience can learn, grow, and network with industry leaders from across the world. I should know. I’ve been to seven of them!

Rather than give you the usual reasons to attend, I thought it would be useful to give you a peek behind the curtain, straight from the source. Having led the content production team for the last four Activates, I get to see every session, source every topic, and really dive deep into how each day can be tailored to making your experience the best it can be.

So, with that in mind, here are some “expert” tips about how to make the most of your Activate experience. (Feels weird to call myself an expert.)

How to Make the Most of Activate

Before we get into the tips, a bit about Activate’s structure for the uninitiated. At Activate, we have three tracks: Strategy, Execution, and Professional Development. We use these names because, well, they represent the sessions in the tracks.

  • Our strategy track highlights trends in the industry and how to adapt leading strategies to your team and business.
  • Our execution track is how to make those strategies a reality with Iterable. Our customers and internal Iterable experts hop on stage in this track to give you the lowdown from the user perspective.
  • Our professional development track is about skill building. We approach this from two sides: the employee side and the marketer side. In this track, you’ll learn skills to better manage teams, collaborate, and adapt to changing times. But you’ll also learn marketing skills like deliverability and better message design.

Now that you’ve got a better understanding of the tracks, here’s my recommendation as one of the people who puts the agenda together.

1. Come in With a Plan

Three tracks means a lot of sessions. Having listened to (almost) every session multiple times, I can tell you from experience that there’s so much to learn. Too much in 1.5 days of exciting breakouts (2.5 if you attend our workshops)!

Before you land in sunny San Francisco (ok, there’s a good chance Karl will crash the party), identify the core questions your team has. Are you currently struggling with data management? Too many martech tools? Having trouble getting started with SMS? What to do with this new AI…thing? (More AI thoughts here.)

Identifying what you need makes it much easier to build your own agenda to maximize your time. Conferences are inherently overwhelming, especially if you’re introverted, but a plan helps.

2. Embrace the Activate Chaos

Some people think the initial moment you arrive is when the chaos begins. I actually would disagree. The real moment of chaos: the transition time right after the opening keynote.

At this moment, everyone’s amped up. The coffee is hitting. The ideas presented are already filling your head with inspiration. It’s a buzzing time of day and there’s still so much to come.

With your plan in place, you can lean into this frenetic, exciting momentum with action and a positive attitude. It really makes a difference. I’ve seen it happen at every Activate. Some attendees look initially a bit lost, but others come in prepared and ready to embrace what Activate has to offer.

Everyone finds their way, but we don’t want you to miss a thing.

3. Be Present and Engaged

This is the toughest one. Your day-to-day doesn’t pause just because you decided to spend some time with us at Activate. We get that and built in ample break time for you to address anything that comes up.

But the real reason for those breaks: bathroom breaks.


No, the biggest benefit is the chance to meet your other attendees, our speakers, and, well, us! We want to talk to you too!

I think it’s fair to say we’re all getting used to being back in person again. Activate is about learning and insight, yes, but it’s also about community—a community you’re a part of if you’re reading this.

We’ve added multiple opportunities to meet your fellow attendees at workshops, interactive sessions, breaks, our Partner Pavilion, and even happy hours and dinners! The more present and engaged you can be in these moments, the better your Activate experience is going to be.

Join Me for #8?

I must admit. I struggled to adopt these strategies for my first few Activate events. The flurry of energy and excitement and pure educational benefits took me by surprise.

Once I got the hang of the above, I got so much better at organizing my learnings and meeting dozens of brilliant people. I’ll be there April 17-19 in San Francisco. Come find me and say hi!

Register for your spot at Activate Summit in San Francisco April 17-19! Unsure you can make it in person? We’re also streaming some sessions virtually.

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