I entered the energy industry almost 40 years ago. Back then, presenters at conferences were chosen based upon the content and relevance. Sponsorships at the meetings were common but they were generally part of the exhibit hall perspective … you got a bigger booth area, better trafficked locations, and of course mention and signage.
The idea that the “message” or the product offerings were somehow more newsworthy was absent. There were of course testimonial presentations by customers and consultants that might feature vendor products, but once again the conference was still mostly about content and relevance … not about who had the biggest check book.
Over the past decades that has changed and so much so that content is now merely vendor talking points. Oh, sure it may be hidden in some general market platitudes so that it doesn’t reek of commercialism … but it is getting pretty hard to see these meetings as truly educational.
The worst offenders are what we used to call the research firm meetings. You know who they are. You get emails from them almost daily. They all have their hands out … begging for funding … while advertising that they are providing “cutting edge insights” into this or that.
If I told you that a firm was funded by the tobacco industry to research this or that, would you consider the reports relevant to your health?
Pay to play … follow the money … and beware of the findings they claim.