What Procurement Conference Should You Attend in 2013? ProcureCon Review

Subscribers can access this two-part series covering my unchained opinions of the following purchasing and sourcing-focused events: Procurement Leaders, Sourcing Interests Group (SIG), Shared Services Link, ProcureCon and eWorld on Spend Matters PRO:

What Procurement Events Should You Attend in 2013? (Part 1)

What Procurement Events Should You Attend in 2013? (Part 2)

Below, we feature an excerpt of the series (with a complete reviews of ProcureCon).

ProcureCon – ProcureCon is a bit of an enigma to us. We say this having been to just about all of their events over the years – indirect, direct and now, targeted categories (e.g., services procurement and marketing). The general manager of ProcureCon, Carina Kuhl, is concerned with high quality content and the experience of her attendees. Carina is probably the best events GM in this sector – working for a vendor or working for a conference company. This is ironic because the parent company, WBR Research, is all about the numbers, and we believe it really doesn't give a fig about anything but the bottom events line.

As a case in point, ProcureCon's recent "Direct" event – which should be, in our view, renamed and refocused to "ProcureCon Manufacturing" – was poorly attended. Yet the presentation content was absolutely outstanding. A few weeks later, ProcureCon held their first event focused on the marketing category. In contrast to their Direct event, the conference was completely sold out. And the content was as good as ever according to my colleague that attended, despite this being the first time ProcureCon ever tackled the subject matter!

ProcureCon venues would make Walmart proud. They're utilitarian. Clearly, no dollars are wasted. But they suffice. But if your spouse was expecting the Ritz or a private club in Chicago, Boston or London, keep him home.

The final word: ProcureCon is the hidden gem from a presentation content perspective in the procurement conference scene. Networking quality is all over the map (generally mid-level) and overall attendance can be inconsistent from one event to the next. But if you want to drop in and truly learn about a general or specific topic, we can't think of a better set of events.

Marketing Investment Score (for providers): 1-5 (vastly inconsistent)

Content quality (for practitioners): 5

General networking: 3

Consistency: 4

2013 Call: Send the right folks on your team to the right ProcureCon events based on their focus areas. Feel free to "drop in and drop out" of various events to come up to speed and stay in the loop. Above all, ignore the cheesy marketing, less hoity venues and lower brow image of ProcureCon compared with other for-profit conference organizations and focus on the substance you'll come away with from attending their shows. Trust us, you won't be disappointed.

- Jason Busch

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