AUSA 2023 is just around the corner! AUSA’s Annual Meeting offers a unique opportunity to network with other defense contractors and military personnel, gain insights into the Army’s priorities heading into the following year, and stay updated on industry trends. Here is your guide to making the most of your AUSA experience:

  1. Set Clear Goals:

    Before attending the conference, define your objectives. Are you looking for new partnerships, seeking the latest information on military technology, or showing off the capabilities of your organization? Having clear goals will help you tailor your conference experience accordingly. Research the agenda and create a schedule that aligns with your goals. Identify key speakers, panels, and exhibitors you want to visit. The Exhibitor’s Hall can be overwhelming, so make sure you review the map before you go and plan which booths you would like to see and who you would like to speak with.

  2. Network with Purpose:

    Networking is one of the main reasons people attend conferences. Don’t just collect business cards; engage in meaningful conversations. Prepare an elevator pitch that clearly conveys your company’s capabilities and what you’re looking for. After the conference, don’t let the connections you’ve made go cold. Send follow-up emails or connect on LinkedIn to express interest in further collaborations or partnerships. Don’t forget to personalize your messages to remind the person of your conversation.

  3. Get Tickets to a Social Event:

    There are several events hosted by AUSA that are outside the conference agenda that you can purchase tickets to. These events are less formal ways to meet people in the industry and many of the events include food and live entertainment. You can purchase tickets on-site at the convention center the day of the event and AUSA members get a discount.

  4. Leverage Your Company’s Social Media:

    Ensure that you and your organization follow AUSA’s official social media accounts and use the hashtag #AUSA2023. Share your thoughts, engage with other attendees, and stay updated on any last-minute changes or additions to the program. If you are exhibiting, make sure your organization posts a picture of your booth and your booth number so other attendees know where to find you.

  5. Download the AUSA App:

    You can create a personalized schedule for your conference experience and view the convention center map when you download the AUSA app. There are a few networking features that have been added this year to help you expand your professional network.

  6. Know the Area Around the Convention Center:

    The Walter E. Washington Convention Center is located next to Mt. Vernon Square in DC. For a convenient coffee break or informal meeting, check out Compass Coffee or Unconventional Diner. For a quick lunch, check out Pearl’s Bagels, Shouk, or Wise Guys Pizza.

  7. Start Planning For Next Year:

    It is never too early to start thinking about 2024! If you are thinking about having a booth at AUSA next year, ensure that your organization’s brand stands apart from your competition. Your booth is your battlefield, and a well-designed booth can attract and engage visitors effectively. While you are walking through the Exhibition Hall, take note of the booths that you like and which booths you do not like. The best trade show booths have a simple layout, are accessible to attendees, and probably entice visitors with swag. You may want to incorporate interactive elements like touchscreen displays or virtual reality experiences to engage attendees. These experiences can also be an effective start to a lead nurture campaign for your organization with the right post-event strategy and follow-up.

Attending AUSA can be a catalyst for growth for your company. By setting clear goals, networking effectively, and staying engaged in the industry, you’ll not only make the most out of the event but also position your business for long-term success in the defense and government contracting space.

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